Global Down Syndro​me Foundation responds to CBS story on Iceland's 'eradication' of Down syndrome | Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Global Down Syndro​me Foundation responds to CBS story on Iceland’s ‘eradication’ of Down syndrome

DENVER
Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation released the following statement today regarding the recent CBSN story on ‘eradicating’ Down syndrome in Iceland:

“It’s heartbreaking to see what is happening in Iceland today, and shocking to see that this level of misinformation and discrimination against people with Down syndrome still exists. While every mother and every pregnancy is unique, the fact is those born with Down syndrome can and do live long, happy and productive lives. Women making these critical decisions need to have the facts.

Educating the medical community and pregnant women with accurate and current information about Down syndrome is imperative. Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress recently updated their Prenatal Testing Pamphlet for pregnant women and health providers about what to expect with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. This information is free and available in English and Spanish.

The situation in Iceland is a reminder of how important it is that Global continues to invest in medical care, education and advocacy, and that we continue to advance the world class research that is helping us better understand Down syndrome,” said Whitten.

In addition, below are specific facts about the condition in the United States:

  • Lifespan – Today, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome is nearly 60 years.
  • Termination Rates – The best available statistics in the U.S. are that an estimated 67 percent of women who receive an amniocentesis resulting in a positive test result for Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. But over 95 percent of pregnant women don’t even elect to receive an amniocentesis.
  • Medical Care & Research – There have been great strides in medical care and research that have doubled the lifespan of people with Down syndrome over the last 30 years.
  • Educational Opportunities – People with Down syndrome are included in public schools. Many complete high school, and increasing numbers are going to college or get vocational training.
  • Voting & Employment – Many people with Down syndrome work, volunteer and vote.
  • Marriage, Siblings & Self-advocates – Despite potential challenges, personal accounts and studies show most families that have a child with Down syndrome are stable, successful and happy, and that siblings often report having increased levels of compassion and empathy. One major study on marriages and Down syndrome shows that the divorce rate among parents of children with Down syndrome is lower than the national average.

For the most current, accurate information and resources associated with people with Down syndrome visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org/facts.

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