The government has recently approved a new law that allows new screening in the womb, to encourage women whose babies are diagnosed with Down syndrome, to have an abortion (90% do already). Down Syndrome is not a disease, it’s just a condition that makes people look different, and be a bit slower to learn. This is not a condition to threaten the life of a child or mother, and would create a dangerous precedent in society. The tests themselves also carry a risk of miscarriage. If the law became the norm, it may create a society where no baby with Down Syndrome would ever be born, which many worry is sort of going into ‘ethnic’ cleansing’ territory.
What having a Down syndrome child isn’t (and I feel very strongly about this) is a tragedy. The picture people have of Down Syndrome is very outdated, based on the Wikipedia entry, a list of potential capabilities. But actually living with someone who has Down Syndrome is fantastic. It’s like living in a sitcom, a lot of the time. We go on holiday and Olly disappears on the baggage carousel. Where’s my child? And there is he coming round. It’s funny! Sally Phillips (mother and actress)
Down Syndrome is a condition when a child is born with an extra chromosome. It is not usually inherited (although adults with Down Syndrome have more chance of passing it on). Although the percentage is slightly higher in older parents, most babies with Down’s Syndrome are born to mothers under 35. The condition affects around 1 in 1000 babies, and most people lead healthy and happy lives, to 50 or 60 and beyond.