The right to life (just like any other child) by Erika Petrie

Written by Erika Petrie

June 29, 2020

At the end of February, Heidi Crowter, a young 24 year old woman with Down Syndrome launched a landmark case against the UK Government because current abortion law now allows abortion right through to birth for conditions such as: Down Syndrome, cleft palate and club foot. It has since emerged through press and media coverage, that one of the mothers involved in this case was offered an abortion at 38 weeks gestation, which was just two days prior to her giving birth to her baby with Down Syndrome!

I find this quite simply inhumane, when with most ‘disabilities’ the mother won’t necessarily find out beforehand (for example: there is no testing available for autism, when the baby is in the womb) and I think it is really terrible in this day and age that there is such terrible discrimination and stigma against Down Syndrome in particular. Down Syndrome children are very loving and intelligent…they may take a little longer to process things and may be behind on their development but they are happy and content, as well as incredibly resilient. My daughter Miki is incredibly determined in everything she does, faces everything with great courage, often smiles, giggles and is such a bundle of joy. There is no way I could ever be without her and although she is still non verbal she speaks to me in so many different ways, especially through her eye contact and her smile.

There is no doubt in my mind that abortion of course is a personal choice, down to the individual and the circumstances. However, that said I find this permitting of abortion so close to birth absolutely horrifying, because this means literally killing a living breathing fully formed human life, which so close to birth it obviously is, and one which has the same value as each and every one of us. So I ask the question, why this discrimination against Down Syndrome, when they are people just like us and they have so much more to give and offer than we do? Just the presence of their extra chromosome 21 means they have that extra happiness about them and therefore they have something more, not less, don’t you think?


Erika with Julia and Miki when they were very little


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