Disability activist with Down syndrome leads charge to change abortion law in Northern Ireland

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A young woman with Down’s syndrome petitioned number 10 against an abortion law that gave her the impression that she would be “better off dead”.

Heidi Crowter, 24, and 18,000 signatories demanded that MPs not pass a bill approving regulations allowing abortion of babies with non-fatal disabilities up to the point of birth in Northern Ireland, in a petition which was handed in on Tuesday.

Under the regulations, which came into effect in March, abortions are allowed at any time up to birth when there has been a diagnosis of fatal fetal anomaly or when the child is likely to suffer from serious mental disorders. or physical, including Down syndrome.

A majority of Stormont Assembly members voted in favor of a motion rejecting this “imposition” of abortion regulations by Westminster on June 2.

Heidi Crowter, 24, is leading the movement to urge MPs not to pass a bill allowing abortion of babies with non-fatal disabilities up to the point of birth

The result of the vote has no impact on the law, but the DUP insisted on sending a message to the government stressing the need to change the regulations.

Speaking in Downing Street on Tuesday, Ms Crowter said: ‘I ask them (MPs) to respect Northern Ireland’s vote and ensure it is maintained, and allow equality in the uterus of each baby.

“I want this to happen because I’m someone with Down syndrome and I feel like the law makes me angry, it makes me feel like I’m better off dead.

“I think that sends a really negative message. And to use the words of a classic song, you are amazing the way you are. ‘

Ms Crowter, from Coventry, added: “I think the law that allows abortion until birth for non-fatal disabilities like mine is outright discrimination in the womb.”

In May, Ms Crowter told the Mail on Sunday that the difference in the way unborn babies with Downs are treated under the law “makes me feel upset and sad.”

“It makes me feel like I shouldn’t be alive. I want to cry inside, ”she added.

DUP MP Carla Lockhart, who led the petition with Baroness O’Loan, said the bill was constitutionally and morally “wrong”.

Heidi with her mother, Liz Crowter (left) and DUP MP Carla Lockhart (right) outside Downing Street on Tuesday as the 18,000 signature petition was handed in

Heidi with her mother, Liz Crowter (left) and DUP MP Carla Lockhart (right) outside Downing Street on Tuesday as the 18,000 signature petition was handed in

She said, “The words that come to mind are that it makes Heidi feel like she shouldn’t exist, and that’s just plain wrong.

“The most fundamental human right is the right to life and everyone has this right to life.

“If you have a cleft palate, clubfoot, or Down syndrome, you may have an abortion. It’s just not true, so we want to stop this.

She added: “The people of Northern Ireland do not want these extreme abortion laws imposed on them.

“They are the most liberal in all of Europe, and it is important that the government gets the message before tomorrow’s vote that MEPs recognize that the people of Northern Ireland do not want them.

“Constitutionally this is bad from a decentralization standpoint, so we ask them to stop with these laws and listen to the people of Northern Ireland.”

Ms Crowter urged MPs to

Ms Crowter urged MPs to “allow equality in every baby’s womb”

A police officer delivered the petition on Tuesday and was pictured entering Downing Street

A police officer delivered the petition on Tuesday and was pictured entering Downing Street

About 40,000 people in the UK have Down syndrome, according to the Down’s Syndrome Association, which also expressed support for Heidi’s petition.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has expressed support for the bill, saying “extremely difficult decisions are best left to a woman”.

BPAS External Affairs Officer Clare Murphy said: “The women who make these decisions are not passing judgment on Heidi and her life’s worth – they are trying to do what is best in the circumstances. the most difficult that many of us can imagine. ‘

“Rather than being forced to make a decision, the current legal framework gives women time to understand the seriousness of an illness and to make the right decision for her and her family based on her personal situation and pregnancy. “, she added.


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