A Disabled Woman with an Unwanted Pregnancy Wants a Choice Too
Wright, Victoria, The Independent (London, England)
Pro-life campaigners are seeking a repeal of what they call "the discriminatory section" of the 1967 Abortion Act. That's the bit that allows termination on the grounds of physical disability. Post- Paralympics, their argument goes, we now have to rethink what we mean by "disabled" and "able".
I am disabled. I believe in equal rights for disabled people. And I am pro-choice on abortion, including abortion on the grounds of disability. These beliefs are not contradictory. I am pro-choice because I accept there are times when a woman may not want or be able to continue with her pregnancy. It is a choice which, luckily, I have not had to consider myself. But I'm glad it's available to me.
What is unnerving is how pro-lifers use the fear of "eugenics" and the success of the Paralympics to try to engineer a change in the law on abortion. In a letter to a newspaper this week, the ProLife Alliance used the word "eugenics" twice. This is, of course, a way of associating the prevention of disability with Nazism. It is an easy and lazy argument for pro-lifers to make. Want an abortion because the baby would be severely disabled and you couldn't cope? You're a Nazi. Want to use prenatal or antenatal testing to avoid passing on inherited conditions? You're a Nazi. Admit that you can't bear living as a severely disabled person and want a doctor to help you die surrounded by your loved ones? You're a Nazi. And a self- hating crip. Disability is more complex than this and we should beware arguments that use such loaded terminology.
We should also keep in mind that some of those pregnant women considering abortion may be disabled themselves. They already know the joys and challenges that being disabled can bring. …