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Lord Shinkwin's bill sends out a message that will echo around the world wherever abortion is debated, says SPUC Pro-Life

20 October 2016


Lord Shinkwin at the Don't Screen Us Out rally outside Parliament

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children comments on Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill.

Tomorrow, 21 October 2016, the House of Lords will hear the second reading of the Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill. The bill is being introduced by Lord Shinkwin, a peer who himself has a serious disability. It seeks to remove ground E, “that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”, from the 1967 Abortion Act. Lord Shinkwin has said:

"I am introducing this Bill as a severely disabled person who is committed to dismantling disability discrimination and to promoting equality...Such outdated discrimination, enshrined in law, is inconsistent with the spirit of equality legislation. This Bill gives Parliament an opportunity to look at the law again and remove the most pernicious example of institutional disability discrimination still on the statute book."

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, commented:

"Lord Shinkwin's bill sends out a message not only raising concerns about discrimination in abortion law, but challenging the push for industrial scale abortion worldwide.

"Efforts to spearhead abortion in countries which protect unborn babies are often based on generating fear among expectant mothers about disability. The fear of imperfection is usually where the abortion movement launches its attack on the instinct to protect those who are weak, young and vulnerable."

"Lord Shinkwin's principal argument is about the discrimination of aborting babies who are disabled," Mr Tully continued. "Such discrimination is evidently wrong - but the failure to recognise the rights of the baby in the womb means that this form of discrimination is rampant. For example, 9 out 10 babies detected with spina bifida before birth are killed."

"Lord Shinkwin's bill also sends out a message that will echo around the world wherever abortion is debated. Legislating for doctors to kill disabled babies is often the starting point for introducing laws that lead to killing on a scale that makes famine, warfare and natural disasters look mild. In Britain, the Thalidomide tragedy of the early 1960s was one of the triggers for the 1967 Abortion Act which has led to over 8,700,000 babies being killed in the past 49 years."

Mr Tully also said: "Pro-abortion groups are now seeking to introduce universal abortion provision in places with excellent maternal health records, like Ireland and South America. 

"In Northern Ireland, pro-abortion Amnesty International is leading efforts to legalise widespread abortion based on fears about so-called "fatal fetal anomalies" - babies with short post-natal life-expectancy. In Brazil, the spread of Zika virus has been used to promote abortion for babies who might be born with microcephaly, a condition of the brain that has been linked to the virus."

Mr Tully concluded : "Vociferous support for Lord Shinkwin's bill has come from people with Down's syndrome - whose numbers have been decimated by the Abortion Act. Their stance should make all of us question: If the Abortion Act singled out people like me for abortion, would I be happy?

Notes to Editors

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