Lawyers acting for the families of two children with Down’s Syndrome have written to health secretary Matt Hancock seeking a change to the 1967 Abortion Act to prevent termination after 24 weeks for all non-fatal disabilities, including Down’s syndrome. In 2018, nearly one in five abortions were due to congenital anomalies.

Liz Crowter – whose 24-year-old daughter has Down’s syndrome but also works and is looking forward to getting married this summer – said: “It’s ridiculous: five minutes before the baby comes down the birth canal, if the child is suspected to have Down’s, the baby could be aborted. Five minutes later and the baby would be in the mum’s arms.”

The families are being backed by the campaign group Don’t Screen Us Out and the actress Sally Phillips, whose son Olly has the condition. “Given advances in medical care and quality of life for people with Down’s syndrome, the different right to life is beginning to look not just dated but barbaric,” she said.

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