Cleft palate group uses funds to stop abortion decisions

The Cleft Lip and Palate Association will use a new Community Fund grant to launch a public education programme to encourage parents not to abort foetuses that have the condition.

The announcement follows news last week that Church of England curate Joanna Jepson, who was born with facial deformities, has won the right to legally challenge the late abortion of a foetus with a cleft palate.

Clapa was awarded £196,940 in the Community Fund's latest round of strategic grants, and will use part of the sum to fund the education programme, which is expected to start in 2004.

"We do not consider a cleft to be a major disability," said Gareth Davies, chief executive at Clapa. "We believe that if the general public had a greater knowledge of the condition, the option of termination might not be considered."

The charity will use the remaining money to appoint a volunteer co-ordinator in order to provide a better service to affected families.

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