For the first time for years a cross Parliamentary group will be thoroughly reviewing the law on abortion for disability, with a particular focus on whether it is discriminatory or not.
The Abortion Act 1967 sets no time limit on when an abortion may take place on grounds of disability (Ground E). Therefore it is currently legal to terminate a pregnancy up to full-term on these grounds.
However the upper limit is 24 weeks if there is no disability.
The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people from discrimination. The Act prohibits discrimination arising from a disability by preventing one person from treating another less favorably because of their disability.
So part of the Inquiry’s remit is to assess whether the differentiation between abortion on the grounds of disability and non-disability is discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010. The Chair of the Inquiry and driver behind it, Fiona Bruce MP, said that the group will seek to ‘establish whether there is room for a review of this legislation bearing in mind both medical advances and advances in our attitudes to disability over recent years.’ The panel includes Baroness Hollins, a cross-bench peer and president of the British Medical Association.