Shouldn’t children and adults with Down Syndrome have the same rights as us?

Written by Erika Petrie

July 1, 2020

This Morning on the BBC, there was a very moving interview with James and Heidi Crowter, both young individuals in their 20s with Down Syndrome, who in a few days time after the restrictions of lockdown have been lifted somewhat, will be tying the knot. Taking a look at the picture of these two young people below, who are clearly young and in love, do you not think they deserve the same rights as we do? The rights to a happy, healthy, fulfilled life with full acceptance and inclusion in society? The answer should be a resounding ‘yes’.

Yet only a few months ago, this young woman: Heidi Crowter, was the very same who led a campaign against the UK government to protest against the UK law, which at the end of February made it possible for parents to abort DS children as late as 38 weeks…basically at full gestation when these babies are already fully formed human beings…essentially a real travesty and unacceptable in my opinion! What gives us the right to decide on whether they should live or die, when they are human beings just like us? They have so much to offer our topsy-turvy world and I would even go as far as to say, that if there were more people like them, with that extra-special and happier way of seeing the world, those amazing smiles and that incredible resilience and affection they have, the world would be a better place. So why is it then that there is so much ignorance and prejudice against Down Syndrome, to the extent that in some countries such as Iceland, the abortion rate is 100%??? What is it that makes people dread Down Syndrome so much? I can assure you as the parent of a younger child with Down Syndrome myself, there is nothing to be afraid of…in fact Micaela teaches me something everyday with her giggles, her smiles and her sheer determination.

So these children might be just that little bit ‘different’, they might be that little bit behind on their development, they might struggle a little physically or with their speech and communication but aren’t we all a little bit different anyway? Who is to say what the true milestones are in development in any case? What is ‘normal’ or ‘neurotypical’ anyway? Do we not each have our own talents, strengths, hobbies, abilities, quirks and foibles? Is this not what makes the world go round? Having different abilities and passions with which to complement each other?

Seeing James and Heidi on the news this morning warmed my heart. James was so very proud to se able to say ‘I am marrying my best friend’ and Heidi declared that even though they will only be allowed 30 people at the wedding, this day is going to be very special because she stated ‘I have been dreaming of this day my whole life’. Should this type of sentiment, which sadly to some extent is dying out in this day and age, not be what marriage is all about? At the end of the day, it is a mistake to say they are people ‘just like us’ because they have proved they are so much better than that, and so not only should they have the same rights as we do, but they should be entitled to so much more as well. Congratulations Heidi & James…so glad you have your happy ending… I hope this speaks volumes to today’s society too! #wouldn’tchangeathing


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