Disabled people are fatally discriminated against by the law on abortion in the UK, which allows for abortion of disabled babies right up to birth. There are obvious eugenic aspects of abortion for foetal anomaly and selective feticide in multiple pregnancy.
There is often subtle or not-so-subtle pressure exerted on parents by health professionals and others to accept tests, including tests that can cause miscarriage, and to agree to abortion when disability is diagnosed.
Over 90% of unborn babies detected with Down's Syndrome are aborted. This shocking fact is not well-known and it says much about our society that there is so little awareness of and reaction to it.
Justice is about honouring the dignity of human beings in virtue of their membership of the human species. This inherent value is core to who we are irrespective of our abilities at any given time. To judge which members of the human family may or may not be subjected to lethal discrimination is to judge arbitrarily, and this is to judge in a way opposed to justice.
Protecting the most vulnerable
Political parties which proclaim their commitment to equal opportunities for disabled adults are ignoring their duly to afford equal protection to disabled preborn human beings. Sadly, many of the latter are betrayed by the very organisations which should be protecting them. Society has adopted a double standard: on the one hand providing more support and protection for born disabled people than ever before; on the other devising ever more ruthless techniques for seeking out and destroying preborn disabled babies.
Abortion for disability exploits and encourages the dangerous and demeaning attitudes towards disabled people which our society seems eager to tell us it has overcome. Such procedures have nothing to with good medicine and perpetuate an entirely negative view of disabled people. On top of this, abortion, as viewers of the SPUC Schools Talk will be well aware, damages women. This is especially true of abortion for disability.
It is worth remembering also that neonatal euthanasia is already practised 'under the radar'. Some have even argued that neonates could be 'weeded out' before their births are officially recorded.
No Less Human
This should not surprise us as before birth we have witnessed much 'genetic screening' both of older unborn children by means of abortion and in the context of IVF, where embryos (human beings at the earliest stages of development) are discarded and destroyed like manufactured products if deemed to be 'abnormal'.
SPUC has vigorously campaigned in favour of the rights of disabled people through our No Less Human division. In ignoring the plight of disabled people we ignore our own humanity and allow ourselves to forget what justice and medicine are about at their most basic.