Parents of children with Down’s Syndrome shared their heartbreaking story of trying to end an abortion law that “discriminates against disability.”
The #imwithheidi movement sparked a conversation about current legislation allowing women to abort their child until birth if the baby has Down syndrome.
Laws in the UK state that there is a 24 week deadline for abortions in babies without Down’s syndrome.
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Those who support the movement stress that they are not opposed to abortions, but are against current laws allowing further discrimination against children with disabilities.
Supporting the campaign, parents in Lancashire recalled ‘haunting’ memories of conversations they had with healthcare professionals and members of the public before the birth of their beloved children.
Leyland’s Tracy Seager says she was asked if she wanted to terminate her pregnancy after a 37-week scan suggested her child may be born with Down syndrome.
Although she is almost at term, Tracy says she has been given various reasons why she might not be able to cope with a child with the disease, but Tracy has decided that she will keep her baby.
âIt made me feel like her little life wasn’t worth living,â Tracy said. “They had already shown me a scan of his face and he was fully formed.
âWhat they said then still haunts me because he was a fully grown baby – he was real.
“It’s so upsetting that people think my little boy doesn’t have a life worth living when he does.”
Tracy now describes her three-year-old son Jacob as “an amazing boy whose life is just loving” and as proof that children with Down’s syndrome are valuable.
“This is nothing like what they imagined.” :She said
âYes, there are sad things and there are difficult times but it’s also amazing, not everything is negative and dark as it is described.
“Everyone always says how happy he is.”
Another mom recalled a time in her life when she was “disgusted” by being told to have a child with Down syndrome.
Christina Bowman from Cumbria was told by another parent on social media that she was ‘selfish’ for giving birth to her baby with Down’s syndrome.
While she believes she was one of the lucky ones not to have been offered an abortion while pregnant, Christina believes similar negative comments are being made because of misconceptions.
âParents are not receiving the right information, the balanced information to be able to make these choices. ” :She said
âIt’s not just about abortion, it’s about equality.
“These are people with Down’s syndrome with equal rights, even in the womb.”
While pregnant with her son Max, Christina had very little knowledge about Down’s syndrome and being constantly surrounded by negative thoughts, she was encouraged to believe that her child would be at a disadvantage for the rest of her life.
Christina said: âI cried – I was so scared of the future that I thought he will never get married or he will die young.
âNot all of these things are true for everyone.
âI would have just accepted that people have abortions because it is difficult to have a child with Down syndrome, but it is not as difficult as you think.
“I just know my son could have been fired until he was born and it makes me sick and scares me that I might not have known how beautiful my son is if I had done this.”
Now, at four years old, Max is more capable and happier than Christina would have thought when she was pregnant.
âHe brings us joy every day. :She said
“Our family is closer now since we have Max.”
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