Theresa May and her Government are this week considering whether to introduce legislation to change abortion law in Northern Ireland from Westminster. This change would likely 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 diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are aborted. Northern Ireland has a very different approach to how it treats people with Down’s syndrome. Disability-selective abortion for Down’s syndrome is illegal and there is a culture of accepting and supporting people with disabilities rather than eliminating them out.
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 Theresa May’s Government goes ahead and introduces 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 person with Down’s syndrome or have a family member with Down’s syndrome, please sign the open letter to Theresa May demanding 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 show the Government and Theresa May just how many people are seriously concerned about the proposed changes.