The charity Down’s Syndrome Association has released an updated statement, distancing themselves from Emmerdale’s upcoming storyline which will see Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) and Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson) decide to terminate their pregnancy after a pre-natal diagnosis.
The charity have shared that they have concerns and told their followers on Twitter that they ‘do not welcome’ the storyline.
Their statement read: ‘The Down’s Syndrome Association has had no involvement in the development of the Emmerdale story line and we have told the team at Emmerdale of our concerns, particularly for the many people who have Down’s Syndrome who watch the soap and how they might be affected by it.
‘We asked Emmerdale for viewers to be signposted to us following the screening of any episodes on this storyline. We have been assured that this will happen.
‘Calls to our confidential Helpline from expectant parents following pre-natal testing have increased recently.
‘We want to make sure that parents get accurate information and do not feel like they are being judged. Families might not call us if they felt we would try to persuade them to follow a particular path.
‘Families come back to us after their baby has been born and we continue to be there for them as their child grows up.
‘We certainly do not welcome the upcoming storyline and have already started to support people who have Down’s syndrome and their families who are worried and will continue to do so while the story runs.’
One charity Emmerdale is working with, ARC, admitted to initially having reservations about the storyline.
The director, Jane Fisher told Metro.co.uk: ‘Soaps in general tend to be keen on high drama, so I was a bit nervous about how it would be presented. But once I saw the script, all those anxieties went out the window, because it was clear from early stages that such a lot of thought and care had been put into getting this right. So our job as advisers was fairly straightforward.
‘I think it’s really important that people can speak about this, not that they must, because for many people this is a very painful and private experience. And that’s fine, they may not want to talk about it openly. But they need to know that they can, and at the moment many people feel reticent to talk about what’s happened to them because they fear judgement.
‘There are going to be people, however well this is portrayed, who are always going to have strong views. But I think the majority of people watching the episodes as written will have an insight into the reality, the complexity.’
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