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What do you think of Emmerdale’s Downs Syndrome abortion storyline? *contains spoilers MNHQ*

(205 Posts)
IntoP20 Fri 06-Nov-20 09:52:11

I don’t actually watch the programme, but just read a headline that explained two characters (Laurel and Jai) are going to make the decision to terminate their baby with Downs Syndrome.

Is this damaging to new parents /expectant parents and those with Downs Syndrome themselves? Or is this a positive move to reduce the stigma around women being able to make choices about their bodies?

OP’s posts: |
HBGKC Fri 06-Nov-20 12:07:35

It's currently legal in this country to abort a baby with Down's Syndrome up to birth.

I welcome any coverage that enables wider knowledge and discussion of this fact.

unmarkedbythat Fri 06-Nov-20 12:10:12

I'm pro choice which means I support the right of all women to choose and understand that my personal feelings about individual reasons for ToP are irrelevant. I am glad we have choice. I hope that is not threatened.

HBGKC Fri 06-Nov-20 12:17:47

"Is this damaging to new parents /expectant parents and those with Downs Syndrome themselves?"

To answer this part of your question - yes, I'd imagine it would be upsetting to people who have Down's Syndrome, and their loved ones, to see this kind of scenario. However, if it raises awareness of the issues involved, hopefully it will balance out.

Below is an interview with a teenage girl who has Down's, describing how this issue makes her feel. She's very articulate:

https://youtu.be/cRoZ_7UPn5c

EdwardCullensBiteOnTheSide Fri 06-Nov-20 12:39:22

Emmerdale already had similar to this where paddy and rhona had a little boy with down syndrome so it seems strange they're doing the subject again.

JanewaysBun Fri 06-Nov-20 13:08:32

Whilst individuals might feel upset it's important that we aren't just generally pro choice but show that exercising that choice is a valid and acceptable thing to do.

The girl in that video misunderstands. Anyone who "might" have been aborted when their DM was pg could feel sad but it's not about the foetus but the mother

I Haven't watched emmerdale since about 1995 though!

Muddybuddy Fri 06-Nov-20 13:16:14

JanewaysBun

Whilst individuals might feel upset it's important that we aren't just generally pro choice but show that exercising that choice is a valid and acceptable thing to do.

The girl in that video misunderstands. Anyone who "might" have been aborted when their DM was pg could feel sad but it's not about the foetus but the mother

I Haven't watched emmerdale since about 1995 though!

I don’t think the girl misunderstands. She’s talking from her point of view which I think she is entitled to without it being called a misunderstanding on her part. Completely understandable that she would feel upset at the thought of a baby with downs being aborted at anything up to 40 weeks

consideringachange Fri 06-Nov-20 13:19:22

Well I suppose it's realistic in the sense that most women who are told they are expecting a Down's Syndrome baby do now choose to terminate the pregnancy, though obviously not all do (and not all find out during the pregnancy).

unmarkedbythat Fri 06-Nov-20 13:19:30

She misses the point. It isn't about her. She was not aborted. Her feelings are valid but irrelevant to other women's decisions.

Bickles Fri 06-Nov-20 13:22:17

Anything that makes termination for medical reasons less of a stigma and more of a normal, valid (if heartbreaking) choice that a lot of people go through is a good thing IMO.

HBGKC Fri 06-Nov-20 13:26:49

"She misses the point. It isn't about her. She was not aborted."

hmm

So... it would be about her if she had been aborted due to a diagnosis of Downs..?

She puts a face to all the thousands of nameless, faceless 'foetuses' with Downs who ARE aborted every year.

Crunchymum Fri 06-Nov-20 13:48:52

consideringachange

Well I suppose it's realistic in the sense that most women who are told they are expecting a Down's Syndrome baby do now choose to terminate the pregnancy, though obviously not all do (and not all find out during the pregnancy).

Can I have your evidence that "most" women who are told their babies have DS, chose to abort?

GlummyMcGlummerson Fri 06-Nov-20 13:51:09

FFS, a woman's decision to exercise her moral and legal right to abortion has NO BEARING on any other child in the world. And nobody should have a bearing on a woman's right to choose.

It is not the responsibility of women to make other people feel good.

EdwardCullensBiteOnTheSide Fri 06-Nov-20 13:53:32

To be honest the thought of abortion at 40 weeks in my opinion is horrific and I can't believe it's legal.

Betty94 Fri 06-Nov-20 13:54:46

Personally I don't think it's anyone else's business why a person would choose to abort. I really doubt anyone would wait until they were 40 weeks in to have an abortion as by that point you'd still have to give birth and go through everything just to have a dead baby, not sure who that would appeal to but if that was the case then it's their choice.

People abort for various of reasons and that's that, it should be kept between them and their doctors really.

