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Woman with Down syndrome says she 'will keep on fighting' after losing case challenging UK abortion law

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Image source: BBC video screenshot

Heidi Crowter, a 26-year-old woman with Down syndrome, and two other individuals were dealt a blow when judges in the U.K. dismissed their case challenging a law which permits abortion of children with Down syndrome up until birth.

Maire Lea-Wilson, who is a 33-year-old mother who has a child with Down syndrome, Crowter, and a child with Down syndrome took the Department of Health and Social Care to court, contending that a portion of the Abortion Act is discriminatory and breaches the European Convention on Human Rights, according to the Associated Press.

While abortions in England, Wales, and Scotland are permitted up until 24 weeks, the law provides that abortions are permitted until birth if there is "substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped." The BBC noted that this includes Down syndrome.

But despite the decision, Crowter is not giving up, and says she "will keep on fighting."

The BBC reported that Lea-Wilson said she will also appeal. She noted that she has two sons and believes the ruling "effectively says that my two sons are not viewed as equals in the eyes of the law," according to the outlet.

"Equality should be for everyone regardless of the number of chromosomes they have," she said.

Lawyer Paul Conrathe, who is with the firm that is representing the the three claimants, described the decision as "out of step with modern attitudes to disability," according to the AP.

"By allowing babies with (Down) syndrome to be aborted up to birth, unlike neurotypical babies, the law sends a powerful message that the lives of people with (Down) syndrome are of lesser value," he said, according to the AP.

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