MPs and Peers to investigate disability abortion law

A group of MPs and Peers are to look into whether the current law on aborting disabled babies is discriminatory and should be changed.

At the moment, terminations can be carried out up to full-term if tests show the child may be disabled.

A cross-party commission will consider whether having different abortion rules for babies with disabilities is discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010, MPs said.


Fiona Bruce MP, who is chairing the inquiry, says they will seek to “establish whether there is room for a review of this legislation bearing in mind both medical advances and advances in our attitudes to disability over recent years”.

Statistics show that there were 2,307 abortions for disabilities in 2011 in England and Wales, out of a total of almost 190,000.

The commission will review current abortion laws and investigate how they could be changed in the future.


The panel includes Baroness Hollins, a cross-bench peer and president of the British Medical Association.

According to figures from the Department of Health, in 2010, 482 babies were aborted because they were found to have Down’s Syndrome.

But according to separate statistics from the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register, the number is almost double at 942.

Peter Saunders, chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship, warned that this could point to problems with abortion reporting on a much larger scale.

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