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Can anyone explain the basis of this lawsuit to me?

najaB

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A woman with Down's syndrome has lost her High Court challenge over a law that allows abortion up to birth for a foetus with the condition.

Heidi Crowter, 26, from Coventry, brought the case against the government in July, saying the legislation did not respect her life.

Her legal team had argued the rules were unlawfully discriminatory.
Maybe I'm being dense here, but I cannot understand how the law is discriminatory against her. How does it impact her if other people choose to/not to have a child with Down's syndrome?

 
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ComUtoR

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I think she has a point.

If the law was created equally then there wouldn't need to be a stipulation regarding the clause that "there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped" Because there is an additional caveat to state the 24 week limit can be ignored if a baby would be born with Down's Syndrome I can understand why she doesn't feel that the law is equal and Down's Syndrome is specifically discriminated against.

The 24 week limit should be applied to all, not just "normal" babies.
 

AlterEgo

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Well, I suppose she’s entitled to think that the law as it stands makes people with her condition lesser people. And she’s right.

If we historically could tell if a foetus was going to be gay, in say the 1940s, and aborted on that basis (“no way to live, how undignified, only misery awaits the kid”), this would now rightly be decried as horribly homophobic and a relic of an era where those people enjoyed few rights.

She is perfectly entitled to think the law discriminated against her and people with her condition, because it does.
 

Dent

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She is perfectly entitled to think the law discriminated against her and people with her condition, because it does.

How is it descriminating against her? It applies only to a foetus between 24 weeks and full term, which she is clearly not as she has already been born.
 

DarloRich

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The decision and/or the legislation does not discriminate against the claimant as an individual in any way. I would like to look at the transcripts as the reporting of this case has been both emotive and very poor quality.
 

Smokey Joe

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How is it descriminating against her? It applies only to a foetus between 24 weeks and full term, which she is clearly not as she has already been born.
It's like saying she had less right to be born than anyone else.
I was an unwanted baby (adopted though), I could therefore have been "aborted" myself, it might not make sense, but it causes pain to know that your life was in jeopardy at someone else's whim. It's worse for her, as there is this stigma that Downs people are wrong when they aren't.
 

najaB

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The 24 week limit should be applied to all, not just "normal" babies.
If the rule was applied without exception then we end up in the situation where people are forced to have children who have no viable long-term prospects, at great expense to either themselves or society. Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life.

Edit: Since at least two posters seem to have misinterpreted this post, it is a direct response to the suggestion that the 24-week limit should be applied universally, not specifically relating to Down's Syndrome.
 
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Smokey Joe

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If the rule was applied without exception then we end up in the situation where people are forced to have children who have no viable long-term prospects, at great expense to either themselves or society. Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life.
So Downs people have no meaningful quality of life? Who are you to say if someone else's life isn't meaningful?
 

Dent

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It's like saying she had less right to be born than anyone else.
I was an unwanted baby (adopted though), I could therefore have been "aborted" myself, it might not make sense, but it causes pain to know that your life was in jeopardy at someone else's whim. It's worse for her, as there is this stigma that Downs people are wrong when they aren't.
It is still in no way discriminating against her, so this lawsuit has no basis.
 

najaB

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It's like saying she had less right to be born than anyone else.
But how is that disciminatory against her. The ability to exercise her right to be born was only an issue up to the point when she was born. After that, it was a moot point.
 

DarloRich

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So Downs people have no meaningful quality of life? Who are you to say if someone else's life isn't meaningful?
That isn't what is being said. This is the point I make about emotive reporting. People need to look at the facts of the case and the legislation rather than their prejudice.
 

AlterEgo

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How is it descriminating against her? It applies only to a foetus between 24 weeks and full term, which she is clearly not as she has already been born.

The law as it stands provides an option for her parents to have aborted her later than other children, because of the reasoning that she was:

...children who have no viable long-term prospects, at great expense to either themselves or society. Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life.

I don't think that she is a burden on society, nor do I think that anyone other than her has the right to prejudge what quality of life is acceptable for her to have.
 

Smokey Joe

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It is still in no way discriminating against her, so this lawsuit has no basis.
Okay, you are saying this isn't discriminating against her with Downs, with allowed late Downs abortions. Would you feel the same if the legislation instead said females could be aborted later? It might cover a large group, but this is also personal discrimination too,
 

AlterEgo

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The law disagrees.
Yes, we know, we have all read the opening post and that's why we are here.

