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Over 40 disability groups call on Amazon to take action over discriminatory t-shirts

Amazon is under-fire from Down’s syndrome and learning-disability groups for selling offensive products that incite hate speech against those with a disability.

It comes after the discovery that Amazon was selling t-shirts bearing hateful slogans, such as “Let’s make Down syndrome extinct!” and “F*ck Down syndrome”, for the second time this year.

Now, over forty groups have signed an open letter calling on the online retailer to take steps to do more to tighten up their policies and permanently end the sale of hateful products on their platform.

The letter, signed by groups including the Down’s Syndrome Association, Mencap, and Positive About Down’s Syndrome, urges Amazon to work with them in “helping the Down’s syndrome community stand against hate crime.”

Tens of thousands of people supporting disability community

A petition organised by the founder of one of the letter’s signatories, Diff-Ability Cumbrian Community group asking Amazon to ban any sellers who “incite hate speech against any minorities” has already been signed by over 64,000 people.

Cristina feared seeing such hateful slogans would have a similar effect on her three-year-old son, Max, who has the condition.

She said: “We’re fighting hard to get positive balanced information out there because so many children are aborted when their parents find out they have Down’s syndrome.

“Max does not have any serious health problems, he’s the loveliest boy. But we were so scared before he was born because we believed outdated stereotypes.”

Since then, the petition has received the attention of national media with coverage on TV, radio and in newspapers.

Heidi Carter, a prolific disability activist who is challenging the UK’s abortion law, revealed to BBC News how upsetting it was for her when she first saw the offensive clothing, saying: “I would say that I feel very offended and very upset, and when I first found out, I was nearly crying my eyes out.”

EMBED VIDEO HERE

‘Nasty’

Lynn Murray of Don’t Screen Us Out, one of the letter’s signatories, said: “Our supporters, people with Down’s syndrome and their families, have been offended by the ongoing availability of t-shirts calling for people with Down’s syndrome effectively to be screened-out of society.

“Nevertheless, we’ve been blown away by the support from the public and the media.

“My own daughter Rachel calls these t-shirts ‘nasty’.

“We understand that not everyone realises that people with Down’s syndrome and their families are happy with their lives. This community is trying to shake off an old stereotype that Down’s syndrome screening programmes have failed to tackle.

“If Amazon were to change their discrimination policy to include protection for people with disabilities this would go some way to help improve the profile of this minority group. We are also calling on Amazon to make a guarantee to our community that they will ensure that they will never sell any product in the future that discriminates against our community.”

‘Hatewear’

Actress Sally Phillips, whose oldest child, Olly, has Down’s syndrome criticised Amazon for selling “hatewear” t-shirts, telling The Times: “Eugenic ideas are really taking hold — the idea that there is this subclass of humans and it is better we get rid of them. If you have a world view in which you regard academic intelligence or money-making possibilities as the ultimate goal… then you feel perfectly justified in saying these things.”She added: “It would break my heart if Olly saw anyone wearing those T-shirts.”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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