Parents of kids with Down’s syndrome are the lucky few

Oct 12, 2019 by

by Sally Phillips, Metro:

This week a mother successfully sued the NHS in the high court for failing to identify that her baby had Down’s syndrome.

Ms Mordel said it would have been better if her baby did not exist than ‘suffer as disabled people suffer’, so had the Down’s syndrome been confirmed, she would have terminated her child.

My eldest son, Olly, has the same genetic make-up as the child at the centre of this case, yet everything about it feels alien to me.

[…] I’m nervous the high court case this week will mean medics revert to repeatedly offering terminations on diagnosis of Down’s syndrome, even when mothers have clearly refused, and inadvertently put pressure on them to terminate. Hard to carry a baby you don’t want, worse to be strong-armed into to terminating.

I’ve spoken to women traumatised by being asked at every appointment, ‘are you sure?’. Women who have to justify how they would ‘cope’ with a baby with a learning disability.

Women who have been told, during labour, ‘it’s not too late to terminate’. Pregnant women left with PTSD after surgical termination was described to them in detail, even though they had been clear they wanted their baby. Women shouldn’t be offered a termination along with a positive test result for Down’s syndrome. I’m not sure there should even be a test. The world has moved on.

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