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Australia’s Immigration Act Prohibits Down Syndrome Immigrants

I was appalled to learn that Australia’s Immigration Act has been responsible for denying Down Syndrome immigrants into the country since 1958. The reason? Because they can be a financial burden. If anything good comes out of the humanitarian nightmare that is unfolding in Thailand, it may very well be the repeal of this inhumane and discriminatory law:

An embarrassing, little-known result of the scandal of the Thai surrogate twins has shown that Australia has been rejecting Downs Syndrome immigrants for decades. The original story recounted how an Australian couple had paid a Thai woman for surrogacy, rejecting one of her new-born twins when it was discovered that the baby boy suffered from Downs Syndrome. Apart from an international outcry and a projected change in Thai laws on surrogacy, the OZ immigration department is now outed as having rejected Downs Syndrome migrants from 1958 onwards.

Catherine McAlpine, chief of Downs Syndrome Australia, told the press that the country’s Immigration Act and those who enforce it have excluded Downs Syndrome migrants as they are considered to be a future burden on the taxpayer. According to Immigration, treatment and care is likely to cost more than the upper limit of AU$40,000 over a lifetime.

McAlpine considers immigration’s stance to be highly discriminatory, adding that many immigrant couples had fallen foul of the regulation when they became the parents of a Down’s syndrome child. One such, she said, a British midwife working in a Perth hospital and in the process of applying for residency, was initially denied after she gave birth to a Downs Syndrome baby.

The federal government is denying that its immigration rules exclude Downs Syndrome sufferers, stating that there is no actual law banning them but that health service costs must be taken into account when visas are granted. According to a government spokesperson, immigration health requirements do not exclude specific conditions.


9 comments for “Australia’s Immigration Act Prohibits Down Syndrome Immigrants”

  • Fleur Oakes

    I assume that this ban wouldn’t just be on people who have Down Syndrome. Any potential immigrant with a disability would be turned away and refused entry to Australia. I imagine that most other countries have similar policies in place.

  • Dancer

    It is unacceptable I think. All children have the right for the life with their parents!!! It is absolutely discriminatory!!! And one more thing is that coples should be serious choosing the country, sanatory state of the country and people libing their is very important. SM should be healthy. In Ukraine in Biotexcom clinic surrogate mothers are checked very carefuly.

  • Rosalia

    Down Syndrom is a very rare case. And with this act prohibiting down syndrom immigrants Australia just demonstrates cruelty of its actual government. But all the people around the world are equal, and should have the sam rights. Government should help people with disabilities, these people are not guilty of their disabilities. Talking about surrogacy it is possible to prevent down syndrome. The clinics should select donor and surrogate mother according to ther chromosome complement that minimize risks of down syndrome in newborn children. I know that Biotexcom acts in such way.

  • Olivia

    As I know it is even sometimes possible to interrupt the pregnancy if is early term. But there should be special medical indications for this. It is necessary to do screening control at 12 and 16 that can show if there is a risk for down syndrome. In any case you should rely on only certified clinics.

  • Amber

    Of course they must do the screening control. But they don’t and won’t. What can we say about the country, clinics of which doesn’t check the health of surrogates and donors. The check of medical documents is just for show. Whatever problems with the health you have, it doesn’t matter. They will take your for the program in any case. Everything is of the money! It is a babies market.

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