Okay, you are saying this isn't discriminating against her with Downs, with allowed late Downs abortions. Would you feel the same if the legislation instead said females could be aborted later? It might cover a large group, but this is also personal discrimination too,
We are going to have great difficulty with getting across that the legal landscape can denigrate or diminish a person regardless of whether the law directly affected them in the past.
 

yorkie

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Okay, you are saying this isn't discriminating against her with Downs, with allowed late Downs abortions. Would you feel the same if the legislation instead said females could be aborted later? It might cover a large group, but this is also personal discrimination too,
This is a false equivalence argument.
 

Dent

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Would you feel the same if the legislation instead said females could be aborted later? It might cover a large group, but this is also personal discrimination too,

How anyone would feel makes no difference to the facts of this case, which are that this unly applies to an unborn foetus, which she is not and therefore she is not being discriminated against. It looks like you are trying to stifle rations discussion with an appeal to emotion, which is an onbvious logical fallacy.

 

najaB

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You said the "Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life."
In response to the suggestion that the 24 week limit should apply in all cases, not specifically in relation to Down's syndrome.
 

DarloRich

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Yes, we know, we have all read the opening post and that's why we are here.
And I am sure you will have read the section: The judges concluded the legislation was a matter for Parliament "which can take account of different interests and viewpoints, rather than in litigation".

In any event the claimant hasn't been discriminated against as an individual. Her rights are not infringed - she has the same rights as every other women in the UK.

As an aside: I am always suspicious of abortion cases. Religious types are never far away trying to push their own agenda.
 

Smokey Joe

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This is a false equivalence argument.
The law is currently saying some babies are okay to be aborted later, depending upon the baby's form. It is very equivalent as Downs Syndrome is greatly more common in one gender.

How anyone would feel makes no difference to the facts of this case, which are that this unly applies to an unborn foetus, which she is not and therefore she is not being discriminated against. It looks like you are trying to stifle rations discussion with an appeal to emotion, which is an onbvious logical fallacy.

The question I was replying to was one asking how she is discriminated against, so if explaining that the laws feels like a personal attack for deeming her type of person as having less right to exist is a "stifle" I fail to see the point of this topic.

PS. what is that link about??? Is that your way of calling me a lying git or something?
 

AlterEgo

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And I am sure you will have read the section: The judges concluded the legislation was a matter for Parliament "which can take account of different interests and viewpoints, rather than in litigation".
Yes, essentially their argument is that the legal challenge failed and any recourse must be up to legislators in Parliament to change the law.
In any event the claimant hasn't been discriminated against as an individual. Her rights are not infringed - she has the same rights as every other women in the UK.
So the judges found.

I am not sure what purpose this is serving other than to re-state what is in the OP; we all know the case was lost, and the thread is for people to explain the basis of the case and discuss how and why this woman might feel discriminated against.

Like democracy, the envelope of human rights is a consistently morphing envelope and we don't get anywhere by just saying "judges said so, the end".
 

najaB

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The law as it stands provides an option for her parents to have aborted her later than other children, because of the reasoning that she was:
Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life.
Having gone back through the thread I notice that you also quoted my post in a context other than that in which it was posted.
 

ComUtoR

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If the rule was applied without exception then we end up in the situation where people are forced to have children who have no viable long-term prospects, at great expense to either themselves or society. Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life.


Which is the basis of her arguement. She rightfully believes that because she has Downs; there is a specific discrimination in the law that would have allowed her to have been aborted.

She, rightfully believes that she does have quality of live and a meaningful place in society.

She rightfully believes that she is living proof that the law is wrong in that someone with a mental disability is a burden, has no long term perspectives, and generally should have been aborted, even past the legal limit based purely on a Down's diagnostic.

Who has the right to decide what "life" is ? If you knew that your child would be born but only live for 10 days. Should that child be allowed the right to live for those 10 precious days or do you save it the agony of dying ? Who are you really trying to save. The child or the parent ?

Imagine living life knowing that YOU are that exception and that somebody has already decided that your life isn't worth living.

Extend it further. (Potential strawman). But imagine if there was an exception for black babies ? What if they decided there was a "gay gene" ? Should we allow abortion after the 24 week limit in other circumstances ?

