The discrimination we are up against. Research shows:
- Up to 70% of parents with learning disabilities have our children removed.
- Mothers with invisible or unrecognised conditions such as autism, Ehlers-Danlos or ME
also suffer disproportionate removal of our children, who may also have the same
- Disabled mothers and disabled expectant mothers are disproportionately investigated by
social services. Social services say that children MAY suffer “future harm” because they
will become carers for their mothers. They use this as a reason to take children into care!
- Those of us who are also mothers of colour and immigrant mothers are targeted.
Disability and ill-health is greater among mothers of colour due to health inequality and
discrimination in healthcare.
- Disabled children are over-represented in the care system, and are five times more
likely to be in a residential home than non-disabled children.
Disabled women are twice as likely to suffer domestic violence as non-disabled women. In the family court, disabled mothers who suffered domestic violence face double discrimination as “unfit mothers” blamed for not protecting children or blamed for refusing the father contact with the children (“parental alienation”), and more likely to lose custody to the violent father.
Our Campaign is for non-mothers too. Motherhood is a painful topic for disabled mothers who have had children taken, and can be for non-mothers too. Some disabled women have suffered forced sterilisation and forced contraception. Some disabled women told us that our campaign is nothing to do with them — but the reason is, they never had children as the barriers seemed overwhelming — and are overwhelming. Some said they had an abortion despite wishing to have a family. One woman saw no point continuing with pregnancy as Social Services would see her mental health diagnosis on file and immediately take the baby away.
We are campaigning so all disabled women have the choice to start a family and be supported.