After Australian mom Toni Mitchell was told that her unborn son may have Down syndrome, she was handed a small piece of paper.
It was an appointment for an abortion – one that she had not asked for and quickly refused.
“In that moment they completely disallowed his life. They said he wasn’t worth living,” she told Australian government leaders Wednesday in Sydney, the Australian Associated Press reports.
Mitchell told the disability royal commission how her son Joshua has been discriminated against since he was in the womb. Her son is not alone. All across the world, parents of children with disabilities say they have been pressured to have abortions. Abortion rates suggest that many parents give into this pressuring.
Mitchell, of Toowoomba, Australia, said Joshua is 19 years old now and has Down syndrome and autism.
She said she was devastated when she first learned that something was wrong with him. It was in 2000 after having an ultrasound, according to the report. Mitchell said doctors told her that her unborn son had heart defects and likely Down syndrome, and they predicted that Joshua would die in the womb.
Here’s more from the report:
While Ms Mitchell was still crying the man said, “Here’s your appointment for a termination”, she said, and he gave her a piece of paper.
That moment set the tone for the rest of Joshy’s life, Ms Mitchell said. … Ms Mitchell said she threw the paper in the bin.
“That was the moment I had to start justifying my son’s right to live and to be treated and I had to start justifying his value to be alive,” she said.
They continued to pressure her throughout her pregnancy, telling her that Joshua would be a burden on her and on society, according to the report.
“They kept just judging us based on my decision to give him a chance at life,” Mitchell told the royal commission.
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After he was born, the discrimination continued. She said doctors did not always take his health problems seriously.
“(They would) send us home and never look any further,” she said.
Only after switching to private healthcare did things begin to change. Mitchell said she learned that doctors had not done extensive enough testing when Joshua was born. She said the private healthcare providers diagnosed him correctly and, in 2014, Joshua had a successful colorectal surgery.
Stories like the Mitchell family’s are common. The Prescott family in Oregon related a similar experience after their twin daughters showed signs of Down syndrome in the womb.
“Information on navigating their cardiac situation was dwarfed by the push for genetic testing and possible means of abortion,” their mother Rachel Prescott said. “I wanted to explain how far I was from desiring to end my pregnancy, but at that moment I could only sit in silence.”
She said six doctors all suggested that they have an abortion, even without knowing for certain their daughters’ health conditions. She and her husband refused, and today the girls are doing well.
Abortion has become a modern means of eugenics, an acceptable way to kill a child deemed less worthy of life. Earlier this month, the British pro-life group SPUC highlighted new government figures obtained by a member of Parliament showing the number of late-term abortions carried out on United Kingdom children with Down syndrome have doubled in the past 10 years.
Pro-life and disability rights advocates have been speaking out strongly against disability discrimination before birth. Some states also have passed laws to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities from abortion. However, the deadly trend continues.
A 2017 CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory abortion trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to CBS. Some put the rate as high as 90 percent in the U.S., but good statistics are not available.
LifeNews Note: File photo.