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Ethics – Lord Shinkwin pushed out

February 2018

Lord Shinkwin has resigned as a Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) after political pressure from humanist groups.

Lord Shinkwin had been campaigning to get the commission to support a bill he is proposing in the House of Lords, seeking to ban abortion on the grounds of disability, including fatal foetal abnormality. He had also been openly lobbying to persuade the EHRC to support his bill.

However, atheist-leaning Humanists UK helped lodge a formal complaint against him over his behaviour, prompting the EHRC to start a formal investigation.

Lord Shinkwin was appointed an EHRC Commissioner back in April, which triggered a concerted campaign from Humanists UK and other members of the pro-choice alliance Voice for Choice.

Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality Bill) seeks to amend the Abortion Act to prevent women getting an abortion in the UK should there be a serious antenatal diagnosis of foetal abnormality (such as Down’s or Turner’s syndromes).