Pro-lifers have slammed ITV soap Emmerdale for promoting eugenic abortion in a forthcoming plotline in which a couple decide to terminate their unborn baby after they are told the child has Down Syndrome.
It was recently revealed that Emmerdale couple Laurel Thomas (played by Charlotte Bellamy) and Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson) will abort their unborn baby after receiving a Down Syndrome diagnosis.
Michael Robinson, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s (SPUC) Director of Communications, strongly criticised the storyline, warning that it risks promoting eugenic abortion.
“There is huge amount of negativity and stigma surrounding Down Syndrome and people with Down Syndrome in the UK,” he said.
“Storylines such as this contribute to this. When parents receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis for their child, it can be very scary.
“It is important that parents are met with support and encouragement, not filled with fear.
“This storyline in Emmerdale risks promoting eugenic abortion which is a barbaric form of discrimination against disabled people.”
During 2019, 3,394 unborn children in Britain were aborted for having a disability – 1,184 after being diagnosed with a chromosomal anomaly such as Down Syndrome.
The Emmerdale storyline follows a similarly controversial plotline from another ITV soap, Coronation Street, which last year featured 14-year-old Amy Barlow terminating her pregnancy in secret after obtaining abortion pills.
“TV soaps carry a huge responsibility as they have the ability to shape public opinion and attitude. It would be encouraging for these shows to depict pregnancy in a positive way,” said Mr Robinson.
“It would have been fantastic for Emmerdale to feature an empowering and inclusive storyline which valued this unborn baby and helped remove the stigma which surrounds disability.”
Picture: Emmerdale couple Laurel Thomas (played by Charlotte Bellamy) and Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson). (ITV Plc).