In 2014, the British government reported 12 late-term unborn babies were aborted simply because they had Down syndrome.
This disturbing statistic is prompting one mother of a boy with the condition to put a stop to the deadly, discriminatory practice.
Sarah Roberts from Guildford, England, is a mother of three who is trying to convince others that the lives of those with Down syndrome have value. Roberts’ son Oscar has the genetic disorder.
She tells Eagle radio: “A lot of the children we hang around with are typical children. They don’t necessarily notice any differences yet but I’m sure as time goes on they will. But I think it’s going to be a benefit to them to have Oscar in their lives, and enrich it … I think it’s going to be a benefit to Alfie (2 years old) and Flo (6 months old), to have Oscar in their lives.”
The urgency of her message is increasing given that pregnant women in the UK are now able to get a more accurate prenatal screening test for Down syndrome that detects tiny fragments of the baby’s DNA in the mother’s blood. Pro-life advocates are worried that this will increase abortions of unborn babies with Down syndrome.
That’s why Roberts is sharing a petition that explains how increased medical capabilities are helping people with Down syndrome to live long, healthy lives. In fact, as previously reported on LifeNews, 99 percent of people with Down syndrome say they are happy in their lives, but 90 percent of Down syndrome babies are killed by abortion before they get much of a chance to live.
“More and more people with Down Syndrome are living independently with varying degree of support and in paid or voluntary work. Most adults with Down Syndrome can read and write,” according to the petition.
British law does not protect Down syndrome babies from abortion. The country bans most abortions after 24 weeks, but the 1967 Abortion Act states that abortion after 24 weeks is allowable if “There is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.”
This wording has been used to justify extremely late-term abortions for babies with Down syndrome, a reality that the petitioners are aiming to change by calling for clarified guidelines that protect those with the condition. The petitioners believe that the current law sends a bad message to parents and society in general that babies with Down syndrome suffer and struggle with serious handicaps.
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Roberts explains what happened to her before Oscar was born: “The first thing someone said to me was ‘I’m sorry, we suspect your baby has Down’s syndrome. And to me, that message just made me panic. If the medical professionals that were delivering the news, the consultants, the midwives, everybody got on board, and we could change the perception. If they weren’t so fearful, then I think as a country we wouldn’t be so fearful.”
Roberts writes on her blog “Don’t Be Sorry,” which can be viewed here, about her experiences raising Oscar and dealing with how people perceive him. The home page of her blog includes a short biography of his life:
“This is Oscar. He’s my son. He also happens to have Down syndrome. I know I am only one voice but I figure it’s time to diminish any misconceptions or prejudices about Down syndrome that we might have…. And when you look at this face, how could anyone be sad to have him as a part of their life? I am officially the luckiest mummy in the world.”
The petition to stop late-term abortions of babies with Down syndrome in England has a goal of 10,000 signatures and can be signed here.