This week a Parliamentary Inquiry into abortion on the grounds of disability was launched in the UK. This is a major opportunity for social justice for our community. We applaud Fiona Bruce MP, the Inquiry Chair, for this most welcome and important initiative to stop discrimination against the disabled community.
Ann Furedi, the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service was quick out of the block to criticise the inquiry, labelling disability “tragic” whilst endorsing disability selective abortion up until birth and revealing her discriminatory attitude towards the disabled. This open letter is our response to her article.
Dear Ann Furedi,
In your article in The Telegraph, dated 31 January 2013, you go out of your way to criticise an important initiative from your government to promote the rights of the disabled. You take the opportunity to label a disability “tragic” whilst endorsing disability selective abortion up until birth and display a discriminatory attitude towards our community.
Saving Downs welcomes the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into abortion on the grounds of disability as an important social justice initiative for our community. Down syndrome is targeted for birth prevention in the UK under a national screening programme. Birth data from the UK shows that the national screening programme is mostly being used for the birth prevention of babies with Down syndrome, rather than birth preparation or life affirming care. The high termination rate for Down syndrome is a concern and is indicative of an underlying attitude of negative bias from the medical community and discrimination.
In your article you stated:
“We will all have different views on abortion for fetal abnormality. They are the most controversial of abortions and arguably the most tragic for often they involve wanted, planned-for pregnancies.”