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Abortion

New Bill seeks ban on abortions for minor disabilities

26 May 2020

This weekend a cross-party group of MPs from the three largest parties in Parliament launched a new Bill which seeks an end to late terminations on the grounds that an unborn baby has cleft palate, cleft lip or club foot.

The Abortion (Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate and Club Foot) Bill is designed to change the existing law on abortion in Britain to clarify that there are no grounds for abortion for such minor and easily correctable conditions.

Abor­tion for dis­ab­il­ity in practice

Abortion is currently legal up to birth if an unborn baby has a substantial risk of being born "seriously handicapped"

The vague wording in the Abortion Act 1967 has been interpreted in practice to include cleft lip, cleft palate and club foot. If this Bill becomes law, these conditions will no longer be the sole ground for termination up to birth.

Offi­cial stat­ist­ics may be inaccurate

According to official abortion statistics for England and Wales, there were around 75 babies with a principal condition of either cleft lip or cleft palate aborted between 2011 and 2018.

However, due to underreporting the real figure is likely to be much higher. For example, in 2013 a review by Eurocat found that 157 babies were aborted with these conditions between 2006-2010. Yet the Department of Health only recorded 14 such abortions.

Eurocat also found that 205 babies with club foot were aborted in England and Wales in the same period.

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Cleft palate, cleft lip and clubfoot can all be corrected by surgery, and non-surgical corrective therapy is now successful for 98 per cent of children born with club foot.

Fiona Bruce MP, whose son was born with club foot, says that it was corrected by surgery and physiotherapy. He is now studying for a doctorate at Oxford.

Mrs Bruce said,

“Being born with this condition has not held my son back, rather the opposite. It has given him a depth of understanding about the value of every human life.

“Now in his mid-20s, he lives life to the full and no one would ever know, apart from the most experienced clinician in this field. It is hard to think that such a treatable disability could have deprived my son of life.”

A sens­ible law change

According to Mrs Bruce, this is a "sensible law change" that all MPs are invited to support, wherever they stand on abortion.

“It has now been 30 years since Parliament properly reviewed our law on abortion for disability.

“Every child with one of these conditions deserves the same chance of life as my son. I also want to ensure that no parent has to go through any pressure to abort their baby for what is clearly a correctable condition.”

“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."
Fiona Bruce MP

Join us in sup­port­ing this Bill

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At CARE we do not believe abortion is the right response for any kind of disability in an unborn baby.

Join us in calling on Parliament for a change in the law, and one that can and should be backed by MPs regardless of their view on abortion in general.

You can write to your MP and find out more about the bill and the wider campaign to raise awareness about it.

At CARE we do not believe abortion is the right response for any kind of disability in an unborn baby.
Naomi Marsden Communications Officer
Abort

Abortion

In any pregnancy, both the woman and preborn baby have inherent value and dignity, by virtue of being made in the image of God. CARE is passionately pro-woman and pro-life.

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