Speaking following the news that his Bill on disability equality before birth had been deliberately talked out, Lord Shinkwin said:
” As a severely disabled person, I’m deeply disappointed that my Bill has been deliberately talked out, with the result that the law will continue to be used as a license to kill unborn babies, up to birth, for the crime of having a disability.
“Not many people realise that, by law, disability is currently grounds for abortion right up to birth, compared with 24 weeks for non-disabled babies. This means that even though the law for after birth explicitly outlaws discrimination on grounds of disability, disability discrimination is actually enshrined in law for before birth. My Bill sought to address that fundamental and illogical inconsistency.
“The status quo stinks because it effectively means that someone like me can be judged, after birth, as good enough for the House of Lords, but, before birth, only good enough for the incinerator. Not only does such blatant discrimination not make sense; it’s actually eugenic and unethical. I am very grateful for the support my Bill’s received from Disability Rights UK, the UK’s leading Disabled People’s Organisation (click here to see Disability Rights UK’s statement), from disabled people, their families and from members of the public. They know that my Bill was never about abortion itself, but about confronting and ending disability inequality where it begins, before birth. The issue’s not going to go away; I’m not going to go away. Parliament needs to look at the law again, and the Government needs to make sure it provides sufficient time for both Houses to debate and vote on legislation to stop such discrimination as soon as possible.”