Down Syndrome Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 4th February 2022.

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Photo of Siobhan Baillie Siobhan Baillie Conservative, Stroud 1:06 pm, 4th February 2022

I am blessed by having great colleagues in this Chamber.

Alice fell pregnant aged 15. As she was so young—we had no Down syndrome in our family and there is a common belief that only older, geriatric mothers as they are often referred to in maternity terms have Down syndrome children—Alice was not offered any advice. She did not have any discussions about Down syndrome. She was 15 and scared. Her family was not around her, we did not know about the pregnancy in the early stages, and I doubt that she asked any questions. It was 20 years ago, too, so there were few smartphones and limited ability to google.

When Rhys was born, Alice was immediately in love with her baby son, but a few days later, my nurse mum spotted signs of Down syndrome. Notwithstanding the absolute love that she felt for her child, it is fair to say that my sister was pretty shocked by what was happening. Remembering that she was still a child herself and all the hopes and dreams that go into a pregnancy, I have since spoken to other parents of Down syndrome children and parents of other children with disabilities—