There’s just something special about twins.
But no one can blame Jodi and Matt Parry for thinking that their twin daughters are extra special – and not just for the usual reasons.
Five-year-olds Abigail and Isobel Parry are identical twins who have Down syndrome. And because unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted so frequently in their native England, the Daily Mail reports the twin girls literally are one in a million.
“When they were first born we grieved when we found out they both had Down’s syndrome, but now we wouldn’t change it for the world,” their mother told the Mail. “There’s nothing in the world that could convince me to change them.”
The Parrys understand the fears and negative perceptions that often come along with the news that a baby has Down syndrome. The Parrys said they were devastated when they first found out about their twins’ condition. However, they quickly began to recognize and celebrate their daughters’ value.
The British family said they are concerned about how the fears and negative attitudes that they’ve encountered may be influencing the rising abortion rate for unborn babies with Down syndrome.
According to the report:
Between 2011-2013, there was a 17.8 percent increase in abortions for Down’s Syndrome and Matt and Jodi are concerned that without balanced advice alongside a controversial new test for the condition, the number of terminations could increase.
Jodi said: ‘When Down’s syndrome is diagnosed prenatally it comes with: ‘This child has got Down’s syndrome, you can have a termination within the next 10 weeks. And that is kind of heart-breaking. ‘I think if you get the option to terminate straight away, and nobody gives you the pros as well as the cons, then people will terminate.’
The couple have created a charity called Twincess to try and highlight the positives of having children with Down’s syndrome. Jodi calls Twincess ‘a celebration of Down’s syndrome’ and a way to ‘dispel any myths’.
The Parrys said having children with special needs does involve more work, but it’s worth it. Both girls have health problems and learning disabilities, and the family runs them to medical appointments more often than they do their older brother, Finn.
“Everything takes just a bit longer,” Jodi said. “I wouldn’t say I have made any sacrifices because of the girls being born. It sounds sort of sugar coated but the only things that they have brought into our life are positive. There’s nothing negative.”
The Parrys said their daughters do not need to achieve anything great to be valuable people: Isobel and Abigail are valuable just the way they are.
‘I’m not going to say we’ve got great expectations, that we think they will be the first person with Down’s syndrome to be a chartered accountant or anything like that,” Jodi said. “But as long as they are given a chance that’s all I could wish for.”
Parents of children with special needs have been pushing back against the eugenic push to abort unborn babies with Down syndrome and other genetic conditions.
Unborn babies with special needs increasingly are being discriminated against. In 2014, the Danish government reported 98 percent of unborn babies who tested positive for Down syndrome were aborted. In Iceland, medical experts report no babies with Down syndrome have been born in the past five years – meaning they all were aborted.
In a recent letter to the United Nations, the organization Down Pride questioned how these practices could expand to babies with other disabilities.
“The system of utilitarianism will not stop at Down syndrome,” the organization wrote. “Within the not too distant future other groups will be identified: risk for autism, schizophrenia, low IQ?”