The battle of Heidi Crowter, British carrier of Down's syndrome, against an abortion law she considers discriminatory

Heidi Crowter, a 26-year-old woman with Down's syndrome, lost a legal challenge against the British government on Thursday. She fights against a law authorizing abortion until the end of pregnancy if the fetus has a disability. 

"The government may not think it discriminates against me, but I say it, I feel discriminated against," said the young woman in front of the courthouse Thursday, after the verdict.

Heidi Crowter, supported by an unidentified child with Down's syndrome and Mayor Lea-Wilson, mother of a son with Down's syndrome, had filed a complaint against the Department of Health and Social Affairs over the abortion law in force UK.

according to Associated Press, this law allows abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in England, Scotland and Wales. However, if prenatal testing shows that there is a "substantial risk" that the unborn child "would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be severely disabled", this provision is lifted, allowing abortion until such time. at the end of the pregnancy.

Legislation "offensive" according to Heidi Crowter who hopes with this case to change mentalities on the way people with Down's syndrome are perceived in society.

"It's a very sad day, but I will continue to fight," she said after losing her protest.

“When [William] Wilberforce wanted to change the slavery law, he didn't give up, even when events didn't always work in his direction. And when the going got tough, he kept going. And I'm going to do the same, because I want to see a change in the law to prevent babies like me… from being aborted until birth because it's discrimination. "

Interviewed by the with the BBCMayor Lea-Wilson, mother of a child with Down's syndrome who supports Heidi Crowter's protest, returned to the repeated pressures she suffered from doctors to terminate her pregnancy.

“I have two boys who both love and love,” she said. According to her, “this judgment” proves that in the eyes of the law, her two boys “are not considered equal”.

“We will continue to fight and show how wonderful our lives are with our amazing children, friends and family who have an extra chromosome. Added the complainant.

During the verdict, the judges in charge of the case, Lord Justice Singh and Mrs Justice Lieven declared which “The issues that gave rise to this complaint are very sensitive and sometimes controversial”. They believe that the court “ cannot enter into these controversies and must decide the case only in accordance with the law ”.

This is why they rejected Heidi Crowter's challenge and concluded that this legislation is the responsibility of Parliament "which can take into account different interests and points of view, rather than in the context of litigation".

The lawyer for the three plaintiffs, Paul Conrathe, described their decision as "out of step with modern attitudes towards disability".

"By allowing babies with [Down's] syndrome to be aborted until birth, unlike neurotypical babies, the law sends a powerful message that the lives of people with [Down's] syndrome are of less value. ", did he declare.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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