Heidi Crowter reflects on her battle to end disability discrimination in the womb

Down’s syndrome campaigner Heidi Crowter has opened up about her fight to change the law that allows babies with the condition to be aborted up to birth.

In an article for the March edition of Affinity’s ‘The Bulletin’, Heidi outlined some of the key events and important motivations in her pursuit of justice for unborn children deemed to have a disability.

Later today, Heidi will be at the Court of Appeal, seeking permission to appeal against last year’s High Court ruling that upheld the existing abortion law in Britain.

‘Love of Jesus’

Heidi said it was “downright discrimination” that “a baby without Down’s syndrome can be aborted up to 24 weeks, but a baby with Down’s syndrome can be aborted up to birth”.

After suffering defeat at the High Court, she admitted: “I felt that all my fighting was for nothing and that I let everyone down. Then I remembered that I had changed people’s perceptions and raised awareness about the law, which cheered me up.

“The love of Jesus convinced me to carry on, I will not give up on fighting for equality for me and my husband and others with Down’s syndrome.”

She concluded: “Please pray for me; for my court case and ask all your churches to pray for me and the judges. Please pray that I will be like Abraham, Moses, David and Esther and I won’t give up.”

The love of Jesus convinced me to carry on

‘Keep on fighting’

Speaking to the Institute’s Ciarán Kelly ahead of the hearing, Heidi and her mum Liz highlighted some of the challenges they face in their work to protect unborn babies with Down’s syndrome.

Heidi also testified to the tremendous support received from family and fellow campaigners. She admitted: “Yes it’s hard, but we’re going to carry on, aren’t we? We’re going to keep on fighting”.

Please accept preferences cookies to view this content.

Heidi and co-appellant Máire Lea-Wilson are seeking crowdfunding to pay for the case.

Unborn babies

Under current legislation, abortion is permitted up to 24 weeks for most reasons but is available at full-term for children deemed to have a disability – including Down’s syndrome.

According to Public Health England, more than 85 per cent of babies with a Down’s syndrome diagnosis are aborted.

In 2020, figures from the Department of Health and Social Care showed a 5.6 per cent increase in babies aborted with Down’s syndrome from the previous year, with abortions for the condition rising from 656 in 2019 to 693 in 2020.

Also see:

Downs girl

Campaigners fear screening could ‘eliminate’ Down’s syndrome

Mum shocked by friends’ judgemental Down’s syndrome comments

New CBBC presenter aims to dispel myths surrounding Down’s syndrome

Related Resources