To be honest if a woman did want to abort due to the fact the baby had down syndrome then that's probably what's best for the potential child as I don't think they'd be willing to provide the care they needs and they may end up in the system anyway.

It's a personally choice, you don't have to agree with it but can't really stop anyone from doing it.

CommunistLegoBloc Fri 06-Nov-20 13:56:18

Women can have abortions for whatever reasons they deem to be valid for themselves. No other questions are necessary, unless you believe in forcing women to give birth.

Some people with Downs will be relatively independent. Lots will require care and support to a high level for their whole lives. With the majority of caring responsibilities falling to women (at the cost of their own careers, life independent of family etc) it's okay if they choose for that not to be the case for them. It's okay too if they choose to take on the role. It is for no one else to decide but the individual.

CommunistLegoBloc Fri 06-Nov-20 13:57:22

Also the situation would have to be pretty extreme for a woman to choose an abortion at 40 weeks. No one does that for a jolly.

GlummyMcGlummerson Fri 06-Nov-20 14:00:43

If you don't like the thought of an abortion at 40 weeks then don't have one.

As an aside, the number of late term abortions is negligible
.

vdbfamily Fri 06-Nov-20 14:03:16

I think that a person with Downs Syndrome is fully entitled to express a view on the current law. The law as it stands basically suggests that someone with DS would be better off not existing. It is not just about the woman who is pregnant. There is also a moral discussion which we should continue to have and not try and silence.

LindaEllen Fri 06-Nov-20 14:04:39

I think people think too much about storylines, in that they have to be educational, or that the shows are somehow a lesson in how we should live our lives. They're not. They tackle tough issues, but could come from both ways - i.e. aborting the baby, or living with the challenges that raising a disabled child brings. Both are stories in their own right.

It's not an endorsement of any decision. It's not saying babies with downs don't deserve to live. It's just a story, based on a situation that many parents face, and a difficult decision that people do - and must - make.

GlummyMcGlummerson Fri 06-Nov-20 14:04:48

vdbfamily

I think that a person with Downs Syndrome is fully entitled to express a view on the current law. The law as it stands basically suggests that someone with DS would be better off not existing. It is not just about the woman who is pregnant. There is also a moral discussion which we should continue to have and not try and silence.


What a ridiculous claim that people think it's better off they didn't exist.

Not everyone with DS is highly functioning and not everybody has the means or capacity to deal with a disabled child.

No one has any place in trying to limit the choices of women - not even disabled people.

HBGKC Fri 06-Nov-20 14:13:32

"To be honest if a woman did want to abort due to the fact the baby had down syndrome then that's probably what's best for the potential child as I don't think they'd be willing to provide the care they needs and they may end up in the system anyway."

My godparents adopted two girls with Down's syndrome (and two girls without). They are the most amazing couple I know, and I'm sure their children would disagree with you that they'd be better off dead than taking their chances with 'the system'.

I know of several other families who have adopted children with a wide range of disabilities. I also know several who have had their own children with Down's, but @Crunchymum I think they're in the minority.

@vdbfamily no, I think you'll find that no discussion is allowed. The bodily autonomy of the mother is The Only Relevant Moral Issue. She is the only person whom this issue affects: not the child, and certainly not the father.

Betty94 Fri 06-Nov-20 14:16:02

HBGKC

"To be honest if a woman did want to abort due to the fact the baby had down syndrome then that's probably what's best for the potential child as I don't think they'd be willing to provide the care they needs and they may end up in the system anyway."

My godparents adopted two girls with Down's syndrome (and two girls without). They are the most amazing couple I know, and I'm sure their children would disagree with you that they'd be better off dead than taking their chances with 'the system'.

I know of several other families who have adopted children with a wide range of disabilities. I also know several who have had their own children with Down's, but @Crunchymum I think they're in the minority.

@vdbfamily no, I think you'll find that no discussion is allowed. The bodily autonomy of the mother is The Only Relevant Moral Issue. She is the only person whom this issue affects: not the child, and certainly not the father.


And your god parents are amazing people, I would be interested to know the percentage of people that actually do adopt disabled children, as people have stated not everyone can accommodate disabled children and it's such a wide spectrum as some people with DS are high functioning where as others aren't.

Point still stands, it's nothing to do with anyone else why a woman chooses to have an abortion.

GlummyMcGlummerson Fri 06-Nov-20 14:29:54

The fact that a small number of people adopt disabled children is not nearly a good enough reason to bring the rights of abortions into question. Because it doesn't change the fact that there are far more disabled children waiting to be adopted than there are people willing to adopt. And restricting abortions will only o crease that number.

Poppyismyfavourite Fri 06-Nov-20 14:34:50

@Crunchymum
It's actually 90% of foetuses diagnosed prenatally, not 90% of the ones that actually have DS, but the point is still valid (that a large proportion are aborted):
www.thejournal.ie/factcheck-babies-abortion-3823611-Feb2018/

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