Clarifying statement by Inclusion London* in response to Heidi Crowter’s legal challenge to remove disability discrimination from the Abortion Act

*This statement represents Inclusion London’s view only and does not claim to reflect or represent the views of the wider DDPO sector

“Inclusion London opposes all forms of discrimination and inequality and we stand in solidarity with the many communities campaigning for an end to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism and our shared, bedrock demands for full choice and control over our lives and our bodies.

As a disability equality organisation we are committed to ending the prejudice and discrimination in society that routinely de-values Disabled people, treats us as dispensable and of less worth. These attitudes are often sharply seen within the context of reproductive rights where the pressure to terminate fetuses at ‘risk’ of being impaired and the denial of reproductive rights to Disabled people are widespread and routine. We instead want to see a world where impairment and difference is recognised and celebrated as a fact of life, and where Disabled people are valued and included and our Human rights respected and upheld.

Ending discrimination against Disabled people cannot, however, be brought about by restricting bodily autonomy and women, trans men and non-binary people’s right to choose. Likewise, there cannot be equality for Disabled people whilst people are stripped of their reproductive rights.

Though we understand the desire of Heidi’s legal action to remove the clause within the Abortion Act that is argued amounts to unequal, discriminatory treatment on the grounds of disability we have concluded that achieving this is likely to be at the expense of women, trans men and non-binary people’s right to choose and bodily autonomy. We therefore cannot support this legal action.

We need a society free from all forms of discrimination. This would be a society where everyone has access to reproductive justice and meaningful freedom of choice and control over their bodies, free from external pressures and assumptions and where those who make a choice to have children with impairments do not have to face fears of discrimination, exclusion or poverty whilst those who either cannot or choose not to have children are free from stigamisation.”