An Australian couple who chose life for their unborn child, after she was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, have criticised doctors who repeatedly urged them to have an abortion.
Mr and Mrs Simpkins spoke out on an Australian TV show, which included several mothers sharing how they were pressurised to abort their children with Down’s syndrome.
Andrew Simpkins said the outcome of having a child with Down’s is made out to be “so sad and awful that you wouldn’t want to go through with it”.
He added that with most of the obstetricians he and his wife saw, abortion “always came up in one way or another”.
Kathleen Simpkins shared how a doctor was visibly ‘shaking’ when he gave their daughter’s diagnosis.
She told the TV show: ‘He said, “I’m so glad you came back, I’ve been trying to get hold of you. You had an abnormal scan and your window for termination is closing”.
The couple rejected doctors’ advice and instead chose life for their daughter Elva.
‘Very poor manner’
A poll of mothers who gave birth to children with Down’s in Australia, found that 60 per cent said the diagnosis was delivered in a “poor” or “very poor manner” and used “negative language.”
The poll also found that two thirds of women who rejected abortion were offered it again after they declined.
One fifth said they were offered abortion on multiple occasions.
Earlier this year, a British actress shared her experiences as a mother of a child with Down’s syndrome in a TV documentary titled ‘A World Without Down’s Syndrome?’
Sally Phillips presented the documentary on BBC Two in which she tackled misconceptions about the condition and explored the reality of life with a Down’s syndrome child.
“I have heard many stories of women being pressurised by medical professionals to screen, and even to terminate,” Phillips said.
It is currently legal in the UK for a foetus with a disability to be aborted up until birth. One in every 1,000 babies in the UK is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and in England and Wales, 90 per cent of unborn babies diagnosed with the condition are aborted.