A woman with Down’s syndrome has lost a court of appeal challenge over the UK’s abortion laws.

Heidi Crowter, who brought the case alongside Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son Aidan also has Down’s syndrome, had argued that allowing pregnancy terminations up to birth if the foetus has the condition is discriminatory and stigmatises disabled people.

But in a ruling on Friday, three senior judges dismissed the appeal.

Crowter said she was “absolutely distraught” by the ruling and said the existing law made her feel that people like her should be “extinct”.

In a summary of the decision, by Lord Justice Underhill, Lady Justice Thirlwall and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, the judges said the act did not interfere with the rights of the “living disabled”.

They said: “The court recognises that many people with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities will be upset and offended by the fact that a diagnosis of serious disability during pregnancy is treated by the law as a justification for termination, and that they may regard it as implying that their own lives are of lesser value.

“But it holds that a perception that that is what the law implies is not by itself enough to give rise to an interference with article 8 rights [to private and family life, enshrined in the European convention on human rights].”

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after the ruling, Crowter said she might take her case to the supreme court.

Asked why she wanted to change the law, Crowter told Sky News: “It makes me feel that I shouldn’t be here. That I should be extinct. I know that’s not true, but that’s how it makes me feel.”

She highlighted how the law treated her newly born nephew. “I was flabbergasted that the law protects him and not me,” she said.

Crowter also told reporters: “I am very upset not to win again, but I will keep on fighting because we have already informed and changed hearts and minds and changed people’s opinions about the law.

“I am very upset that babies with Down’s syndrome can be aborted up to birth. This tells me that I am not valued and of much less value than a person without Down’s syndrome. I am angry that the judges say that my feelings don’t matter. That makes me feel that I am not as valuable as a person without Down’s syndrome.

“When we first started this court case not many people knew about the law, but now many, many people know about the law thanks to us and your amazing support. We want to thank everyone who has donated their time and money to our court case.”





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