Let’s Talk: Should this couple be allowed to have children?

If you missed Australian Story on ABC on Monday night, you missed a topic that has a lot of people

If you missed Australian Story on ABC on Monday night, you missed a topic that has a lot of people talking.

It’s a conversation that will have you thinking as a parent, especially if you have or know anyone with children who have a disability.

Queensland couple Michael Cox and Taylor Anderton have shared their desire to get married and have children.

But their parents don’t support the idea.

You might be wondering why?

Well, Michael and Taylor both have Down Syndrome – and their parents are concerned about their ability to raise a family.

So, what did the parents have to say?

Taylor’s mother Catherine Musk told Australian Story about her concerns.

“Taylor and Michael want to get married and have children and that makes me feel very worried, apprehensive and concerned,” she said.

Michael’s father Simon Cox also had strong views on his son’s parenting plan.

“I don’t see parenthood being something that they’re going to achieve, or really they probably should achieve,” he said.

“It would be very difficult being a child whose parents both had Down syndrome and couldn’t have a job and couldn’t drive a car and couldn’t understand maths homework and those sorts of things.”

The Australian Story program also spoke to advocacy groups about the issue.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated director Michelle O’Flynn said people with disabilities were entitled to “bodily integrity”.

“People … like Michael and Taylor are certainly entitled to the freedom to do with their bodies as they wish and that includes reproduction,” she said.

“They have the same rights as everybody else. The fact that they have a disability doesn’t diminish that.”

She also suggested the parents should help Michael and Taylor fulfill their dream to be parents instead of trying to stand in their way.

“We don’t ask other parents in the community: ‘are you good enough to raise your child?’, and this shouldn’t be prejudging how a person with an intellectual impairment parents their children,” she said.

If you missed it, Michael made a passionate defence of his ability to be a parent.

Michael and Taylor want to have four kids – three daughters and one son if they have their way.

“I know that their (the parents’)heart is in the right place, but being over-protective is strictly not on with your child, even if they have a disability or not,” he said.

“I know that me and Taylor have the skills to be married and to start our own family.”

According to experts, Taylor and Michael’s children have a “high change” of having Down Syndrome as well.

The couple’s parents also told Australian Story they were worried they’d have to be responsible for the children if Michael and Taylor had a family.

“The advocates will tell us that we should just allow Michael and Taylor to have the same rights as their siblings and we just don’t agree,” Michael’s father Simon said.

“They’re not the ones picking up the pieces.”

What do you think? Are the parents right to have concerns?  Should Michael and Taylor be able to make the decision on their own?

  1. Marianne  

    DS, the bane of many peoples’ lives.
    If info correct, neither is actually able to reproduce, thank goodness.
    They say they want a ‘normal’ marriage! Who’s telling them this c@&$?
    They’re mentally retarded. Full stop.

    It’s about time some parents’ of any type of disabled child got their heads’ out of the bee sand, being ‘in denial’, & stopped calling them ‘normal’.
    No matter how much the parents’ wish, they’re NOT!
    They’re not mentally capable to make this, or any other decision.

    It just raging hormones, out of control, that they’re in this situation in the first place.
    Total sterilisation of DS persons’ should be done.

    There was a case a couple of years’ ago, where a ‘hippie’ mother of three children, two of whom were mentally disabled, FORCED a normal State School to take these children.
    Thereby School had to employ specialist teachers’ for these two kids’, & the rest of the class was slowed down in their teaching.
    It’s not right!
    It’s actually ‘reverse discrimination’, which is being done, in many areas’, these days’, unfortunately.
    What happened to ‘Special Schools’, who have trained teachers’ for disabled children?
    Do they actually exist anymore?

    Apparently, by 2025, DS will be no longer, due to so many being aborted, if pregnant female tests positive for DS.

    Used to have a DS bloke on train ‘fondle’ himself, if he sat opposite a normal female.
    Security officer used to stand next to him, to prevent his doing this.

    Many years’ago, an Ambo told me not to trust them, particularly males, who make up for mental lacking, by being very strong, physically.

