UK Catholic bishop speaks out after woman with Down syndrome loses abortion law appeal

The Catholic Church in England and Wales has spoken out against the UK’s abortion law, branding it “illogical and unjust,” after a woman with Down syndrome lost a legal challenge to the law relating to abortion and disability.

In a ruling on Nov 25, the Court of Appeal ruled that the UK abortion law did not discriminate against disabled people, even though it permits abortion up to birth if medics suspect the baby is disabled.

“The law which protects her after birth did not protect her in the womb — indeed, a disabled person such as Heidi can be aborted up to the moment of birth based on their disability alone. This is illogical and unjust,” says Bishop John Sherrington, auxiliary bishop of Westminster.

Heidi Crowter, a 27-year-old woman with Down syndrome, launched her legal challenge in the High Court in July 2021, arguing that the law does not respect her life.

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