Students for Life

Students for Life Ireland have hit out at Emmerdale’s inappropriate storyline involving an abortion on the grounds of disability. Spokesperson for the group, Leanne Lynch, said:

“This controversy warrants serious discussion. The storyline in Emmerdale suggests that unborn babies with Down’s Syndrome should be aborted. This is an ableist and unacceptable message. We all know someone with Down’s Syndrome, and we all see the joy they bring to our lives. In the wake of this controversy the producers of the soap have said that they hope the plot will ‘raise awareness’. What does that even mean? If we were serious about ‘raising awareness’, we would be highlighting the fact that the Parliamentary Enquiry into Abortion of the Grounds of Disability (U.K. 2013) found that 90% of babies diagnosed in the womb with Downs Syndrome are aborted.”

Ms Lynch continued: “If we want to ‘raise awareness’ then surely we should be talking to people with disabilities, to people who have Down’s Syndrome. Surely we should be talking to campaigners like Heidi Crowter about the High Court case she has taken on the grounds of discrimination – that babies with Down’s Syndrome can legally be aborted up until birth in the UK. If we really wanted to ‘raise awareness’ then surely we should be speaking to the many women who claim that they experienced pressure and were strongly encouraged to have an abortion after receiving a pre-natal diagnosis”.

“It is shocking that in 2020 more people aren’t calling out this ableist and discriminatory narrative and story-line. Imagine if you had someone in your family with a disability, imagine trying to shield them from the horrible message on the TV screen – a message which suggests that some lives are less valuable than others. The producers of this show should commit to meeting with people who have disabilities, and to listening to the hurt that this episode has and will cause them”, concluded Ms Lynch.