    • Marianne you show your very bigoted distorted view in your comments. So what if an ambo, said that what makes their word so sacrosanct.
      There are differing levels of trisomy 21 obviously this couple are on the higher functioning side, knowing boundaries and having ability to debate.
      There are no perfect parents, I’ve seen plenty of so called normal parents who continue to have children despite neglecting them etc.
      High intelligence does not equate to good parents.
      Common sense actually counts for more.
      If this couple are able to understand the responsibility, are able to care independently for themselves, then it is their choice.

      • I agree with Loretta totally! Look at the cases today, of abusive, alcohol or drug-fuelled parents.

      • Julia Hope  

        Are you for real??? And as for you distorted and disgusting viewpoint that there will be no one with Down Syndrome born in the future … You are totally wrong!!!
        I cannot believe your ignorance 😣😣😣😣

        • Marianne  

          YOU are the one who has an ignorant, distorted, & perverted view!
          They’re just disgusting individuals’, in every way, ESPECIALLY the oversexed males!

          Have YOU sat opposite a DS male, on a suburban train, whilst he openly fondles himself?
          Bet not, you idiot!
          You wouldn’t be so in favour of them, if subjected daily, to such horrible behaviour, I would think.

          Security guard called frequently to this particular male.

          He’s a nut case.
          He gets on at the third carriage, & walks all the way through to front carriage, & sits on seat immediately behind driver’s door, EVERY day, provided there’s a normal female opposite him, then he starts his daily, same suggestively rude behaviour.

          He’s very quickly followed by a Security Guard, who stands beside him, for the rest of his journey.
          Of course, he doesn’t play with himself, whilst guard standing next to him!

          There’re have been numerous complaints’ about this d@&)head, hence Security
          It’s amazing he hasn’t been arrested for his continuous lewd behaviour.

    • You are more handicapped by your ignorance than either of these two wonderful people,😏😏

      • Marianne  

        Truth hurts, doesn’t it?
        Pull your head out of the sand!

    • Denny Rosey  

      I am astonished at the vitriol Marianne expresses about people with DS. Her extraordinary disdain and disrespect mirror the Fascist’s eugenics program. Certainly she does nothing to further understanding of people with disabilities and the heart breaking dilemmas they confront. It is very unlikely this young couple will be able to have children and the young man’s certainty of he and his girlfriend having 3 girls and a boy is wildly unrealistic. They will no doubt face great disappointment in the years ahead and deserve compassion not derision.

      • Thomas  

        Couldn’t agree more, kaylene!

        These people who disagree with what Marianne says, which is TRUTHFUL, are the ignorant ones’.
        These ‘do gooders’ can’t cope with the truth!

        And Loretta, an ambo would have more knowledge than you, as he would be called to various ‘ domestic’ situations’ involving DS, & other mentally ill people.
        Unless you’re qualified with an MB BS Degree, which I doubt, you can’t deny the word of an Ambo! Ignoramus, that YOU are!

        Have seen an very elderly Mother put her DS son, who’s now elderly himself, on local bus, daily, for decades’. What happens to him if he outlives his Mother, assuming no other relative exists to take care of him?
        He costs Taxpayers’ then, to be housed, cared for etc., same as all the other multitudes’ of disabled in our community now!

        Every second kid now has some sort of ‘impairment’, from peanut allergy to ADS!
        The future cost to the community will be ENORMOUS!
        As if we don’t have enough Taxes, & bilks’, to pay for!


    What a truly delightful couple who really do deserve to enjoy their lives together. But whew, having children … too much of a responsibility I feel. And, of course a 50% chance of further down syndrome in their offspring. Their parents are the ones I feel just so sorry for. They have reared them to adulthood undoubtedly with great difficulty. They absolutely know their children and their realistic capabilities. Both Michael and Taylor are legally adult but both still only have the mental capacity of 8 year olds. This most definitely is not a sound basis for parenthood and would have awful consequences down the track.

    • cee  

      What Michael said were NOT the words of an 8 year old…. They let drug addicts have their kids so why not these two kids who love each other…

  3. Sheila lakeman  

    Wow, hard one,
    What if the kids get sick, and worse die.
    It’s a reality they have to face.
    Who then will have to look after the children , if they have children with the same disability it will mean that mum and dad will have to look after more children with disabilities.

