The campaign against the brutal English law of abortion of 1967 gains vigor
Relevant figures cry in the Daily Telegraph against an unusually cruel norm with the disabled.
The London Paralympics have marked a before and after in the history of this movement, born in 1948 in the City of the Thames with a competition between mutilated veterans of the Second World War.
The participation has been greater than ever (4294 athletes 164 countries) and, more importantly, so has the public interest, with record ticket sales in the history of the Paralympics and media attention that at some specific times approached that of the Olympic Games.
Particularly in Britain, thanks to its splendid third place in the medallion, behind only China and Russia, and surpassed even this in total medals, albeit with two fewer golds, the Paralympic impact on public opinion has been much greater than expected.
A brutal law.
This national enthusiasm for Paralympic sport has been used by pro-life organizations to recall the existence in the Uk of the Abortion Act of 1967, particularly harsh on the disabled, and to advocate again for the disabled abolition.
Wednesday's Daily Telegraph publishes a letter signed by doctors, pro-life leaders and representatives of religious movements, recalled that the 1967 law is a form of eugenics.
Signatories include Peter Saunders, president of an association of Christian physicians that brings together 4500 physicians and 1000 medical students; Peter Elliott, an entrepreneur who, after his son David was born in 1985, created the prestigious Foundation for the Research of Down Syndrome; or John Deighan, representing the Scottish Episcopal Conference.
"(Paralympic) athletes have offered such astonishing examples of courage and victory over disability that we should rethink what we mean by disability and ability," they write in the letter: "We ask Parliament to reject the discriminatory section of the Abortion Act of 1967, which allows eugenic abortion until birth, and instead promotes the investigation of those disabilities that, when diagnosed, usually involve a prenatal death sentence."
The possible victory.
And that's because the 1967 law not only allows abortion up to 24 weeks (six months) in case of "danger to the physical or mental health" of the mother but extends it up to 40 weeks (to include widely delayed pregnancies) when there is a "risk to the physical or mental health" of the mother the baby has "serious disabilities."
These are exceptional cases, but not isolated: in 2011, 146 abortions were carried out in England and Wales beyond six months of pregnancy. The legal casuistic covers cases as one of 2003, an abortion decreed beyond 24 weeks because the fetus was detected the lack of an ear.
"Killing people with disabilities, instead of working to support and care for them, is contrary to the highest medical principles," the signatories argue.
It is now, said Jack Scarisbrick, founder of the pro-Life group, to mobilize anti-abortion parliamentarians to take the initiative to amend the law, particularly about children with Down syndrome: between 2002 and 2010 they were aborted 3968 children who suffered from it. "We want to insist on this point," Scaribrick continues, "because we believe that we can win it, and that would send a wonderful signal to the whole world."