Equality from the Womb to the Tomb
Posted by Ettore Finaldi on 9 July 2015
Ettore Finaldi is a year 10 student at St Thomas More school in Eltham, London. During his two weeks of work experience at SPUC HQ, Ettore visited the House of Parliament and had this to say about discrimination in the law perpetrated against unborn babies with disabilities:
In 1990, the passing of a bill by pro-life MP David Alton led to one of the greatest problems for pro-lifers in the UK since the Abortion Act of 1967. The law seemed to take one step forward and three steps back. It reduced the time limit from 28 weeks to 24 weeks in most cases. However despite David Alton’s promises not to accept any compromises, compromises were unfortunately made by many politicians and their pro-life supporters. The end result, unexpected by many, was that abortion was allowed up to birth for children with disabilities. This put a severe strain on the world’s view of the pro-life position, making it seem to some as if pro-lifers only cared about social abortions, but disregarded eugenic abortions. This is not true. We strive to end abortion because it kills human beings, disabled or not. The only way to have true equality is to have it from the womb to the tomb. Therefore, the law should reflect this.
I went to Parliament recently and saw banners describing various laws that gave certain people in society equal rights. One of the banners referred to the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995, a law that gave disabled people equal rights and equal opportunities. The colourful banner was held up high in immense pride at the greatness of British law. The only words that came to my head were “hypocrisy, pure hypocrisy”. It was hypocrisy in the truest sense of the word. Able-bodied people and disabled people are not truly equal under law. Able-bodied foetuses have more rights than disabled foetuses, partly because of the change to the law in 1990. Why is this? They are both human. Just because disabled people act or look differently does not mean they deserve death, and yet our own laws dictate that they can be killed up until the moment of birth.
Aborting disabled children in the UK is justified by the assumption that the child would have ‘no quality of life’. Abortion is used as early euthanasia, as a sort of mercy killing. But quality of life is a myth. By whose standard is it dictated? And why does it allow someone to be killed, just because that person can or cannot do something? Doesn’t equality mean, despite differences, that we are equal? However, in the womb we are not equal any more. Different people now gain equality at different times. Either disabled people are not equal to able bodied people or they are equal. The law has been bent for the convenience of other people, because aborting the disabled child makes life easier, or that is what people assume. But in the end, you have to ask yourself: what changes at birth make you entitled to rights? Only location. So, why is this discrimination acceptable? To appease the fearful and/or selfish views of others, some of whom may actually believe it ‘benefits’ the baby to take its life, and many of whom, at least in the case of the parents, will bitterly grieve the baby killed. Doctors often suggest abortion to parents as an option if a disability is suspected. This is always wrong: if you are equal outside the womb then you must be equal inside the womb.
Planned or unplanned, disabled or not, everyone has an equal right to live. Because of this law, which discriminates against the disabled, countless lives have been lost. This mistake should never be made again.