Parents report how they were pressured to abort their child with Down syndrome

By Sarah Terzo

In an Australian documentary, couples were interviewed about how medical providers pressured them when their babies were diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome.

Kathleen Simpkins has a daughter with Down syndrome. She says that when the tests came back positive for Down syndrome, the doctor tried frantically to get a hold of her. She says of the doctor:

“I think he might even have been shaking when he said to me, “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.”

Kathleen and her husband had decided before the test that they would not abort if the baby had Down syndrome. Andrew, the baby’s father, said that had they not made the decision in advance, it would have been hard to resist the pressure to abort:

“I can imagine that with the amount of negative advice we were given, that it would be hard to go through with the pregnancy, because it’s just so negative. The outcome is shown to be so sad and awful that you wouldn’t want to go through with it. I’d say most of the obstetricians that we saw, they – it [abortion] always came up in one way or another…

It’s one of those mind-blowing things that you can’t really believe it’s real, you can’t believe that these children really are being looked at as almost like a byproduct.”

Kathleen said:

“Both the way the doctors talk about Down syndrome and the way the testing itself is portrayed, it’s made out to be a way to get rid of Down syndrome. Like, we can get rid of Down syndrome the way we can get rid of cancer. It’s a great thing. But there’s a big difference between cancer and Down syndrome. Cancer’s something that happens to somebody. Down syndrome’s a part of who somebody is.”

At this point she broke down in tears.

Doctors continued to recommend abortion even after the Simpkins told them they didn’t want to abort. Their daughter is now a toddler.

Australian show Lateline with Barbara Miller.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.