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LD Nursing and Abortion legislation.

27 replies

Meili04 · 09/10/2022 06:31

I'm a LD professional , I thoroughly love my job and advocating for my patients. I'm facing a dilemma at the moment , many of my colleagues are backing banning abortion after 24 weeks for DS. I absolutely support a woman's choice to choose to be a parent , the support systems in place for parents of children with LD is shocking. The Downs syndrome association tend to only present the best case scenarios not doubly incontinent with extreme behavioural challenges.
I feel I cannot comment on this without being labelled as heartless. I think the best course of action would be improving support systems for disabled children and adults without taking rights away from women.

Do any MNers have any words of wisdom? Pro choice is very dear to me.

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Zerogravity · 09/10/2022 06:33

I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you being pressured to support a ban? You are allowed to be pro choice.

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picklemewalnuts · 09/10/2022 07:17

It's another purity spiral- one of those situations where people who don't capitulate are painted as monsters.

If it's how to respond to campaigners that you're asking, I'd stick with
'oh it's so complicated! I think women need to make their own choices!'

It's not wrong to say babies with disabilities deserve a chance, and it's not wrong to say women should have a choice.

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DifficultBloodyWoman · 22/10/2022 00:46

It isn’t about DS or other learning disabilities.

It is about a woman’s right to choose. Women must have the right to make the decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. Women should be trusted to make the best decision they can for themselves, for their families, and for their children.

OP, it is very easy to head this off at the pass - support women, no matter what they choose, and make sure there is adequate support in place if and when they choose to continue with a trisomy pregnancy and the associated challenges.

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overtaxedunderling · 22/10/2022 01:05

This will always be a very emotive subject. Screening means very many fewer children being born with DS, which means in turn that there will be a shrinking population with less support.
The people that I know with DS are very loving and good company, but now that their life expectancy has greatly increased, their parents (particularly those who were older parents) are very worried about how their children will cope when they're gone.
This is one of the many issues in the 21st century that is poorly addressed because people adopt a fixed position rather than engaging in debate.

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JellySaurus · 22/10/2022 11:20

Pro-lifers are like vintage comic collectors: it's phenomenally valuable until it comes out of the wrapper. After that - not interested.

Let the voices be heard of the parents (and let's face it, it's usually the mothers) who haven't had an unbroken night's sleep, or a weekend's break, or an unbruised body, or paid enough attention to their other children, in 10-15-20 years.

It's all very well saying that some people with SEN lead full and fulfilling lives. But the reality for their families is that life with a child with complex SEN is tough. Very tough.

But, really, what it boils down to is whether women should have the right to choose what happens to their bodies and to their lives.

If it's how to respond to campaigners that you're asking, I'd stick with
'oh it's so complicated! I think women need to make their own choices!'

It's not wrong to say babies with disabilities deserve a chance, and it's not wrong to say women should have a choice.


This is an acceptable response. Though I think I would not say "It's so complicated". The only person it is complicated for is the pregnant woman (and, possibly, her OH).

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SickofSnowflakes · 26/10/2022 01:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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underneaththeash · 26/10/2022 01:59

@SickofSnowflakes you obviously have quality of life, but lots of secretly disabled people and their families do not.
I grew up with a severely disabled brother who screamed for the majority of his short life and nearly broke my parents. No human should have to go through that.

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underneaththeash · 26/10/2022 02:00

I don’t think though - that you should be aborting babies who are near term.

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SickofSnowflakes · 26/10/2022 02:17

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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MrsTerryPratchett · 26/10/2022 02:25

I trust any woman to make a decision about her own body more than I trust anyone else to do it. I distrust men (I assume you are a man) who want to tell women the decisions they make are wrong.

You want to force unwilling women to give birth, one of the most dangerous things a woman can do. It's essentially torture.

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Itisbetter · 26/10/2022 02:28

Let the voices be heard of the parents (and let's face it, it's usually the mothers) who haven't had an unbroken night's sleep, or a weekend's break, or an unbruised body, or paid enough attention to their other children, in 10-15-20 years.

It's all very well saying that some people with SEN lead full and fulfilling lives. But the reality for their families is that life with a child with complex SEN is tough. Very tough.

My life is not so tough that I would undo it. Im fact it is lovely if exhausting. What is miserable is the end. There is no good exit for me. If my child dies first I must live through that grief and if he goes second he must. The idea of aborting third trimester babies makes me feel horrified. I believe vanishing few mothers make those decisions lightly and they are to be pitied not vilified. I do get very tired of people telling me how unliveable our life is though. The vast majority of the difficulties are made by lack of access to education health and community not by the disability itself.

