Open Letter to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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Open Letter to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Nov 10, 2017
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Open Letter To:
Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar
Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
c/o sr.disability@ohchr.org / crpd@ohchr.org

RE: “Concluding observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” CRPD/C/GBR/CO/1, 29 August 2017 (As adopted during the 18th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (14 -31 August 2017)

9 November 2017

Dear Ms Devandas Aguilar and members of the CRPD,

I am the International Coordinator of the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion and an abortion rights advocate for more than 35 years, living in the UK. I am writing to you in a personal capacity regarding the “Concluding observations on the report of the UK to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, as above.

Your recommendations to the UK overall are absolutely fair and just, but I am writing to take issue with those related to abortion, and to explain why. These are as follows:

Equality and non-discrimination (art. 5)

The Committee is concerned about perceptions in society that stigmatize persons with disabilities as living a life of less value than that of others and about the termination of pregnancy at any stage on the basis of fetal impairment.
The Committee recommends that the State party amend its abortion law accordingly. Women’s rights to reproductive and sexual autonomy should be respected without legalizing selective abortion on the ground of fetal deficiency.

My concerns regarding these recommendations are threefold: the first is to do with your definition of “a person”. The second is to do with the reasons why women have abortions vs. how different laws address and codify reasons for abortion as legal or illegal grounds. The third is that I believe including any ground for abortion in the law whatsoever – apart from permitting abortion at the woman’s request – is a mistake because it serves to restrict women’s autonomy and decisions over their own bodies.

Continued at source: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/open-letter-to-the-special-rapporteur-and-committee-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/

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Ireland: Both sides of abortion debate ‘abuse existence’ of people with disabilities

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Both sides of abortion debate ‘abuse existence’ of people with disabilities
‘We must stop our existence being used and abused,’ says leading disability campaigner

Sep 24, 2017
Seán Dunne

A leading disability campaigner has called on both sides in the abortion debate to stop “abusing the existence” of people with disabilities in their campaigns.

Suzy Byrne, an awardwinning blogger and advocate who lives with a disability in Dublin, also expressed concern at the way in which disability was being used by “right to die” advocates to justify euthanasia.

Continued at source: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/both-sides-of-abortion-debate-abuse-existence-of-people-with-disabilities-1.3231980

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Isle of Man: Debate: Abortion on grounds of disability

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Debate: Abortion on grounds of disability

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
Campaign wants public support on consultation

Does abortion on grounds of disability entitle unborn Manx babies to rights under the new Disability Discrimination Act?

The question has been posed by UK campaign group We're All Equal, which is calling on the Manx public to respond to the government's public consultation on abortion reform.

It asks people to reject proposals introducing abortion 'right through to birth' for disabled babies.

Continued at source: Manx Radio: http://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/debate-abortion-on-grounds-of-disability/

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Ending a Pregnancy Because of Down Syndrome Is Not a Precursor to Eugenics

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Ending a Pregnancy Because of Down Syndrome Is Not a Precursor to Eugenics

By Jen Gann
Aug 21, 2017

Over the weekend, Quartz published a post about the prevalence of Down syndrome in Iceland. Drawing statistics from a recent CBS report, Bonnie Rochman, author of The Gene Machine, writes, “In Iceland, nearly every woman who undergoes prenatal testing and whose fetus receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome decides to end her pregnancy.”

Note the word “decides.” No one is forcing women in Iceland to choose abortions — individual women are making those decisions. From this statement of fact, Rochman makes a shaky leap: “In essence, pregnant women in Iceland — and presumably their partners — are saying that life with disability is not worth living.”

Continued at source: The Cut: https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/down-syndrome-and-abortion-pregnancy.html

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U.S.: Disability and the Right to Choose

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Disability and the Right to Choose

Dadu Shin
May 10, 2017

As a young woman, I had no particular desire to be a mother. I was neither for nor against having and raising a child, and as things were at the time, the opportunity had not presented itself. That changed when I was 29 and met Jim, the man who would become my husband. In 2002, not long after we married, I gave birth to my son.

In my 20s, I was neutral about parenthood partly because, as a woman with cerebral palsy, I was spared the usual intrusive questioning and expectations about having children that most women are subject to. People never pressured me to have children; they just assumed that I could not. In fact, it became clear very fast that women like me are expected not to reproduce. Now, in my 40s, I find these attitudes ignorant and prejudicial, but as a young woman, it seemed like a bit of freedom to be excused from the usual problems women complain about.

Continued at link: New York Times: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/opinion/disability-and-the-right-to-choose.html

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