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Govt to back new Down's syndrome bill

Abortion
15 November 2021
Shutterstock 783293761 min

The UK Government has given its backing to a new Down's syndrome Bill in Parliament, introduced by Liam Fox MP earlier this year.

It means people with Down's syndrome will be legally recognised as a specific minority group and public bodies will have to ensure they have systems in place to meet their needs.

Speaking to The Times, Ken and Rachael Ross, who's son Max has Down's syndrome said:

“There is so little knowledge about what actually has to be done to adapt things to make them accessible for people with Down syndrome. Because the disability isn’t so visual, people just really struggle to think ‘what is it we need to do? So this bill will create the framework that will answer that question for them.”
Ken and Rachael Ross

The law will apply to any public body that provides services to disabled people throughout their life. It mirrors the Autism Act of 2009 which made sure services met the specific needs of people on the autism spectrum.

Local councils may, for the first time, have to keep records of people in their area with Down's syndrome.

Actor Tommy Jessop, who played Terry Boyle in Line of Duty said the new Bill would help people with Down's syndrome to:

"speak up about what they really want in life and to show what they are truly capable of”.
Tommy Jessop Actor, Line of Duty

The Down Syndrome Bill will have its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 26 November.

Leg­al chal­lenge over abor­tion to birth for Down’s syndrome

CARE's also supporting Down's syndrome campaigner Heidi Crowter who has spoken out about the discrimination she believes exists currently in abortion law across the UK.

Under the law, it's legal to abort a baby up to birth in cases of 'serious handicap' which has been interpreted to include disabilities like Down's syndrome.

Heidi recently took the UK Government to court and although the High Court ruled against her legal challenge, she's said she's not giving up and her legal team are seeking permission to appeal.

You can support Heidi's efforts to extend support for people with Down's syndrome to those in the womb by donating to her crowdfunder.

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