Charity's 'disgust' over abortion stance
A charity is “disgusted and horrified” that a UK Independence Party candidate has appeared to call for compulsory abortion of any foetus with Down’s syndrome or spina bifida.
Learning disability charity Mencap questioned whether Kent County Council Ukip candidate Geoffrey Clark is fit for office after he made the comments on his website.
In his personal manifesto Mr Clark, who is also standing for Gravesham Borough Council in a by-election on Thursday, called for a government review into NHS expenditure.
The review should “re-examine the pregnancy abortion time limit. Consider compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, spina bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family”.
It should also look into medical treatment for people over the age of 80, which the 66-year-old says is “extraordinarily costly” to the NHS.
However, Mr Clark said he does not actually endorse the provocative statements on his website.
“I do not endorse these ideas,” he said later. “They are for the commission to consider how best to cut service levels if it is decided to do so.”
Mark Goldring, chief executive of learning disability charity Mencap, said: “Mencap is disgusted and horrified by the manifesto of Kent County Council Ukip candidate Geoffrey Clark who has proposed the compulsory abortion of any foetus with Down’s syndrome or spina bifida.
“Much has been written about the Paralympics this summer changing attitudes towards disabled people for the better. Yet in the very same year, a council candidate has proposed forced eugenics against disabled people.
“It is abhorrent that Geoffrey Clark sees disabled people solely as a burden when people with a learning disability lead full lives and make valuable contributions to their communities and families. We question if he is fit for public office.”
In his manifesto, Mr Clark also says same-sex marriage is an “abhorrence”. Population, immigration and threats to Britain’s green belt are the three issues closest to his heart.
A Ukip spokesman said: “This is a personal manifesto. There are large parts of what he says in it that we entirely disagree with. The people of Meopham will have their own opportunity to decide about them on Thursday.
“As in any party, our members have a range of views and opinions which may not always accord with party policy. Geoff makes clear that this is a personal manifesto, not a party document. Geoff is a hard-working local activist who would make an excellent councillor.”