The draft bill proposed by Lord Shinkwin, aimed at restricting disability-selective abortion, has been rejected. In the United Kingdom, a disabled foetus can be aborted up to the end of pregnancy but Lord Shinkwin, who has a disability, recommended restricting this limit to 24 weeks (see United Kingdom: draft bill aimed at limiting disability-selective abortion is gaining ground). After five months of debate, his peers finally rejected the proposal on 24 February.
Lord Shinkwin commented as follows: ” What I don’t understand is how after birth I can be good enough for the Prime Minister and the Queen to send me to the House of Lords but before birth, I’m part of a group of people with congenital conditions that is being systematically killed.” . He has denounced the fact that his colleagues “do not want disabled babies to see the light of day”.
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of disability-selective abortions rose by 68%. 90% of foetuses with Down syndrome are aborted in the United Kingdom.
However, the results of a ComRessurvey published last week, show that the general public support the change proposed by Lord Shinkwin. Furthermore, more than half the persons interviewed agreed that authorising disability-selective abortion“creates the perception that disability is a tragedy”.
Evening Standard, Kate Proctor (13/02/2017)