In Disability and Abortion: The Hardest Choice, hosts Ruth Madeley and Ruben Reuter asked and answered some of the hardest questions I’ve ever seen posed on prime-time TV. With abortion legal in England, Wales and Scotland up to 24 weeks for a healthy foetus, and until full term for those with certain disabilities, Madeley and Reuter wanted to understand the legal discrepancy. What made one foetus worth protecting and not another? Was a disabled person less “valuable” than someone able-bodied?
For both hosts, those questions were personal as well as intellectual. While the law doesn’t specify conditions that qualify a foetus for termination after 24 weeks, speaking instead in terms of “substantial risk” of being “seriously handicapped”, Madeley’s spina bifida and Reuter’s Down’s Syndrome meant that, as Madeley put it, “we could have been terminated up until full term during our mums’ pregnancies”.