Josee Kelly at the age of 14 months.
Josee Kelly at the age of 14 months. Alistair Brightman

Mum joins campaign to stop terminations of Downs babies

A TORBANLEA mum is part of a Keep Your Baby campaign, encouraging mums with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome to make an informed decision on the future of their pregnancies.

Joelle Kelly got involved in the campaign after contemplating her own prenatal experience, during which she says there was a strong emphasis on getting a termination, which was something Joelle and her husband Lewis knew they didn't want to do.

In Australia, about 95% of women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy.

Joelle's 16-month-old baby girl Josee Hope is a treasured member of their family and Joelle wanted to encourage other women to get as much information as they could before making a decision to keep or terminate the pregnancy.

Joelle said dozens of other mums had submitted photos of their children, which she was sharing on Josee's Facebook page to challenge and change the perception most people had of Down syndrome.

Louise Lloyd, executive officer of Down Syndrome Association Queensland, said there needed to be more of a focus on giving mums the time and information they needed to make the best decision for themselves rather than emphasising termination as the only choice.

Tragically, she said that often when she congratulated parents on the arrival of their baby, they would start crying because she would be the first person to have said that to them.

Ms Lloyd said there was a lot of negativity surrounding a diagnosis of Down syndrome and it was vital to counterbalance that with information that was correct and accurate.

Ms Lloyd said it was important to make sure parents knew they would have support and not just through their son or daughter's childhood but through their entire lives.

The organisation offers assistance and information on aging and dementia for people with Down syndrome.

Ms Lloyd said it was crucial that women got to make their own choices about their pregnancy and prenatal diagnosis with no pressure, whether they decided to terminate or keep the pregnancy.


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