General Synod round-up

The Church of England’s General Synod has given unanimous backing to a call for people with Down’s Syndrome to be welcomed, celebrated and treated with dignity and respect.

A motion affirming the dignity and full humanity of people with Down’s Syndrome was passed after a debate at the General Synod meeting in London.

It comes as a new form of prenatal screening, Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), is set to be rolled out in the NHS to women deemed to be at high-risk of having a child with Down’s syndrome.

The motion welcomes medical advances and calls for the Government and health professionals to ensure that women who have been told that their unborn child has Down’s Syndrome are given comprehensive, unbiased information on the condition.

The Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, the Church of England’s lead bishop on healthcare, told the General Synod that the Church’s belief is that every human being is made in the image of God and is of unique and equal value.

“That includes people with Down’s Syndrome, and has massive implications both for the welcome we offer in our church communities and the support we provide for parents with Down’s Syndrome children,” he said.

“This is a call for love and practical assistance, and on countless occasions the Christian Church has demonstrated its ability to provide both”.