A newspaper columnist whose daughter has Down Syndrome says the world would not be a better place without people like her, as the Government considers a new screening test.
Dominic Lawson says far from the “gloomy prognoses” given by doctors at her birth, his daughter, Domenica, often says she loves her life.
The concerns centre on a new non-invasive test that campaigners say will lead to more abortions of children with Down Syndrome.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Lawson said there was a “hidden agenda” behind the test, “which can properly be described as state-sponsored eugenics”.
He explained his own experience of being told by one prominent agony aunt that society “would have to bear the burden of the ‘misery’ of our daughter’s life”.
Noting that the test on its own would not mean the abortion of disabled people without the knowledge of their parents, he nonetheless said there was pressure to ‘do the responsible thing’.
Lawson quoted one person who had been repeatedly told by doctors that abortion for her daughter with Down’s was the best option.
He also explained that while he used to be frustrated by shallow comments about the constant happiness of people with Down’s, he now embraces it.
He said: “Of course, Domenica has her moods, as we all do. But I am constantly energised by her own sheer enthusiasm for life, not to mention her unfailing ability to see the comic side of almost everything.”
The newspaper columnist asked whether there is a campaign to “rid the world of people with Down’s”.
But he added: “It would still occur with exactly the same frequency among unborn children: it is just that they will not be allowed to emerge to join the rest of humanity.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Conservative MP Nigel Evans asked if David Cameron would “look at ways of protecting those with Down’s syndrome and ensuring that they will not be simply screened out?”
‘Find a way through’
The Prime Minister replied that the issue was “very important” and that there were “moral and ethical issues that need to be considered”.
However, he added, “we also have to respect the view that women want to have screening and testing about the health of their children”.
Mr Cameron concluded by saying the Health Secretary will have to ‘find a way through this in the right way’.