A woman with Down syndrome has lost an appeal against UK abortion laws.
Heidi Crotter, who brought the case alongside Mayer Lea Wilson, whose son Aidan also has Down syndrome, argued that allowing a pregnancy to be terminated until delivery if a fetus has the condition is discriminatory and stigmatizes disabled people.
But in a ruling on Friday, three of the top judges rejected the appeal.
Crotter said she was “absolutely stunned” by the ruling and said the current law made her feel like people like her should be “extinct”.
Summing up the decision by Lord Justice Underhill, Justice Thirlwall and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, the justices said the law did not conflict with the rights of “living disabled people”.
They said: “The Court is aware that many people with Down syndrome and other disabilities will be upset and offended by the fact that the law treats a diagnosis of serious disability during pregnancy as a justification for termination of pregnancy, and that they may view it as implying that their life is of less value.
However, it considers that the perception that this is what the law refers to is not in itself sufficient to interfere with the rights provided for in Article 8. [to private and family life, enshrined in the European convention on human rights]. “
Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after the ruling, Crotter said she may take her case to the High Court.
When asked why she wanted to change the law, Crotter told Sky News: “It makes me feel like I shouldn’t be here. I should be extinct. I know it’s not right, but it makes me feel.”
She highlighted how the law dealt with her newborn nephew. “I was dumbfounded that the law protects him, not me,” she said.
Crotter told reporters: “I’m so upset I didn’t win again, but I’m going to keep fighting because we’ve already informed, changed hearts and minds, and changed people’s opinions about the law.
“I am very upset that children with Down syndrome can be aborted until birth. It tells me that I am not valuable and much less valuable than someone without Down syndrome. I am angry because the judges said my feelings are not important. It makes me feel not as valuable as someone who does not suffer from Down syndrome.
“When we first started this lawsuit, not many people knew about the law, but now more and more people know about the law thanks to us and your amazing support. We want to thank everyone who donated their time and money to our cause.”