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Channel 4 airs disability and abortion documentary

Ruth Madeley and Ruben Reuter
Ruth Madeley and Ruben Reuter Image credit: channel4.com

Channel 4 has announced a new one-off documentary which will highlight laws associated with disability and abortion.

Under British regulations unborn babies diagnosed as being at risk of severe impairments or health conditions can be terminated up until full term.

The law was challenged in 2021 by disability campaigners, but the appeal was overruled in court.

Channel 4’s Disability & Abortion: The Hardest Choice uncovers the complex system around terminating a pregnacy of potential disabled baby and addresses how people with disabilities are accepted in society.

If a doctor suspects a “serious foetal” abnormality, such as a baby being born with Downs Syndrome, life-limiting congenital lung malformations or spina bifida, parents have the option to go ahead with termination.

The film highlights emotional strains put on families having to make these incredibly difficult choices and which protections society should be making available to everyone involved, including the parents, couples and doctors.

It also asks the question: if you knew your unborn baby may have a severe disability what would you do?

The documentary is presented by actors Ruth Madeley and Ruben Reuter (pictured above), both of whom have a disability. 

Madeley, who lives with spina bifida, said: "Exploring the emotional intricacies surrounding disability and the law was an incredibly challenging & eye-opening experience. To have the opportunity to unpack & learn about such an important subject whilst also celebrating disability alongside Ruben is an experience that will stay with me forever."

Reuter, who has Down’s Syndrome, said: “I am so pleased and proud and happy to be working on such an amazing programme. I hope that exploring this subject will make a difference to people like me and help everyone think about our rights.  Like I always say – never give up!”

Disability & Abortion: The Hardest Choice is on Channel 4, Monday August 22 at 10pm availble afterwards on All 4.