Down's babies' right to life: Letter

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I believe that there may be some confusion as a result of Decca Aitkenhead's article with regard to my Bill which concerns the abortion of babies with Down's syndrome ("The choice no mother ever wants to make", 30 June).

Currently, under law, babies with Down's syndrome may be aborted up to the time of birth. Abortions of babies who are not disabled can only take place before 24 weeks' gestation, except where the mother's life is at risk. The law is therefore discriminatory in this respect. The Bill that I am introducing would not prevent abortion of babies with Down's syndrome, but it would seek to outlaw abortion which takes place on the grounds that a baby has Down's syndrome.

I agree with the Down's Syndrome Association (DSA) when it says that it "does not consider Down's syndrome a reason for termination". It is exactly this point that the Bill seeks to convey.

There has been growing awareness of discrimination against the disabled in all spheres of life. There is now the realisation that discrimination extends to the area of abortion as well. The Bill is not a measure about abortion primarily but about the value we accord to the disabled generally. It would be a shame if those who are "pro-abortion" let their feelings on this issue cloud their view of the discrimination that is taking place against the disabled under current abortion law.

Lord Brentford

House of Lords

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