EXCLUSIVE: Compulsory abortion for Down's syndrome foetuses, says UKIP Kent candidate
PUBLISHED: 12:37 18 December 2012 | UPDATED: 18:16 18 December 2012
Mothers with foetuses detected to have Down's syndrome and other disabilities should be forced into a compulsory abortion, according to a UKIP candidate's 'personal manifesto'.
Geoffrey Clark, who is running in a by-election on Thursday (20) for the Gravesham Rural seat on Kent County Council and the Meopham North seat on Gravesham Borough Council, was labelled ‘abhorrent’ by disability charities and parents.
His ideas, published on his website, state: “Consider compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family.”
He also wants free euthanasia for the over-80s.
Andrew Diedo, from Dartford, whose 27-year-old son Chris has Down’s syndrome, said Mr Clark’s view was “perhaps born out of fear and ignorance”.
He said: “Our son with Down’s syndrome enjoys a full, happy and productive life. Anyone who knows him will agree with me that the world is a far richer place because of him.”
Disability charity Mencap’s chief executive, Mark Goldring, said he was “disgusted and shocked” at the manifesto.
“It is abhorrent that Geoffrey Clarke sees disabled people solely as a burden. We question if he is fit for public office,” he said.
Liz Woodward, chief executive of DGSM Your Choice, a learning disability charity in Kent, said: “Someone with Down’s syndrome can now live a life like anyone else in the community. We find the manifesto disappointing and disturbing.”
Mr Clark told the Reporter: “They are a burden on the state. The NHS is no longer affordable and some services have to be cut. I’m tired of politicians saying we should cut managers.”
A UKIP spokesman defended Mr Clark’s right to opinions not in line with the party’s.
He said: “The comments in Geoff Clark’s personal manifesto regarding abortion do not represent party policy. As in any party, our members have a range of views and opinions which may not always accord with party policy. Geoff makes clear that this is a personal manifesto, not a party document. Geoff is a hard-working local activist who would make an excellent councillor.”