QUEEN’S PARK – Sara Singh, NDP MPP for Brampton Centre, introduced a private member’s bill in the legislature on Monday that, if passed, would end biases against Down syndrome pregnancy by ensuring that expectant parents receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based written information relating to Down syndrome.
“Harvey and Gurvir’s Law is for all future mothers and parents in Ontario that experience a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. This bill will ensure that these families are supported in their decisions with ministry-approved information about the diagnosis,” said Singh.
Discrimination often begins with the prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome, when families are provided outdated, incorrect, or biased information based on antiquated models of disability.
Singh was joined by Sarah Valiquette-Thompson, co-founder of Perfectly Me, an organization that provides positive outcomes and stories of children with Down syndrome to help other families. Valiquette shared her own story of hardship she faced when pregnant with her son Harvey, who has Down Syndrome and who is the namesake of the bill, Harvey and Gurvir’s Law.
“My family went through a horrific prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis journey and we felt we were alone. We need to embrace differences and this bill will provide the most important information and resources for parents. No other family in Ontario should have to experience what we went through,” said Valiquette-Thompson.
Discrimination faced by persons with Down syndrome continues to persist in the province of Ontario and impacts how families receive services in the health care system. This impacts how families understand the life expectancy, life outcomes, cognitive or physical abilities, as well as psychosocial outcomes of persons with Down syndrome.
“This bill will help end the discrimination facing all future mothers and parents in Ontario with pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome by ensuring medical professionals are given ministry-approved information about Down syndrome,” said Singh.