Parents should not be prevented from aborting a baby they know will be severely disabled, says David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party.
Addressing voters in Cumbria, Mr Cameron made it clear that he does not support any move to tighten up the law on abortion in the case of foetal handicap, which can currently take place up until birth.
Mr Cameron, who has a disabled son, said: “I am speaking as someone, I mean, I’ve got a six-year-old boy who is severely disabled, has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic and he’s a sweet boy, he’s a lovely boy.
“It is though incredibly tough bringing up disabled children and I don’t want to kind of put myself in the position of saying to other parents you’ve got to go ahead and have that child or you can’t have an abortion or you can do this or you can’t do that.”
Mr Cameron backed the attempt earlier this year to reduce the upper time limit for abortion to twenty weeks as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. However, he has also expressed his belief that medical, drug-induced abortions should be more easily accessible earlier on in a pregnancy.
Around 2,000 babies are aborted each year on grounds of foetal handicap, some with reversible conditions such as a cleft palate. Attempts to change the law are expected when the embryos Bill returns to the Commons this autumn.
Reacting to Mr Cameron’s comments, Jim Dobbin, chairman of the all-party Parliamentary pro-life group, said: “This is an equality issue. His statement allows abortion up to birth for the disabled and this sends out a horrifying message to people with disabilities.
“This is telling people with disabilities that they have fewer human rights than people without disabilities.
“Many people with severe disabilities have contributed greatly to humanity.”