Connie is face of campaign

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The family of a Morley tot has joined forces with a campaign group protesting against a discriminatory new pre-natal screening proposal.

Connie-Rose Seabourne was born two months premature and it wasn’t until she was two weeks old that parents Julie and Peter, of Daisy Hill Mews, Churwell, were told she had Down syndrome.

Last week, the two-year-old was one of the faces on posters at a campaign rally outside the Houses of Parliament asking Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt not to ‘screen them out.’

The ‘Don’t Screen Us Out’ campaign is calling for the government to increase support for people with Down’s syndrome and their families and ensure the provision of balanced information for parents with a pregnancy diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.

Proud mum Julie said: “The rally was all about the new none invasive prenatal testing that is now free on the NHS. Connie was on a massive poster raising positive awareness about Down syndrome as we’re wanting people to make informed choices before terminating a pregnancy. People need to know the joy of having a child with Down syndrome and show Down syndrome as a positive and show that they are an integral part of our communities.

“Connie is known by everyone in Morley and everyone loves her. I can’t imagine my life without her.”

The new technique, called ‘cell-free DNA’ testing, is being heralded as a move to reduce the number of miscarriages associated with invasive amniocentesis, with a National Screening Committee pilot study predicting that it would result in 25 fewer miscarriage per a year.

Parents and campaign groups supporting the Don’t Screen Us Out campaign are urging members of the public to visit and contact their MP asking them to take action to encourage Jeremy Hunt to reject the proposal.

Lynn Murray, spokeswoman for the Don’t Screen us out campaign, said: “As a parent of a teenage daughter with Down syndrome, I’ve had 16 years of seeing the effects of screening on the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. These new tests will make this situation worse. The government should be putting its energy behind providing real support for our families and other parents who are expecting a child with Down syndrome.”