One of the biggest challenges that many disabled people face is negative attitudes towards them, and assumptions made by others that their lives are not worth living, which can lead to systematic discrimination.
Antenatal screening programmes, such as the national screening programme for Down syndrome are controversial, because if they are not carried out appropriately, they contribute to reinforcing negative attitudes towards disabled. All too often, instead of being supported to care for a child with a disability , parents face structural pressure to terminate their pregnancy, which sends a strong message to children and adults with Downs and other children with disabilities that they are not valued.
The Green Party strongly believes that parents must be given full support to continue their pregnancy if that is their choice, and that this attitude needs to be reflected by the public health service.
That is why we are thrilled by the new guidelines that have been formally issued by the National Screening Unit, which have made a number of important changes, including a move away from theroutine offering of screening to all pregnant women to simply advising them of the availability of screening.
I congratulate Saving Downs who have worked hard for this outcome and took a successful case to the Human rights Commission.