A writer and broadcaster, who decided not to abort her child as a teenager, has spoken out in favour of a legal challenge against the current abortion law allowing babies with Down’s syndrome to be aborted up to birth.
Writing in The Sun, Mercy Muroki said she couldn’t “morally justify the current laws around aborting babies with disabilities” – a practice that is “shockingly, still legal”.
Abortion is permitted up to 24 weeks for most reasons, but it is available up to birth for children deemed to have a disability – including Down’s syndrome, cleft palate and club foot.
Muroki said that she would support reducing the current 24-week limit and restricting the disability clause.
She called it “strange” that “we obsess over life preservation” during the coronavirus pandemic “while having legislation that ends viable lives”.
In a letter sent to The Times newspaper, family members of a 43-year-old man, who was born with Down’s syndrome, described how “he has enriched all those who meet him”.
Another family of a man with the same condition, who passed away at 59, wrote to the paper remembering that the “love and humour” he expressed “were a gift from God”.
Adoptive parents of a child born with club foot told The Times how they were so glad that his birth mother didn’t abort him.
They said that after a number of operations his mobility has only been slightly affected and that they “suspect that because of his childhood experience he was determined to be a surgeon, an ambition that he has achieved”.
Last week, human rights expert Jason Coppel QC told the High Court that the 1967 Abortion Act “perpetuates and reinforces negative cultural stereotypes to the detriment of people with disabilities”.
Coppel was representing Heidi Crowter alongside Máire Lea-Wilson and her son Aiden in their case arguing the UK’s abortion law is discriminatory.