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12.21 30 Jan 2018


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Updated 15:05

A group has launched a national billboard campaign to save the 8th amendment.

The billboards, billed as 'Reality of Repeal' posters, were launched on Tuesday morning at Buswells Hotel in Dublin.

The billboards were launched after a consultation with Disability Voices for Life - a group representing families that include somebody with a disability.

Save the 8th claims the posters show "the shocking increase in the numbers of abortions carried out" after abortion was legalised in Britain.

It also claims 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are being aborted.

One quotes a statistic claiming one in every five babies is aborted in Britain, while the other features Joseph Cronin - a Donegal boy with Down Syndrome.

Image via @Savethe8thInfo on Twitter

It comes as the Chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Peter Boylan, said diagnosing Down Syndrome is a complex process.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Dr Boylan said: "It's not straightforward, and it's not realistic to suggest that Down Syndrome can easily be diagnosed at less than 12 weeks.

"That's why people should take comfort from the Oireachtas committee recommendations, that termination will not be allowed for children with disability."

Michael O’Dowd and his son Conor, who has Down Syndrome, were also at the launch on Tuesday.

Mr O’Dowd is chair of Renua Ireland and their disability spokesperson.

Campaign

Last week, Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) warned that using people with Down Syndrome to present views on either side of the abortion debate is, “very disrespectful to both children and adults with Down syndrome and their families.”

“It is also causing a lot of stress to parents,” the group said in a statement.

“People with Down Syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of this debate.

“We are respectfully asking both sides of the campaign debate, all political parties and any other interested groups to stop exploiting children and adults with Down Syndrome to promote their campaign views.”

Opinion

Speaking at the campaign launch this morning, the mother of a ten-year-old child with Down Syndrome said media commentary on her right to voice an opinion on abortion has been intimidating.

Speaking in support of the new campaign, Anne Trainer said she is scared the Down Syndrome community will disappear if terminations are made more freely available.

She said she wants to protect her son’s community - adding that she will not be silenced in the debate:

Save the 8th group launches national billboard campaign

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Respectful

In their statement, Down Syndrome Ireland reminded campaigners on both sides of the debate that “people with Down Syndrome listen to the news and read media articles, including social media content.”

“We ask that the tone of the debate is respectful towards all people with disabilities,” the service said.

“As always, Down Syndrome Ireland will continue to support people with Down Syndrome and their families throughout Ireland.”

Additional reporting Gail Conway and Michael Staines ...


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