Around the world people are marking World Down Syndrome Day by raising awareness of what Down Syndrome is and how people living with it play a “vital role in our lives and communities”.
This year, Down Syndrome International are seeking to “show the world” how people with the condition “live and participate in the community alongside family, friends, peers and the public”.
Tragically, recent figures show that on average 92 per cent of babies diagnosed before birth with Down Syndrome in England and Wales are aborted each year.
Speaking for the Pro-Life Alliance, Josephine Quintavalle said:
“Today we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. Tomorrow we roll up our sleeves and renew our opposition to all forms of discrimination, especially those taking place in the womb.”
In the lead-up to World Down Syndrome Day, several parents came forward to share their experiences of living with children who have the condition.
Tomorrow we… renew our opposition to all forms of discriminationJosephine Quintavalle
Jodi Parry spoke of her shock when, after giving birth to identical twin girls, a doctor took her aside and apologised to her.
In a blog post titled “To the doctor who told us, ‘I’m sorry'”, she wrote: “To this day, I would love to ask that doctor, ‘what are you sorry for?’ There’s nothing to be sorry about, it’s just a different journey. Our girls bring us so much joy.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post, father of two Steve Palmer talked frankly about how other children have helped put things into perspective and show he is an equal.
“I once asked Stan’s cousin Eve about what it was like when Stan was born. She replied: ‘Well, we were all excited because a baby had been born and we didn’t know why all the adults were going around crying.’
“Putting it like that makes you see how off-key your priorities were. To the children Stan is just Stan, they can’t imagine him being any other way and actually now neither can we.”
Campaigner and channel swimmer Karen Gaffney, who has Down Syndrome, has spoken inspiringly about the huge contribution people with the condition can make to society.
And last month, the BBC covered the story of 22-year-old Hannah Sampson, who teaches dance classes and is reckoned to be one of “only a handful” of dance teachers in the UK with Down Syndrome.
Figures from The National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register show that between 1989 and 2013, an average of 92 per cent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are killed in the womb every year.
In Great Britain abortion is allowed up to term if the baby has a disability.
You can tweet your support for World Down Syndrome Day by using the hashtags #HowDoYouSeeMe and #WDSD16