Soaps

Emmerdale faces backlash over Laurel and Jai’s Down’s syndrome termination storyline

Disability campaigner Adam Pearson has spoken out against the soap storyline

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Emmerdale has come under fire by disability campaigner Adam Pearson over Laurel Thomas and Jai Sharma’s Down’s syndrome termination storyline.

In the coming weeks, Laurel and Jai will be faced with the difficult decision to abort their child after a pre-natal diagnosis.

After learning that their unborn baby has Down’s syndrome, the pair decide to terminate the pregnancy.

Emmerdale couple Laurel and Jai decide to have an abortion (Credit: ITV)

Emmerdale: Laurel and Jai’s Down’s syndrome termination storyline faces criticism

However, the upcoming soap storyline hasn’t sat well with some, including British actor Adam.

Hitting out at the storyline on Twitter yesterday (November 5), Adam wrote: “Seriously @emmerdale – what year is this?

“You have a very talented disabled cast member in @jamesmooreactor and yet your running this cliched storyline?

“Disability is a death sentence. Downs lives aren’t worth living.”

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Adam’s post was met to a string of supportive tweets.

One wrote: “Considering Rhona already has a lovely child, Leo I’m sure this is going to cause serious problems. I’m not sure it’s a good idea at all or necessary and they’ve already covered fetal fatality so why this?”

While a second urged Adam to sign a petition against the storyline, saying: “Please do sign our petition in protest of @ITV blatant disregard for people with Down’s Syndrome and their loved ones. We’re sick of putting up with this prejudice.”

Over 6,000 soap viewers have currently signed the petition.

Laurel Emmerdale (Credit: ITV)
Laurel on Emmerdale (Credit: ITV)

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What has Charlotte Bellamy said about the abortion storyline?

Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel, said: “Terminating a pregnancy is an emotive subject. But I think what Emmerdale does brilliantly is portray difficult stories that are important to tell.

“The statistics tell us that a majority of people, faced with similar news resulting from the diagnostic test, do take this decision.

“So I hope Laurel and Jai’s story will take the audience on the journey of them coming to this conclusion and having some understanding why they do.”

The actress added: “There are some very powerfully written scenes that I hope will give a fair portrayal of their situation.”

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

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