News

Fraser Coast mum fighting for her daughter's rights

Josee and Joelle Kelly.
Josee and Joelle Kelly. (c) Amy Pace

ONE day, Fraser Coast mum Joelle Kelly knows her daughter Josee might tell her she wants to have a baby.

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal for any parent, but for Joelle and her husband Lewis, the conversation might be a little different than most.

Their daughter has Down syndrome and they are two of thousands of parents across the country who are confronting what love and procreation means when it comes to people who are differently abled.

Josee is three-years-old and Joelle says it will likely be 20 years before they have to think about it, and when they do, they'll 'cross that bridge when we come to it'," she says.

But a recent episode of Australian Story, which shared the dreams of a young couple who have Down syndrome and their desire to become parents, has sparked a huge amount of debate, some of which had been positive and some of which had been negative, Joelle said.

Joelle has been heartened to see people comment who recognise that people who are differently abled have the same rights as everyone else, but has been concerned by other comments, which call for sterilisation to prevent pregnancy, something Joelle says is abhorrent and went out of practice decades ago.

"It was sad to read some of the 'against' comments," she said.

The couple in question, Michael Cox and Taylor Anderton, have been dating for two years and are engaged.

Their parents say they are happy the two have found happiness together but cannot support their dream of having a family, although in other interviews they have said they would support their children's choices.

Joelle said she understood the issue was a delicate and challenging one, but hoped it was one people would be able to discuss without discriminating against differently abled people.

Joelle said while it wasn't necessarily common, the couple were not the first people with Down syndrome to want to get married.

"It is not a new thing," she said.

Joelle said many of the criticisms aimed at people with Down syndrome - that they wouldn't be able to financially care for a baby or take care of its needs - could easily be levelled at neuro-typical people, but often weren't.

"Some people have no idea of what a person with Down syndrome is capable of," she said.

A strong advocate for her daughter and other differently abled people, Joelle also weighed in on increased genetic screening, which could see a corresponding increase in terminations of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Currently, 95% of Australian couples who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome opt for abortion.

Joelle said she had two concerns - the fact that $108<TH>million was being spent on testing what would probably identify an extra 100 babies who had the syndrome and that women were not being properly informed before making a choice as to whether or not to terminate.

Joelle said at the moment women seemed to be having extremely negative experiences after receiving a diagnosis, including being pushed towards having a termination or not supplied with enough information in order to make an informed choice.

Joelle is fighting for guidelines to be established that would require a diagnosis to be given in a neutral manner and would see mums facing a difficult choice, being given the support and information they needed to make the best one for themselves and their family.

She said she has heard of women being booked in for invasive testing and terminations before they asked for it. Joelle herself opted for chorionic villus sampling and said she was all in favour of further testing - if that was what the mother wanted.

She said she received constant pressure from medical professionals to decide to terminate up until she was more than 20 weeks pregnant with Josee.

Joelle said the pressure women experienced made a difficult time even more traumatic.
 

Topics:  down syndrome fraser coast



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Woolworths secretly filmed man suing them over grape fall

One grape on the floor still cost Woolies more than $11,000.

A single grape has cost Woolworths more than $11,000

McCulkin murder trial: Jury retires to consider a verdict

Vincent O'Dempsey is on trial for the alleged murders of Barbara, Vicki and Leanne McCulkin.

Vincent O'Dempsey is accused of murdering the McCulkins.

Roadworks delay: business may be forced to lay off staff

Tinana bakery Pastry Creations owner Tracy Riley - doing it tough with the roadworks on the Bruce Highway.

The struggle continues for businesses affected by the roadworks

Local Partners

Disability worker shares her career with students at expo

For Tammy Watton, a natural instinct to help others turned into a long and fulfilling career in the disability sector.


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Things to do on the Fraser Coast this weekend

Kayla Schmidt, Charlie and Nitro at this year's Million Paws Walk. May 15th, 2016

Find out when and where things are happening this weekend.

Marking Maryborough Hospital's 130th birthday

A PIECE OF HISTORY: Nursing director Trish Spreadborough shows what it would have been like to care for patients in the early days of the Maryborough Hospital.

Learn about the rich history of the Maryborough Hospital

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

OWNERS of icon Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld want to super-size the site with accommodation and entertainment to turn it into Australia’s Disneyland.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

Game of Thrones drops new trailer for season 7

Game of Thrones fans have been given a new trailer for season 7.

Fans are finally getting a full-throttled peak at season seven.

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!