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Chloefairydust · 26/10/2022 03:02

It’s a tough one, there’s no easy answers on this topic. I can see both sides of the argument.

I know some people with mild disabilities can still live a meaningful life and be happy.

However some babies might be born so poorly that they don’t have that quality of life. They may live a life of suffering and require care from their parents their whole life. Or the baby might even have complications that mean they won’t live long.

And should a woman have the right to choose whether she wants to spend her whole life caring for a disabled child who might not have any quality of life?

I think it’s scary territory when we start taking away womens rights to abortion. We are talking about forced birth here. It’s a slippery slope when those rights start to be eroded. Just look at what’s going on in parts of America at the moment.

I think we need to trust women to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies and I really don’t think any woman takes the option of abortion lightly. She will have good reason for choosing that option, she knows her own circumstances.

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Leafblow · 26/10/2022 03:24

At a certain point I don't think it is just about the womans right to choose.
I am pro choice, nobody should be made to have a child or a pregnancy they dont want.

But why is it okay for there to be a different cut off age for aborting a foetus with down syndrome.
If you want to make the abortion limit for all pregnancies higher- or remove the limit altogether, thats fine and that supports a womans right to have or not have that baby, all the way up to birth.
But if you think that should only apply to babies with down syndrome thats not womans choice thats just deciding disabled lives are not worth the same respect and right to life as non disabled life.

The argument that its should be a womans choice even when the baby is viable or at term is a valid one- even if its a difficult one to talk about and for people to accept. But if you want it for cases of down syndrome then it should apply for all babies regardless of disability, otherwise you are saying women should have a choice in having a child with down syndrome but should be forced to carry a unaffected baby.

But that is not what the ban is asking- they just want equality- if people are accepting the 24 week limit for non down syndrome pregnancies- then they should accept it for pregnancies with down syndrome. If you want a higher limit for abortions for all, then fight for that- but this fight is for equal right to life and respecting that a person with down syndrome should not be discriminated against even before they are born.

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DifficultBloodyWoman · 26/10/2022 03:36

SickOfSnowflakes sent me the following trolling PM.

You women think you can turn equality and and off if and when it suits. Any women who aborts because of learning disabilities not only is the scum of the Earth, and a Nazi advocate, but deserves kids with much worse conditions. If it is ok to abort for that then it is ok to abort because of a baby being female, gay or because of race.

I have reported this to MNHQ and respectfully request that genuine posters allow MNHQ to act according and, in the meantime, please don’t feed the trolls!

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MrsTerryPratchett · 26/10/2022 05:06

DifficultBloodyWoman · 26/10/2022 03:36

SickOfSnowflakes sent me the following trolling PM.

You women think you can turn equality and and off if and when it suits. Any women who aborts because of learning disabilities not only is the scum of the Earth, and a Nazi advocate, but deserves kids with much worse conditions. If it is ok to abort for that then it is ok to abort because of a baby being female, gay or because of race.

I have reported this to MNHQ and respectfully request that genuine posters allow MNHQ to act according and, in the meantime, please don’t feed the trolls!

Vile. Sorry that happened.

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DrMarciaFieldstone · 26/10/2022 05:19

It’s the woman’s right to choose, for me. No ifs, no buts.

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JellySaurus · 26/10/2022 08:24

I do get very tired of people telling me how unliveable our life is though. The vast majority of the difficulties are made by lack of access to education health and community not by the disability itself.

I apologise if my post offended. I appreciate that I do not live your life.

I find late-term abortion very difficult to accept in the case of a potentially viable foetus. I suspect most women do, as the proportion of abortions that take place after 20w is minute - generally the result of major problems picked up at the anomaly scan (1% at 20w, 0.1% at +24w https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2021/abortion-statistics-england-and-wales-20211*).

This tiny number of women must retain that freedom to choose that every other pregnant woman has.

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Thelnebriati · 26/10/2022 10:46

If you are unable to use the standard arguments because of the situation you are in, make another;
I don't support a ban on abortion after 24 weeks for DS because its always possible for comorbidities to exist. Imagine being put into a situation where you are unable to abort a foetus with one health condition, because it has another, protected condition. Its absolutely draconian.

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Leafblow · 26/10/2022 13:54

Thelnebriati · 26/10/2022 10:46

If you are unable to use the standard arguments because of the situation you are in, make another;
I don't support a ban on abortion after 24 weeks for DS because its always possible for comorbidities to exist. Imagine being put into a situation where you are unable to abort a foetus with one health condition, because it has another, protected condition. Its absolutely draconian.

@TheInebriati Thats not what this is about. That is not what the ban means.

