I follow the excellent blog “Downs Side Up” by mum of 2, Hayley Goleniowska. She was recently asked to go to the Houses of Parliament for a Parliamentary Enquiry into the current UK law on Abortion on the Grounds of Disability.
Current abortion law limits abortions to 24 weeks except in the case of ‘Ground E’ abortions = babies ‘at high risk’ of ‘severe handicap’ , for whom a termination is possible ‘up to and including during birth.’ The problem is that the term ‘severe handicap’ is not clearly defined and open to interpretation.
Of the 2,307 Ground E abortions performed in 2011, 22% (512) were undertaken due to babies having Down Syndrome. It has been the collective experience of many families with a child with DS, that medical professionals often use negative language when reporting a diagnosis of Down’s and that there is an expectation that the mother would wish to terminate (see my post ‘Nuchal Fold Tranlucency Scan in ‘On Your Soapbox‘). This could potentially put subtle pressure on the expectant mother to terminate.
Read Hayley’s report on what she said at the enquiry here