    Then if they do have children that are (normal) how would these children cope with a mum and dad with such a disability ,

    Let them get married and be happy, they both deserve that.
    But as for having children I think it would be better if they didn’t.

    But as I have always said, who are we to judge. ?

  4. Janice Hibberd  

    Have you not heard of integrating people with disabilities into society Marianne? You are
    advocating eugenics just like Hitler did. DS couples can and will make great parents. They have the right to be loved and to be as independent as they can like everyone else. Your use of the word retarded is terrible – perhaps you and their parents should seek further information on allowing people with disabilities to self determine what they need and want in todays society. (Shakes head )

    • Paul van der Werff  

      I think you will it was the Americans who started on eugenics and they provided Hitler with the master plan. All they knew was supplied by the Americans. The Americans didn’t ‘officially’ cease eugenics until late 20th century

    • Charlie Arter  

      Sounds all very nice and fluffy in theory in a perfect world…….. BUT fraught with all sorts of major problems in a practical world

  5. Raewyn  

    yes, i think this is a very sad situation, and my suggestion would be perhaps to let Taylor and Michael care for a young child (baby) and maybe toddler under controlled supervision just for them to see how much of a responsibility and drain it can be on adults. not just for an afternoon, but for an extended period of time so as they know what they would be getting themselves in for with parenthood. Just a suggestion which might help them look at their life’s plans from a different view.

    • Bonny Ward  

      And would you be willing to give your child to a couple with this handicap, great what if they can’t look after the child and hurt the guinea pig (child) , what a silly idea.

  6. Heather Pepper  

    I’m sorry but in this I side with the parents. I have worked with couples who have Downs Syndrome and have gone onto having children of their own. In 1 case the couple had 4 children each unfortunately inflicted with Downs. Each parent and child had their own case worker who cared for the couple. ( they had got together in a community home). The cost to the welfare system is incredible in a time when money is in short supply and has to be stretched further. The father was required to enter a nursing home as his health was extremely poor due to not being able to understand diabetes and its complications. Both sets of parents had argued before the courts to have the ability to reproduce taken away from their child but had the requests denied. They continued to spend their own resources to assist their children and grandchildren and wondered if they would ever have a life to call their own. The maternal mother used to spend ages just talking about her fears for the future of her and her husband.
    The couple may be able to care for themselves but a small child?

    • Charlie Arter  

      A very sensible opinion

  7. Peter Kenrick  

    They deserve the right to get married, however they do not have the right to bring into the world anymore disabled. Sterilise them and let them live /marry and have what happiness they can find. None of us (so called normals) would chose to inflict a life of disability upon our children.

    • Sharon S  

      I’m sorry to say…its all about the learning ability! An eight year old learning capable parent is a NIGHTMARE!!!!!

  8. I watched this program and found it to be an extremely interesting story. Michael I found quite mature considering his disability. He also knew exactly what he wants in life and that was to marry the girl he loves. Children are a different issue. I really don’t know if they should be allowed to go to that extreme but they deserve the same happiness as everyone else in their future endeavours. After all it is the 21st. century……..

    • Joan Tisdell  

      After having read all comments thus far yours is the most sensitive! As you say it is the 21st century and everyone deserves to be happy! I feel for these kids and agree.they should be allowed to get married, but no kids! Not because of the selfish feelings of the parents or others but because I don’t think they could manage to care for them as they should and having known several DSKids they would not appreciate parental intervention into their lives! These kids get very possessive toward their partners and would toward any offspring so would not tolerate any intervention from “well wishers” toward their children!

  9. Yvonne  

    Are taxpayers expected to ick up the tab for them and children, or do they have gainful employment?

    • Jay Cumming  

      Yvonne, have you any idea how many people out there the tax payers are paying for and they don’t have Down’s Syndrome

  10. Yvonnne Hudacek  

    Parenthood unlikely. Fertility low.

  11. Nancy  

    Difficult situation. Maybe she can volunteer or work in a child care setting. She can share many babies.

  12. Barbara  

    They should be allowed to marry but not have children, other people would be left picking up the pieces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *