Emmerdale viewers will see Rhona Goskirk and Laurel Thomas fall out over the latter’s plan to have an abortion after learning her baby has Down’s Syndrome.
Rhona is mum to young Leo, who also has Down’s Syndrome, so it’s understandable she has strong feelings about this.
However, vet Rhona did actually consider a termination herself when she learned her son had the chromosomal condition.
She decided not to go ahead with it after speaking to Hazel Rhodes, whose disabled son Jackson needed round-the-clock care following a tragic car accident.
Rhona decided she would face the additional challenges that a child with special needs requires.
Next week, Rhona offers Laurel a friendly ear and she opens up about the pregnancy and the Down’s Syndrome.
The mum of one is shocked to hear Laurel’s plans for a termination.
Criticism for the soap over Down’s Syndrome abortion
Laurel and Jai make the heartbreaking decision that the abortion is right for them, news which has caused consternation.
Having four children between them already, they don’t feel they can offer the time and care needed.
When the storyline first came to light, many people criticised it.
Some 30,000 people have signed a petition asking for it to be stopped.
Rachel Mewes, who started the petition, wrote: “Emmerdale will soon be showing a storyline which depicts a couple having an abortion because their baby has Down’s Syndrome.
“It has shaken me to the core that a popular TV show watched by millions has sought to perpetuate the antiquated stereotyping and misleading information about Down’s Syndrome that is endemic in our society.”
What has Emmerdale said about the Down’s Syndrome story?
Bosses have asked viewers to have faith that the sensitive plot has been treated responsibly.
Producer Laura Shaw said: “I think sometimes when a story idea is first pitched, it’s an instant: ‘Yes that’s brilliant, let’s do it.’ Or it’s an instant: ‘God no, let’s definitely not do that.’
“This idea was very much: ‘Oh, we don’t know.’
“We needed to research it and find out as much as we could. Then we could make an informed decision on whether it was something we wanted to play or not.”
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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