A bill that would end disability-selective abortion up-to-birth has passed its Second Reading in the UK House of Lords and proceeded to the Committee Stage.
If successful, Lord Kevin Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill will remove section 1(1)(d) from the 1967 Abortion Act, which allows for abortion on the grounds of disability up-to-birth. In the UK, disability-selective abortions are currently available right up to the moment of birth whereas in most cases, “healthy” babies cannot be aborted beyond 24 weeks.
Speaking as the bill was debated late last month, Lord Shinkwin said:
“From this disabled person’s perspective, there is a stark anomaly, an inconsistency in the law, whereby discrimination on grounds of disability is both prohibited in law after birth yet, confusingly, actually enshrined in law at the very point at which the discrimination begins, at source, before birth.”
The bill is supported by the We're All Equal disability rights campaign, a grassroots movement that aims to make "disability equality a reality".
‘’It is time for a national discussion on disability equality", said Dr Elizabeth Corcoran, spokesperson for the We’re All Equal campaign. "As a society that has disability equality written into law it is high time that we had an informed discussion and vote on whether it is acceptable to abort a child with a disability on the one hand, while not allowing it on the grounds of gender on the other."
The shock of this week’s Presidential election in the United States has overshadowed other winners and losers on election night. Big Marijuana was a winner. Four states have legalised recreational marijuana and another four medical marijuana. Assisted suicide was a winner, with voters in Colorado passing a ballot initiative legalising it.
A big loser was the polling industry, which failed to predict Trump’s astonishing victory. This comes after other surprises (ie, failures) in the Brexit debate and the peace accord in Colombia.
And this has made pollsters’ clients suspicious. “A corporate market research project, you don’t know if your polling is shit because there’s no election day,” Dan Wagner, head of Democratic research firm Civis Analytics, told the Wall Street Journal. In politics, “there’s a day where you’re going to find out whether you were right or whether you’re an idiot.”
Since polling has become a weapon in bioethics policy debates on issues like euthanasia, abortion, or stem cell research, perhaps we can feel a bit more justified in our scepticism about polls which purport to show what the public thinks. It would be silly to say that polling is broken, but it certainly needs a good grease-and-oil change.
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