Reaction stuns Down Syndrome mother

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 18:13 19/05/2012
TARANAKI DAILY NEWS ONLINE

Meet mother Suzy Dymock and her son Bill Gavin who has Down syndrome.

Suzy Dymock and her son Bill Gavin
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ
MOTHER AND SON: Protester Suzy Dymock and her son Bill Gavin, 17, who has Down syndrome.

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Suzy Dymock is astounded at the reaction to a protest by parents of Down syndrome children.

On Tuesday night Mrs Dymock and a group of five other parents handed out pamphlets to doctors and midwives attending Down syndrome screening training, and Mrs Dymock was asked to leave the meeting.

"Why did I have to leave if they've got nothing to hide?" she asked.

Mrs Dymock has been campaigning against antenatal screening for Down syndrome since her son, Bill Gavin, was born with the condition 17 years ago.

"When I was pregnant I really was being pressured to abort him," she said.

She said that when antenatal screening for Down syndrome often led parents to terminate their pregnancies it was a form of discrimination.

"Why is it OK to discriminate against Downs? It's a huge discrimination, you can't even get born," she said.

Mrs Dymock said she had been surprised at the volume of comments a story on the Taranaki Daily News website had received – many in support of her protest.

"That's been the nice thing, to see that people are aware of it," she said.

Online, debate raged about whether abortion resulting from antenatal testing showing a high risk of Down syndrome was a form of eugenics, genocide or completely acceptable.

One anonymous commenter had the opinion that "Yes we should screen for birth defects and abnormalities. This article is a joke, its not genocide. It's just ensuring that the human race is not afflicted with negative defects.

"Screening for blindness or other disabilities would be wonderful too. It's not big deal just terminate the pregnancy very early on and try again. The odds are massively in your favour of having a normal healthy child."

RexN responded:

"Seriously? You look forward to the day there are no Downs Syndrome people, no blind people, no deaf people, no dwarves, no diabetics, nobody predisposed to cancer, no colour blind people, no one with a congenital heart defect, no-one born without a limb, no one with a slightly deformed little finger, etc. How about no ugly people? How about nobody as heartless as you?"

Mrs Dymock said that none of the arguments were new to her.

"I've heard it all before and I'm not surprised by any of it. It's nothing new," she said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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