More than 1,600 people have signed an letter to the Prime Minister, urging him not to allow abortion to be permitted in Northern Ireland for babies with Down’s syndrome.
A new legal framework for abortion is due to come into force in NI at the end of March, after Westminster imposed new abortion laws on the Province.
Under the plans being drawn up by the Northern Ireland Office, abortion would become legal in Northern Ireland for babies with disabilities, including Down’s syndrome.
The Government is not required by the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act to go this far but appear to be preparing to introduce one of the most radical abortion laws anywhere in the world.
In England and Wales, the vast majority of babies diagnosed in the womb with Down’s syndrome are aborted.
Lord Shinkwin, a disabled Peer said changing the law to allow for abortion in cases of disability will send a message to those living with a disability that they are ‘better off dead’.
Nicola Woods, whose seven-year-old son Daniel has Down’s syndrome said: “Daniel himself is a delight. He lives in the moment, doesn’t worry about mistakes he made last week or something difficult happening in the future. His joy in the simple things of life has radiated to all those around him.”
“People are deluded if they think this won’t have a negative impact on the Down’s syndrome community here in Northern Ireland when it is the safest place to be diagnosed with a disability.”
“We in Northern Ireland should be left to make our own decisions about abortion law.
“People are keen to advocate for equality once babies are born, but not for the unborn child with a disability. Unborn children with disabilities are most vulnerable before they are born, where screening and abortion is the norm. Northern Ireland protects them and we want it to stay that way.”