A nine-year-old boy with dwarfism has been inundated with messages of support after his mother shared a video of his deep distress over being bullied.
However, a number of social media ‘trolls’ have responded by stating that the condition can be detected in the womb and his parents should have aborted him.
“This is what bullying does,” said Yarraka Bayles as she filmed her son, Quaden, crying in the car after she picked him up from school on Wednesday.
The schoolboy, who has achondroplasia – the most common type of dwarfism, told his mother “Give me a rope, I want to kill myself.”
The clip has been viewed tens of millions of times and has triggered an outpouring of support and #WeStandWithQuaden messages, including from celebrities such as actor Hugh Jackman.
Sadly, not all messages have been supportive.
A number of now-deleted social media messages can be summarised by the following tweet, in which one user said “dwarfism can be detected in the 3rd trimester. If the parents aborted him, like they should have done, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Upon being asked whether he was being serious, the Twitter user responded: “It’s crazy that people allow their children to be born with disabilities. Down’s syndrome can be detected too and yet parents still choose to go through with the pregnancy.”
These views are tragically reminiscent of those shared by prominent author and scientist Richard Dawkins and many of those who say they are ‘pro-choice’.
In response to a woman who had tweeted the admission: “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down syndrome,” Dawkins replied “Abort it and try again.”
“It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice,” he added.
While shocking, these views are echoed through wider society.
In England & Wales, abortion is routinely offered to parents that are expecting a baby who has the most common form of dwarfism known as osteochondrodysplasia are routinely offered terminations and many go onto to abort the babies.
Similarly, government statistics show that where Down’s syndrome has been discovered in the womb over 90% of women choose to abort the child.
Furthermore, the number of abortions performed on unborn babies with cleft lip and palate has accelerated in recent years – abortions for other disabilities are not released by the Government in published statistics.
Official figures show that the number of terminations for those with the condition has more than tripled, from 4 in 2012 to an all-time high of 15 in 2018.
Since 2011, 75 unborn babies have been aborted because they had a cleft lip and palate.
However, findings from a European register have revealed that abortions for cleft lip and palate can be over ten times more common than what is being reported.
Eurocat, which was set up to register congenital abnormalities across 23 countries, found that 157 unborn babies, with the condition, were aborted in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010. The Department of Health only recorded 14 such abortions.
Joan Morris, national coordinator for Eurocat and professor of medical statistics at Queen Mary, University of London, said the group also found the number of babies aborted in 2010 for Down’s Syndrome was nearly double that recorded officially – 886 compared to 482.
In the UK, there is also inequality in abortion law which permits abortion up to birth for babies diagnosed with a disability and 24 weeks gestation for those without.
This could also be the case in Northern Ireland, where the Conservative Government’s proposed abortion framework will allow babies with disabilities to be aborted up to birth.
A spokesperson from Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:
“Why are persons with cleft lip, club foot, Down’s syndrome, dwarfism and other disabilities bullied and ‘screened out’ instead of accepted by society? What message is conveyed to society when babies with these conditions are aborted?
#WeStandWithQuaden as a society we should be empowering those with disabilities, and take pride in the positive contribution they make to our country.
The Conservative Government, however, undermine this objective by indicating they plan to introduce abortions solely based on the unborn child being diagnosed with a disability up to birth in Northern Ireland.
To ensure that those born with disabilities feel valued members of British society, we urge the UK Government to reverse their plans to introduce disability-selective abortion up to birth in Northern Ireland.”