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Prayer Alert:  Parliamentary debate on abortion - today

Fiona Bruce MP

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce has secured time in the House of Commons today (9th April) for an Adjournment Debate on the issue of abortion on the grounds of disability.

The debate follows a Parliamentary Inquiry, launched by Fiona Bruce last year, into whether the Abortion Act 1967 unjustly discriminates against disabled babies by permitting abortion to take place on the grounds of disability up to birth.  There is an upper limit of 24 weeks for abortions on other grounds.

The Inquiry concluded that the law on abortion for disability could fall foul of both the 2010 Equality Act and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child “needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”  

A report on the findings of the Inquiry revealed that:

  • Approximately 90 per cent of unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England and Wales are aborted following prenatal testing.
  • Around seven terminations for cleft lip, and five for cleft palate, have taken place in England and Wales since 2002.
  • Following a disability diagnosis, many parents feel that they are“pushed towards" having an abortion without due consideration of other options, and many who decide to keep their child face discrimination.
The Inquiry recommended Parliament to remove the discriminatory aspects of the Act either by repealing section 1(1)(d), which permits terminations on disability grounds, or as a minimum, reducing the upper limit for disability abortions to make it equal to that of abortion on other grounds.

Please pray:

  • That the Government will not simply listen to the debate but will act to review its policy which currently permits abortion up to birth for a child diagnosed in the womb with a disability.
  • That provision will be considered for better care and support from the medical profession for parents who choose to keep their baby where prenatal tests indicate a risk of disability.
  • That provision will also be considered for better, accessible long-term care and practical support for parents who are looking after a disabled child from the moment of diagnosis.
  • That the debate will be well supported and that the responding Health Minister will acknowledge the policies surrounding abortion on the grounds of disability need reviewing.
  • That other policies and practices, such as abortion on the ground of gender and the pre-signing of abortion forms, will also be reviewed.
Please also contact your MP to draw attention to the debate and to express your concerns about the issues outlined above. Find contact details for your MP here >

You can read more about the Parliamentary Inquiry here >

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