If the two largest parties in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), stand by and choose not to reconvene the Northern Ireland Assembly by October 21st, the law on abortion will be changed in Northern Ireland. This change will introduce abortion for babies with Down’s syndrome right through to 28-weeks gestation.
The most recent figures in England and Wales show that 90% of babies found to have Down’s syndrome are aborted. Northern Ireland has a very different approach to how it views people with Down’s syndrome. Disability-selective abortion for Down’s syndrome is illegal and there is a more positive culture of accepting people with disabilities.
We can see this in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland. They show that there were 52 children with Down’s syndrome born. In the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales.
So many babies found to have Down’s syndrome are already selectively terminated in England, Wales and Scotland.
If Sinn Féin and the DUP do not reconvene the Northern Ireland Assembly by October 21st, allowing the introduction of abortion for Down’s syndrome to Northern Ireland, this will likely see even more babies with Down’s syndrome in the UK screened out by termination.
If you are a person with Down’s syndrome or have a family member with Down’s syndrome, please sign the open letter to the leaders of Sinn Féin and the DUP asking them to act so that disability-selective abortion for Down’s syndrome, which will have such devastating consequences for our community, is not introduced to Northern Ireland.
We know that there are many people within our community who are concerned about this change and have not been heard yet – this letter is your chance to be heard and to let Sinn Féin and the DUP know just how many people are seriously concerned about the proposed changes.