Emmerdale slammed by MENCAP as charity demands Down's Syndrome abortion storyline is scrapped

ITV and Emmerdale have been criticised by charity MENCAP for "causing distress" with their ongoing Down's Syndrome storyline.

At the end of November, viewers saw Laurel and Jai told at their first pregnancy scan that there were irregularities with the foetus.

A doctor then broke the news that the scan and Laurel’s age suggested the baby could have a chromosomal disorder like Down’s syndrome.

Viewers have now seen Laurel consider an abortion, with the upsetting scenes initially sparking 265 official complaints to the TV watchdog.

Howver, in response, Mencap has warned the soap to "stop" the storyline, and that it backed the call made by the learning disability community."

"The @Emmerdale storyline is causing much distress amongst people with #DownSyndrome and their families and carers," shared MENCAP.


"Many in the #LearningDisability community want the storyline stopped. Their voices need to be heard. We support this call."

In a further release, they added: "We understand that soap operas tackle difficult and sensitive issues – and do good by raising awarness of their importance and complexity – and Emmerdale are usually great at this.

"However, in this case there is a real risk of unintentionally reinforcing the discrimination which parents know is inherent in the system.

"Many people within the learning disability community would like to to see this storyline halted. We exist to support our community and make sure their voices are heard and so we are supporting them in this call.


"If they do go ahead Emmerdale has a responsibility to listen, as well as provide further information about how they will support families before, during and after this storyline is aired."

More than 30,000 people signed a petition that demanded the plot was axed, but Emmerdale bosses have insisted that they won't be doing this.

On social media the Emmerdale Twitter account has shared several posts which read: "If you have been affected by issues raised in tonight's episode you can go to http://itv.com/advice for support information #Emmerdale."

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

Laura Shaw, the series producer for the soap, said the storyline had been thoroughly researched in collaboration with Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC), medical professionals and people with lived experience.

The Sun has contacted ITV for comment.

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