Treat us as human beings, not birth defects, Down’s campaigners tell UN

Our lives are valuable and should not be snuffed out in the womb, two people with Down’s syndrome have told a meeting at the United Nations.

Charlotte Fien and Frank Stephens warned of the threat of eugenics as they issued a plea to be regarded as people, not birth defects.

Fien called on the UN to challenge the UK over abortion for Down’s syndrome – currently women can abort an unborn child with the condition up until birth.


Speaking at the pro-life event, Fien, who hails from London, warned: “A mother’s womb is the most dangerous place for babies with Down syndrome.

“You can try to kill off everyone with Down syndrome by using abortion, but you won’t be any closer to a perfect society.

“You will just be closer to a cruel heartless one.”

Not a syndrome

Frank Stephens previously hit the headlines when a speech he gave to the US Congress went viral.

At the UN, he thundered: “I am a man. See me as a human being, not a birth defect, not a syndrome. I don’t need to be eradicated. I don’t need to be cured. I need to be loved, valued, educated and, sometimes, helped”.

Stephens, from the USA, described people with Down’s as ‘canaries in the eugenics coal mine’. Referencing countries with high levels of Down’s abortion, he asked: “How would the world react if a nation proclaimed that it would use genomic testing to make itself ‘Unpopular ethnic minority free’ by 2030?”

The event was organised to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day, by groups including the Jerome Lejeune Foundation.

Choose Life

A separate video released to raise awareness of Down’s recently prompted two couples to choose life for their unborn babies.

Jade Lennon said her five year old daughter Chloe, who featured in the video, “is just like any other five-year-old and it is heart-breaking when people take one look at her and assume she is not intelligent and she is not capable”.

After the video went viral an expectant mother contacted Jade to say she and her partner had changed their minds about abortion, while another couple said the video had eased their fears.

Related Resources