During a parliamentary debate last week, Lord Kevin Shinkwin spoke out against a legal loophole that allows selective abortions based on disability in the United Kingdom.
“I can see from the trends in abortion on grounds of disability that the writing is on the wall for people like me,” said Shinkwin, who is disabled. “People with congenital disabilities are facing extinction. If we were animals, perhaps we might qualify for protection as an endangered species. But we are only human beings with disabilities, so we do not.”
Current U.K. law allows women in Wales and England to abort their disabled babies up to the moment before birth, whereas healthy babies can only be aborted legally within the first 24 weeks of their lives in utero. If passed, Shinkwin’s bill would get rid of this legal loophole, which allows disability-based discrimination.
Babies with Down’s syndrome are facing extinction in the United Kingdom. In 2014, 693 babies were aborted specifically because they were diagnosed with the genetic condition, a 34 percent jump since 2011. In 2015, an estimated 3,213 U.K. babies were aborted because they were diagnosed with a disability in utero — a 68 percent increase in 10 years.