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Disability Rights Campaigner addresses Stormont Committee and calls for abortion law change

12 March 2021
Heidi T

Yesterday (11 March), disability rights campaigner Heidi Crowter addressed the Health Committee at Stormont and urged MLAs to support the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill on Monday.

The Bill was introduced n 16 February by Paul Givan MLA and will have its Second Stage debate on 15 March. MLAs will consider the general principles of the Bill and vote on whether to send it to Committee for its next stage.

CARE NI launched its Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Campaign in support of the Bill. People across NI are being encouraged to ask their MLAs to support the Bill on Monday.

Speaking to the Health Committee, Heidi said:

“The law in Great Britain, and now sadly the law in Northern Ireland, tells me and other people with Down’s syndrome that we are worth less than those without disabilities. That is why I want my voice to be heard and the laws to be fairer.”
Heidi Crowter Disability rights campaigner
Watch Heidi Crowter address the Stormont Health Committee

Lynn Murray, spokesperson for 'Don't Screen Us Out' also gave evidence to the Committee. She said:

“We applaud the assembly for rejecting the Westminster regulations promoting abortion for non-fatal congenital conditions last year. The Severe Fetal Impairment (Abortion) Bill] is important because it will send out a clear message that Northern Ireland promotes equality and consideration for those with Down’s syndrome and a move in this direction will lead the way for other countries to follow.”
Lynn Murray Don't Screen Us Out

Bill will amend the West­min­ster imposed abor­tion laws

“My husband also has Down’s Syndrome and I value him and I think society should too. The law makes me feel very sad it is saying that I, and people like me, may as well have not been born”.
Heidi Crowter

If passed, the Severe Fetal Impairment (Abortion) Bill will amend Regulation 7(1)(b) of the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020, which were imposed on Northern Ireland last year, by Westminster.

After that had happened, MLAs debated and voted on a motion rejecting abortion to birth in cases of non-fatal disabilities like Down's syndrome, club foot or cleft lip.

That motion was approved by a majority of MLAs and a similar motion was also agreed to. In total, 75 out of 90 MLAs voted for the motions to stop abortion to birth for disabilities.

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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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