We’re all equal. That’s what the law says, isn’t it?
Discrimination on the grounds of disability was made illegal more than 20 years ago when Parliament passed the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. So it can’t happen. Right?
Wrong. It’s happening now. Today. It is the law.
Legal and lethal discrimination on grounds of disability has been a reality for almost 50 years. And it’s going to stay that way unless people like you help change the law and ensure disability can no longer be given as a reason for termination, right up to birth.
Ask yourself this simple question: where does disability discrimination start?
It starts before birth. It starts if the immediate response to a prenatal screening test that shows a disability diagnosis is to offer a termination. It starts with the prejudiced presumption that disability is a tragedy. (Tell that to our Paralympians.)
It starts with a law that specifically lists disability – or ‘handicap’ – as grounds for abortion and, to make the discrimination even more obvious (just in case you missed it), sets a ceiling of 24 weeks for termination if there’s no disability and explicitly removes the ceiling if there is a disability.
That’s right. Right. Up. To. Birth.
There is a recognised term for this. It’s called disability discrimination or section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 to be precise.
One other question: where does changing the law start?
It starts with you. Today. Now.
If you believe we’re all equal, if you think securing an end to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, race, gender or disability is worth fighting for, please support the new Bill introduced by severely disabled member of the House of Lords, Lord Shinkwin. The Bill will receive its First Reading shortly, so please watch this space for news on how you can support the campaign.
Discrimination by numbers
*A 2014 Department of Health review found evidence that there is significant under-reporting on the number of abortions for some fetal disabilities. These numbers are therefore likely to be significantly higher.
UK at the Paralympics 2016
*Athletes born with a disability
We are looking for people to help out with running the campaign, feature in our campaign videos and photos, be spokespeople for media interviews, and for a range of other roles. We are looking for people with and without disabilities, but are especially looking for people with a disability to talk for videos and get involved with media. If you can help out in any way please add your details below and we’ll be in contact to work out how we can best get you involved.
In 2016, Lord Shinkwin, who is severely disabled himself, introduced a Bill into the House of Lords that proposes to remove s(1)(1)(d) from the 1967 Abortion Act, which allows abortion on the grounds of disability, right up to birth. This was sadly talked out. Lord Shinkwin’s modest and reasonable new Bill (for the 2017-2019 Parliamentary session) seeks instead only to equalise the 24-week time limit by amending section 1(1)(d), so that it applies equally to non-disabled and disabled babies alike. This is not just in recognition of the significant social, attitudinal and medical advances made in the last 50 years and the fact that the vast majority of disabilities are now diagnosed before 24 weeks, but also in recognition that all human beings are of equal value, regardless of disability. His Bill ensures that parents who have been given a disability diagnosis would also be given more support in the form of full and accurate information about the options, including information from disability family support groups and organisations led and controlled by disabled people.
The ‘We’re All Equal’ campaign is run by people with disabilities, their families and supporters. We support changing the law to recognise the intrinsic equal right of every disabled human being to exist as the fundamental right from which all others flow.
Please watch this space for news on how you can get involved in the campaign.
To contact us for media comment or learn more about the campaign, email firstname.lastname@example.org