Paralympic legend turned down abortion despite pressure from medics

Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has shared how she was pressured to have an abortion due to her own disability.

The eleven-time Paralympic gold-medallist made the revelation on the BBC disability podcast Stumps, Wheels and Wobblies.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida, resisted the pressure and gave birth to her daughter Carys in 2001.

‘Don’t have children’

She said: “My daughter is 17 now, which is slightly scary, but when I was pregnant I lost count of the number of people who asked me how I got pregnant”.

“The first thing I was offered at my first scan was a termination because: ‘People like you should not have children’, I was told.”

She continued: “We had a discussion about ‘was I trying for a baby?’… and the individual had some quite complicated views on disability”.

She said the medic was concerned that people with disabilities might “breed” and “spread”.

High abortion rate

Actress and podcast co-host Ruth Madeley added that, while making a documentary about spina bifida, she heard from many women who were advised to have an abortion when their unborn child was diagnosed with the condition.

She said that “the first thing they are offered is a termination”, adding that times have changed little since Baroness Grey-Thompson’s experience in 2001.

“The abortion rate is still 80 per cent. A lot of that is coming from a medical professional advising it.”

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