Girl with Down’s asks UN conference: ‘Why all this testing?’

A 17-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome has challenged policymakers over tests used to screen out people with the condition.

Kathleen Humberstone said she loves life and simply having the condition was no reason not to exist.

Her mother Denise also spoke out, daring people promoting Down’s tests to tell Kathleen that “her life is less valuable than their own”.

NHS testing

The UK Government has given the go-ahead to Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), which will be rolled out across the NHS in 2018.

NIPT is a blood test which accurately predicts whether or not an unborn child has a chromosomal condition, such as Down’s.

Speaking at a conference event at the United Nations in Geneva ahead of World Down’s Syndrome Day last Tuesday, Kathleen made clear that Down’s should not be ‘screened out’.

‘I love my life’

“I love to sing, I love to dance, and I started playing tennis”, she added.

“I hope everybody loves me. I have Down syndrome. Yes. Is that so wrong?

“So, why all this testing? Why?

My name is Kathleen Humberstone and I love my life!”


Her mother told ADF International – a religious liberty group involved in hosting the event – that the testing regime was seriously misguided.

“I dare anyone currently promoting this screening to meet with adults with Down Syndrome like my daughter Kathleen.

“I dare them to look her in the eye and tell her straight to her face that her life is less valuable than their own”.

Christian welcome

ADF’s Rubén Navarro said: “Sadly, in 2017 the diagnosis of Down Syndrome is becoming a death sentence.

“The targeting and even killing of people because they ‘differ’ is nothing other than eugenics.”

On World Down’s Syndrome Day, writer John Knight highlighted a “chasm” between the experience of living with the condition and the public’s perception of it, which “results in horrible things”.

Writing on the Desiring God website, he said: “As Christians, we already have a reason to welcome people with Down syndrome into our lives and our churches: God made them (and everyone else) in his image, for his glory.”

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