If the ban were to go through it would just remove down syndrome as a valid reason for an abortion past 24 weeks.
If the foetus had another comorbid anomaly, one that would otherwise qualify for a late term abortion then the abortion would still be granted. Same as if their was risk to the mothers life or any of the other reasons a late stage abortion is granted.

Its not a ban to make aborting a foetus with down syndrome impossible. That would still be possible before 24 weeks just like a foetus without down syndrome.

It just means that foetuses with down syndrome are given the same right as a foetus without down syndrome- and this includes the possibility of late stage abortion if it is medically necesssary.

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flamingogold · 26/10/2022 14:01

It might be intended to only apply to Downs Syndrome, but the mission creep will be to target any other issues that can be identified before 24 weeks.

This is actually more likely to put pressure on people to abort. If parents are told that their foetus has DS and they have to make a decision in time to abort before 24 weeks, they won't necessarily wait and have the additional scans for heart problems particularly.

Anything where there is a clock ticking while people are trying to get information and make heartbreakingly difficult decisions will push more weight into getting the decision over with.

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Thelnebriati · 26/10/2022 15:11

@Leafblow OP's problem is 'how to talk to her colleagues' who do support the proposal and that was the question I was trying to answer. If you can't use logic, use a different argument to shut the convo down.

I'm not actually trying to fix issues with the proposal; I don't support it at all. I agree that it will be used as mission creep in a step towards a complete ban.
You believe that it won't affect cases involving other conditions; I disagree. Unless that is specifically coded into the legislation it just won't work that way. It never does. Doctors will be confused about whether they will be prosecuted or not and err on the die of caution, as they do in countries where abortion is banned unless the life of the mother is at risk and women still die because no one will abort 'too early'.

I don't support DS being made a protected characteristic in this way. Especially not in a country that has decimated support for mothers, parents of disabled children, disabled adults and healthcare. But OP isn't really in a position to use any of those arguments at work, it could affect her job.

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FriedasCarLoad · 26/10/2022 15:23

Pro-lifers are like vintage comic collectors: it's phenomenally valuable until it comes out of the wrapper. After that - not interested

Do you actually know many pro-lifers?

If I think of the people in my church, all of whom are pro-life:

One family fosters children.
Two families are very involved with the food bank.
Three families run a baby/toddler group and through this meet and then support (usually) mothers who are struggling.
One family supports adults with disabilities.
The other three households have disabled people in them who need a lot of care. They're supported by the church.
I suspect every family has supported the food bank and the baby bank.

I understand why people strictly disagree with pro life views, but get so fed up of hearing lies about what they do and don't do. In my experience they nearly all do an awful lot to help others. My current (very small) church is typical of other churches I've been a part of, in that sense.

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Thelnebriati · 26/10/2022 15:28

Stop and ask yourself why so many women, families and disabled people need that support in the first place. No one should have to rely on the whims of charity for an absolute basic need.

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FriedasCarLoad · 26/10/2022 15:40

No. But their basic needs should be better funded by the government (eg higher rates for PIP, Carers Allowance, UC etc as well as non-financial support).

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Leafblow · 26/10/2022 15:44

Thelnebriati · 26/10/2022 15:11

@Leafblow OP's problem is 'how to talk to her colleagues' who do support the proposal and that was the question I was trying to answer. If you can't use logic, use a different argument to shut the convo down.

I'm not actually trying to fix issues with the proposal; I don't support it at all. I agree that it will be used as mission creep in a step towards a complete ban.
You believe that it won't affect cases involving other conditions; I disagree. Unless that is specifically coded into the legislation it just won't work that way. It never does. Doctors will be confused about whether they will be prosecuted or not and err on the die of caution, as they do in countries where abortion is banned unless the life of the mother is at risk and women still die because no one will abort 'too early'.

I don't support DS being made a protected characteristic in this way. Especially not in a country that has decimated support for mothers, parents of disabled children, disabled adults and healthcare. But OP isn't really in a position to use any of those arguments at work, it could affect her job.

I got that, its just OP works in LD services, possibly as an LD nurse going on the title? All I meant was that because the argument you gave as a way to shut the conversation down was innacurate, using it in a conversation with her colleagues, who are possibly medical professionals, would not help her get any point across.
It would only make OP seem uninformed on the subject.
OP is entitled to her opinions on the topic, It is a perfectly valid stance and I agree about the complete lack of support for families; but it won't help at work to be trying to shut down conversations with false information and speculation. The legislation will not be a ban on abortions for foetuses with down syndrome who have a comorbid incompatibility with life or other cause that would warrant a late stage abortion. It is a ban on using down syndrome alone as a reason for a late stage abortion, that isn't confusing.

OP has a valid point of view, but made up facts are not going to help when talking to collegues.

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