Disability Royal Commission: Mother Told to Abort Her Baby With Down Syndrome

By Michelle Ryan

A recent testimony to the disability royal commission in Sydney has revealed how a mother was pressured to abort her baby when a scan suggested that he might have Down syndrome.

Toni Mitchell, from Toowoomba, said that in 2000 she was advised to that her son Joshy had a heart condition, was likely to have Down syndrome, and that she was likely to miscarry. She was then given a paper from the doctor with an appointment for an abortion.

She later threw this in the bin.

Mitchell testified that for the rest of the pregnancy, and afterward, she felt she had to justify her son’s right to live.

“They kept just judging us based on my decision to give him a chance at life,” she said.

Toni and Josh’s experience showcases the pressure placed on women to have an abortion if prenatal testing indicates a likely chance their child will have Down syndrome, or any other disability.

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