MPs to introduce Bill to stop abortion for cleft lip and club foot

A cross-party group of MPs is bringing forward a Private Members Bill to try to clarify that minor disabilities are not grounds for abortion.

Fiona Bruce MP, who is leading the move, described it as “a sensible law change” that all MPs should support.

The Bill would ensure that abortions cannot be carried out when the primary diagnosed condition is cleft palate, cleft lip, or club foot.


Bruce, whose own son was born with club foot, said: “It’s time our legislation caught up to reflect society’s positive change in attitudes towards those born with disabilities, and medical advances in the intervening years.”

She added: “This is a sensible law change that I am inviting all MPs, regardless of where they stand on the wider issue of abortion, to get behind and support.”

Operations to repair cleft lip and palate can usually be done in the first twelve months after birth. Treatment for clubfoot is minimally invasive.

Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix was born with cleft lip. Former Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard was born with club foot.


It comes as Down’s syndrome campaigners launch legal action against the UK Government, saying abortion law discriminates against unborn babies with the condition.

Heidi Crowter, a 24-year-old with Down’s, and Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son has the condition, are bringing the case against the Government.

Paul Conrathe, the lawyer representing the women, said: “This case addresses a matter that is fundamentally offensive and discriminatory — that unborn babies with a disability, and in this case Down’s syndrome, should be aborted up to birth.”

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