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Heidi Crowter to go on fighting disability discrimination

2 November 2021

Heidi Crowter has confirmed that she will carry on fighting “discriminatory” abortion legislation following a setback in the High Court.

The 26-year-old campaigner is part of a legal challenge against a provision in England and Wales allowing preborn babies with disabilities to be aborted up to term. The limit for other babies is 24 weeks.

Last month, judges at the High Court rejected arguments by Heidi’s team that the law discriminates against disabled people. She told the BBC that she initially “lost the strength in herself” after the result.

However, she also confirmed that she will be seeking permission for an appeal: “We're going to ask the Court of Appeal to see if we can appeal and we'll go from there - let's do this.”

Family welcome announcement

Liz Crowter, Heidi's mother, welcomed the announcement:

"To hear that somebody thinks there's no discrimination when the rule of the land is 24 weeks for one baby and full term for a disabled baby - it's clearly discrimination”.

She added parenting was hard "whatever your children are like" and people's feelings and the "great support that there is out there" needed to be taken into account when making law.

Heidi’s husband, James, also welcomed Heidi’s decision to fight on, saying he would stand with her every step of the way:

"I want Heidi's voice to be heard and I'll try my best to support her in this court case, to be the best husband who would love her and support her."

CARE Challenge to NI abortion law

CARE is supporting a legal challenge of similar disability provisions in Northern Ireland abortion law by a private citizen, Rosaleen McElhinney.

Ms McElhinney, whose 15-year-old daughter Cara Rose has Down’s Syndrome, argues that the abortion framework allows unlawful discrimination.

Commenting on the intervention, a CARE spokesperson said:

“We are privileged to stand with Rosaleen as she raises substantive points on the controversial NI abortion framework. Rosaleen is especially concerned about the message the new law sends about disabled children like her beautiful daughter, Cara Rose.

“In allowing abortion up to birth for disabled babies – far beyond the 24-week limit for other preborn babies – it implies that disabled lives have less value. This regressive and discriminatory policy should have no place in Northern Ireland or any other part of the UK.”

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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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