Statement from Global Down Syndrome Foundation Executive Director Michelle Sie Whitten on Thai surrogacy case

Statement from Global Down Syndrome Foundation Executive Director Michelle Sie Whitten in response to the story of a surrogate baby with Down syndrome in Thailand whose surrogate mother says was abandoned by his parents:

The discrimination against people with Down syndrome, even in developed nations, is profound. The abandonment of a surrogate twin boy with Down syndrome to life or death in Thailand clearly underscores this.

The reality is the condition is almost completely different from what it was just 20 years ago. For example, the lifespan of a person with Down syndrome in the 1980s was 28 years old, and today it is nearly 60. And according to a national U.S. poll commissioned by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, over three-quarters of Americans believe people with Down syndrome have the right to vote, buy a home and get married, with 97 percent of Americans agreeing that people with Down syndrome should have the chance to hold a job and deserve fundamental human and civil rights.

As a first-generation American, Executive Director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, a women’s rights advocate living in the 21st century, and a mother of a child with Down syndrome and her typical brother, I would hope that accurate information about Down syndrome would have steered this headline-making Australian couple toward a different, if not educated, decision.


Watch CBS4′s Kathy Walsh interview Global Executive Director Michelle Sie Whitten about the case:

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