If Lorraine Buckmaster had listened to her doctors, her family would have had a lot less joy in life.
Six years ago, the British mom refused to abort her unborn son Jaxon because he might have Down syndrome. She recently told the BBC that Jaxon is the “little comedian” of the family, and they expect he may become an entertainer someday.
But, like so many other families, the Buckmasters experience discrimination against their son before he was born.
Lorraine said she was 45 years old when she became pregnant with Jaxon, and, because of her age, she was at a higher risk of carrying a baby with Down syndrome.
According to the report:
The sonographer explained that if the baby showed markers of the condition, the next step would be an amniocentesis, a test that involves a small chance of miscarriage.
“I said no, we weren’t interested, partly because we had lost a baby the year before. His response was quite aggressive and he said ‘women like you, they make me sick. Why take an exam if you are not going to do something about it?’”
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A few weeks later, Lorraine said they received a call confirming that Jaxon had a 20-percent risk of Down syndrome. She said she and her husband decided not to undergo any more testing, because they knew they would choose life no matter what the results would be.
Her doctors and midwives were not supportive, though. She told the BBC, “They would only give me support if I chose the abortion option, which is what they assumed, but when I said I wanted to stay with Jaxon they lost interest.”
Jaxon was diagnosed with the chromosomal disorder when he was born.
Six years later, his parents said he is doing well, attending school, interacting with his siblings and classmates and performing with a local theater group, according to the report.
“It takes him longer to get to the next stage, but we celebrate it a lot more because it is a great achievement for him,” his mother said. “We know that he will always need support. But we really believe that he will lead a full life. He is a showman, a true entertainer and we think he will end up on stage.”
Down syndrome discrimination is a problem across the world, and it begins before birth.
Another mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the time of her baby’s birth, simply because she had Down syndrome. In another case, a mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.
A recent study highlighted in Scientific American found evidence that families of children with Down syndrome often face negative, biased counseling and pressure to have abortions.
The abortion rates for unborn babies with Down syndrome are extremely high. Several years ago, a CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory 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 UK and 67 percent in the United States.