Actress slams report on "elimination" of Down's syndrome: “They’re just killing everybody that has it."
16 August 2017
Actress Patricia Heaton isn't afraid to speak out for the unborn.
A Hollywood actress has hit back at a report suggesting that nearly 100% of women who receive a positive test for Down's syndrome in Iceland abort the baby.
CBSN published a widely viewed report, examining the situation in Iceland, where prenatal screening was introduced in the early 2000s. The channel tweeted the report with the description "Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion."
Scroll down to watch the report!
However, Patricia Heaton, an Emmy-award winning actress who grew to fame for her role on CBS’s "Everybody Loves Raymond," took issue with the tweet. "Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome," Heaton responded. "They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference."
She has since been retweeting photos of children with Down's syndrome, which parents grateful for her stand have sent her.
Despite the insensitive and misleading CBSN channel tweet, the article served a vital purpose in revealing the horrific reality of the eradication of people with Down's syndrome in Iceland.
Although genetic screening is not compulsory, the government states that all expectant mothers must be informed about availability of screening tests, and women are told that it's the normal thing to do. One mother said that the knowledge steered her decision to take the test: "It was not pressure, but they told me that most women did it," she said. "It did affect me maybe a little bit."
Three babies born in a year is more than usual
According to Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik, around 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women choose to take the prenatal screening test. Of those who receive a positive diagnosis for Down's syndrome, nearly 100% choose to abort.
Babies with Down syndrome are still being born in Iceland - "Some of them were low risk in our screening test, so we didn't find them in our screening," said Hulda Hjartardottir, head of the Prenatal Diagnosis Unit at Landspitali University Hospital - but not many. In 2009, three babies were born with Down's syndrome. According to Thordis Ingadottir, the mother of Agusta, one of the three, even that is "quite more than usual. Normally there are two, in the last few years."
"We don't look at abortion as a murder."
Perhaps this is because hospital staff implicitly encourage parents who get a diagnosis of Down's syndrome to abort. According to the report. the counsellor at Landspitali University Hospital tells women: "This is your life — you have the right to choose how your life will look like."
She showed the presenter a prayer card inscribed with the date and tiny footprints of a fetus that was terminated. Responding to the suggestion that most Americans would find such an idea strange, she said: "We don't look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication... preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder -- that's so black and white. Life isn't black and white. Life is grey."
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