Emmerdale slammed by furious mum over ‘disgusting’ Down’s syndrome abortion plot

A mum has furiously slammed Emmerdale for their "disgusting" and "irresponsible" Down's syndrome abortion storyline.

Rachel Mewes, 38, is mum to three-year-old Betsy, who has Down's syndrome, and the mother has taken to social media to share her outrage for the soap plot.

She says the upcoming storyline adds to the stigma and "creates a world where her daughter is led to believe she is better off dead".

The storyline in question is set to air this winter, and sees Laurel Thomas and Jai Sharma decide to abort their unborn baby after tests show it has Down's syndrome.

Rachel has continued to campaign for the storyline to be scrapped, and shared multiple posts on her Twitter explaining why she's so upset.

She said: "Promoting abortion of babies with Down's syndrome through this storyline is absolutely disgusting.

"It violates the human rights of people with the condition, and their families, who should not be expected to have to put up with such prejudice in mainstream media.

"It suggests that themselves or their child would be better off dead.

"TV shows are big influencers in our society and that comes with responsibility."

The carer, from New Hartley, Tyne and Wear added: "It has shaken me to the core that a popular TV show watched by millions has sought to perpetuate antiquated stereotyping.

"It is this embedded and often unconscious prejudice, combined with misleading information, about Down's syndrome that leads many women to end their baby's life when they are diagnosed with having 47 chromosomes."

Producers of the series said they consulted with "medical professionals, charities and parents with lived experience".

However, Rachel is sure this was directed only at those who have terminated pregnancies and not families with a child who has Down's Syndrome.

The soap also came under fire by disability campaigner Adam Pearson, who called the plot "cliched", and said that disability is still portrayed as a "death sentence", even in 2020.

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More than 17,000 people have signed Rachel's petition to have the storyline scrapped.

ITV told Daily Star Online: "Viewers who watch Emmerdale will know Rhona and Marlon have a much loved son, Leo. Leo has Down’s syndrome and for the last nine years he’s been on screen portraying a happy, fun-loving boy who is very much wanted and cared for by his parents and family.

"After much consideration and extensive research, Emmerdale decided to tell the story of Laurel and Jai and their choice to terminate their pregnancy.

"The full context of Laurel and Jai’s story will be portrayed in detail in forthcoming episodes, because understandably the couple only reach this heart-breaking decision after much soul-searching. Emmerdale felt the story of thousands of couples who make this choice every year, feeling unable to talk about it, needed to be told. "

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