A campaigner with Down Syndrome has urged Stormont to reject “hurtful and offensive” British Government laws on abortion.
A major change lifting restrictions on terminations in Northern Ireland was introduced in March.
Ministers in Belfast have not introduced local provision after attorney general John Larkin QC raised legal points with Westminster’s intervention.
Heidi Crowter, a Down Syndrome advocate, said: “Boris Johnson’s Government did not have to introduce abortion for babies with Down Syndrome up to birth to Northern Ireland. They chose to do this.
“That’s both hurtful and offensive. My life has as much value as anyone else’s.
“I am asking all MLA’s (Members of the Legislative Assembly) to reject Westminster’s regulations – please don’t vote for more discrimination against people like me.”
Julian Smith was secretary of state when the regulations were being consulted on but was replaced by Brandon Lewis in February.
Many pro-life groups have expressed great concern and horror at the new regulations, which allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks; up to 24 weeks for undefined mental or physical health reasons; and up to birth if the unborn baby is considered to have a disability.
Down Syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby’s cells. It affects a person’s learning abilities.
Ms Crowter wrote to Stormont party leaders requesting they reject any Westminster regulations that allow abortion on the basis of a child’s disability up to birth.
She added: “Do not make the mistake which was made in Great Britain in allowing discrimination against people like me just because we happen to have Down Syndrome.
“Please let Northern Ireland continue to be a country where disabled people are valued.
“Please do not let a law come into practice which will end lives on the basis of disability and stop people like me coming into the world.”
Picture: Heidi Crowter, a campaigner with Down Syndrome, who has urged Stormont to reject “hurtful and offensive” British Government abortion laws. (Heidi Crowter/PA).