It is very clear that one section of society is being specifically treated different, that is discrimination.

She has a point.
 

najaB

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I'm going to assume you cross-posted this with the edit to my post, rather than deliberately misquoting me.
Which is the basis of her arguement. She rightfully believes that because she has Downs; there is a specific discrimination in the law that would have allowed her to have been aborted.
As I noted above, something that impacts on your right to be born ceases to be discriminatory against you as soon as you are born. There is, an argument to be made that it's discriminatory against those currently in the womb, or against those not yet conceived, but I still can't see how it infringes on her rights in any way.
 

DarloRich

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For completeness here is the full judgement: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Crowter-v-SSHSC-judgment-230921.pdf

The question I was replying to was one asking how she is discriminated against, so if explaining that the laws feels like a personal attack for deeming her type of person as having less right to exist is a "stifle" I fail to see the point of this topic.
You haven't - you have suggested how a particular class of foetus might be discriminated against

Like democracy, the envelope of human rights is a consistently morphing envelope and we don't get anywhere by just saying "judges said so, the end".

I remain unclear how she feels she has been discriminated against. Her rights as an individual have not been infringed at any point in my view. The case here seems to be one that should really be saying that a foetus has rights (and perhaps that those rights should start at 24 weeks) but that is a very different argument to the one suggested by the media.

I also have to point out that as far as the court is concerned how the claimant feels about a situation is immaterial. The judges weighed the evidence presented and decided that no breach of rights had occurred. We can debate that judgement and whether we think it is right or wrong but it is a case of "judges said so, the end" sadly.

The wording of the act is shockingly poor to modern eyes and clearly needs a refresh

Who has the right to decide what "life" is ?
The parents or more specifically the mother.

IRC: In UK law a foetus doesn’t have rights. An unborn baby doesn’t become a separate person with legal rights until they are born and draw breath by themselves.
 

yorkie

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It's all very well and good saying that there is a right to be born no matter what, but in practical terms that can be dangerous. I'm sorry if this upsets some people but I don't want her to win this case.

Extend it further. (Potential strawman). But imagine if there was an exception for black babies ? What if they decided there was a "gay gene" ? Should we allow abortion after the 24 week limit in other circumstances ?
That's another false equivalence.

When people resort to false equivalences, it generally means they have lost the argument.
 

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Having gone back through the thread I notice that you also quoted my post in a context other than that in which it was posted.
I don't think there is anything out of context there, and I note your clarification:

Edit: Since at least two posters seem to have misinterpreted this post, it is a direct response to the suggestion that the 24-week limit should be applied universally, not specifically relating to Down's Syndrome.
...which is what I understood your post to be about in the first instance.

The argument you make is that someone other than the person with Down's syndrome - usually the mother - gets to pre-judge, before birth, the worthiness of that person's potential life and gets greater scope to abort the foetus, simply because of the birth defect.

The complainant here is a married woman who, without evidence to the contrary, has a good and fulfilling quality of life.
As I noted above, something that impacts on your right to be born ceases to be discriminatory against you as soon as you are born. There is, an argument to be made that it's discriminatory against those currently in the womb, or against those not yet conceived, but I still can't see how it infringes on her rights in any way.
Regardless of the legal position stated by the judge, it most certainly can be the case that law which does not affect you, or historical injustices which you did not directly suffer, can diminish you.

I agree with the complainant that the special exemption for aborting people with Down's, which is fundamentally centred on the argument you correctly state thus:

people are forced to have children who have no viable long-term prospects, at great expense to either themselves or society. Not to mention that the children themselves have no meaningful quality of life.

affects the position, social status, and acceptance of people who have Down's within society. Whether this has a strict legal basis is what has been decided today, but I and many others can certainly see her argument.
 

najaB

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The argument you make is that someone other than the person with Down's syndrome - usually the mother - gets to pre-judge, before birth, the worthiness of that person's potential life and gets greater scope to abort the foetus, simply because of the birth defect.
That is a completely valid question, but was not the one put before the court. The question put before the court was if her rights were being infringed or not, and that's what I'm struggling to understand - what was the specific discrimination against her?
I can almost see the point that being able to abort because of a Down's diagnosis devalues people with Down's Syndrome but then the argument should have been that Down's shouldn't be an allowable reason for abortion at any point in the pregnancy.
 

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