Woman with Down syndrome loses abortion right lawsuit at court |  Down syndrome

Woman with Down syndrome loses abortion right lawsuit at court | Down syndrome

A woman with Down syndrome has lost an appeal to the Court of Appeal over UK abortion law.

Heidi Crowter, who brought the case along with Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son Aidan also has Down syndrome, had argued that allowing termination of pregnancy until birth if the fetus has the condition is discriminatory and stigmatize disability.

But in a ruling on Friday, three senior judges rejected the appeal.

Crowter said she was “absolutely distraught” by the ruling and said the existing law made her feel that people like her should be “extinct”.

In a summary of the decision, by Lord Justice Underhill, Lady Justice Thirlwall and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, the judges said the law did not affect the rights of the “living disabled”.

They said: “The court recognizes that many people with Down syndrome and other disabilities will be upset and offended by the fact that a diagnosis of severe disability during pregnancy is treated by law as justification for termination, and that they may regard it as implying that their own lives are of lesser value.

“But it implies that the perception that that is what the law implies is not in itself sufficient to give rise to interference with Article 8 rights. [to private and family life, enshrined in the European convention on human rights].”

Crowter said after the ruling outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London she could take her case to the High Court.

When asked why she wanted to change the law, Crowter told Sky News: “It makes me feel like I shouldn’t be here. That I should be extinct. I know that’s not true, but that’s how I feel.”

She highlighted how the law treated her newborn nephew. “I was amazed that the law protects him and not me,” she said.

“I was absolutely distraught.”

Heidi Crowter has lost a Court of Appeal challenge over legislation which allows the abortion of babies with Down's syndrome up until birth. https://t.co/p6hfBnJVwU

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Crowter also told reporters, “I am very upset not to win again, but I will continue to fight because we have already informed and changed hearts and minds and changed people’s opinions about the law.

“I am very upset that babies with Down syndrome can be aborted until birth. This tells me that I am not valued and of much less value than someone without Down syndrome. I’m angry that the judges say my feelings don’t matter. That makes me feel like I’m not as valuable as someone without Down syndrome.

“When we started this lawsuit not many people knew about the law, but now a lot of people know about the law thanks to us and your great support. We want to thank everyone who donated time and money to our lawsuit.”

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