NZ Herald 9 August 2018
Family First Comment: “Iceland has reached a near-100 per cent termination rate, while last year only four births with Down syndrome were recorded in Denmark. Before the New Zealand medical community quietly eliminates one section of our society, it is vital for our country to have a national debate on the value we put on people with Down syndrome, or any other disability that can be screened.”
Having a daughter with Down syndrome is possibly the best thing that has happened to our family — as well as the most challenging.
Watching Bella flourish for the past 16 years, we know that living with Down syndrome is not a curse or punishment, but a terrific, enriching adventure filled with joy and surprises, as well as the odd road bump.
Last week’s storylines on Shortland Street created a storm in parts of the Down syndrome community because they depict old-fashioned, ignorant ideas around the disability and have nothing to do with our day-to-day experiences in a modern, inclusive New Zealand society.
Bella’s birth was a shock and surprise to the family because we had decided not to have any pre-natal screening test.
My wife and her family took a while to come to terms with this new reality, but I had grown up with an uncle with Down syndrome and thought I knew what to expect.
What I did not realise back in 2001 was the incredible impact our wonderful, multi-talented, sociable and loving daughter would have on our entire wider community.
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