Down Syndrome Ireland responds to use of children with Down Syndrome in pro-life lobby group pamphlets
"This is very disrespectful to both children with Down Syndrome and their families."
Down Syndrome Ireland has released a statement following news on Tuesday that a child with Down Syndrome will become the "face of the anti-abortion campaign".
The news of the anti-abortion poster came to light in an Irish Times article posted on Tuesday afternoon, provoking conversation about the ethics of using a child with Down Syndrome as a 'poster child' for the campaign.
It's believed that the use of such a child in campaign posters is targeting those in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, insinuating that they are in favour of ‘screening out’ people with disabilities through abortion.
It's understood that the poster would feature a child with Down Syndrome under the headline: “90 per cent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in Britain are aborted.”
Irish Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to share the statement penned by the CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland.
— Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (@AodhanORiordain) January 23, 2018
CEO Gary Owens wrote: "This morning, an article appeared in the Irish Times highlighting the fact that a pro-life lobby group called 'Love Both is using an image of a little girl with Down Syndrome on campaign pamphlets which are being distributed to households.
"This has come on top of a number of references appearing in the media over the past few days where campaigners on both sides of the debate are using people with Down syndrome to present their views.
"This is very disrespectful to both children and adults with Down syndrome and their families. It is also causing a lot of stress to parents. People with Down syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of this debate.
"Down Syndrome Ireland believes that it is up to each individual to make their own decision about which way to vote in the upcoming referendum.
"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 views.
"We would also like to remind 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. As always, Down Syndrome Ireland will continue to support people with Down syndrome and their families throughout Ireland.
"If people with Down syndrome and their families require any support, people contact us on 01-4266500 or visit www.downsyndrome.ie."
Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, pro-life activists took to Trinity College's campus with graphic posters depicting aborted foetuses.
The same images were also spotted outside the university last Thursday, 18 January.