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Archbishop of Canterbury and wife chose life for daughter despite pressure to abort

by | Jul 10, 2024

By Bridget Sielicki

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
Photo: Roger Harris
CC BY 3.0

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently spoke in support of those with disabilities, noting that he and his wife were encouraged over 30 years ago to end the life of their daughter after receiving a prenatal diagnosis.

The Most Rev. Justin Welby recently shared with the church’s General Synod, its legislative body, that he and his wife Caroline were encouraged to abort their daughter Ellie after learning she would be born with dyspraxia, a condition causing difficulty in coordination and movement. At the time, doctors cited finances as a reason why the couple should choose abortion.

“Before [Ellie] was born, during the pregnancy, there was some concern and a test was offered, but it was made very, very clear to my wife that if the test was taken and proved positive, it would be expected that we ask for a termination,” he explained. “It was not a neutral process, because they said it’s expensive.”

Rev. Welby told church leaders that Ellie’s diagnosis has not limited her in any way.

“She’s precious because she’s wonderful, she’s kind, she is someone who gets cross and gets happy and gets sad. She’s not that severely disabled,” he said. “She’s been chucked off a bus, or tried to be on one occasion, by a ticket inspector who didn’t believe that her disability card was genuine.”

The archbishop’s comments came during debate on a church motion that would call on the government to provide more support to families of those with disabilities and ensure that parents receive “comprehensive and unbiased information” when learning that their preborn child may have a disability.

The motion passed unanimously.

“I hope that this motion passes, not just because of Ellie, but because of our belief in human dignity,” the archbishop said as he told his story.

Abortions are currently legal in the UK until birth if the child has a diagnosis of certain disabilities, including Down syndrome.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.

Categories: Pro-Lifers