Disabled Parent's Political Union was formed by a disabled mother in response to 20 years of discrimination in her parenting role.
When she became a mother, she assumed she had equal rights to other mothers but she quickly found that she was wrong. She encountered prejudism at every stage from the midwives who refused to let her leave the hospital with her own baby until they had seen her change a nappy, to the family courts who considered hip replacement surgery as a reason to be concerned about 'the welfare of a child'.
Twice during the course of her parenting life, she attempted to sue her local county council for discrimination. In one case, it was determined by the ombudsman in a preliminary report that she had encountered prejudism. Despite this, he ruled in favour of the council.
She discovered that there is no section on disabled parenting rights in the Equality Act 2010 which means that although disabled people are allowed equal access to work, education and public buildings, we are not legally entitled to found a family without interference from the state, and in many cases, particularly for mentally ill or intellectual disabilities, children are taken into care.
In the case of divorce, many physically disabled parents will lose custody of the child to the non-disabled or less disabled parent because disability is incorrectly viewed as an impediment to good parenting.
She wrote to 10 Downing Street to ask for a disabled parenting section to be placed in the Equality Act and was told that although they admitted there was no specific provision, they did not intend to make any provision. Her MP's ignored her and major disability charities refused to launch a campaign for equality in parenting despite the fact that they included other areas in their campaigns.
After securing the support of one MP, letters to parliament gleaned an unsatisfactory response. A year or so later she was still waiting for a response regarding an amendment to the act. Due to the lack of interest the British government has shown in protecting the rights of disabled parents and their children, she decided to form the UK's first disabled parenting political pressure group, dedicated to amending the equality act so that families with disabilities can stay together and disabled parents can enjoy the freedom to make their own choices without interogation in the same way that other parents can.
It is her hope that the disabled children who will be tomorrows disabled parents will have a brighter future.
The Disabled Parent's Political Union intend to form demonstrations and lobby the government until equal rights in parenting are secured for ALL minority groups.
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