12 Mar 2013

Pre-natal screening paper upsets Downs lobby

9:12 pm on 12 March 2013

A group representing people with Down Syndrome has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over a paper promoting a new form of prenatal screening.

The group, Saving Downs, last week described the article by Otago University professor Gareth Jones, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, as highly offensive and reinforcing negative stereotypes.

The article explored a more advanced type of screening for the genetic condition.

The spokesperson for Saving Downs, Mike Sullivan, says the paper is discriminatory and is in conflict with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"The view that's been expressed in the paper: having children with Down Syndrome in New Zealand can be perceived as a disadvantage and that we shouldn't have these children in our society ...(is) really expressing a view selecting the type of children to be born, based on that perceived disadvantage. '' says Mr Sullivan.

"(This) is not only discrimination but really a form of eugenics".

Mr Sullivan says he hopes the Human Rights Commission will condemn the paper and take measures to protect the Down Syndrome community.