We are not dirty, says Norwegian Down activist

24-11-2021

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Marte Goksør is an activist. She wants safety for people with Down syndrome in her country. Photo: Still from video on Menneskeverd.no

Since Norway passed a law that all pregnant women should get a NIPT test to discover whether their unborn child has a birth defect, such as Down syndrome, Marte Goksør (39) fears that more children with Down syndrome will be aborted, Vartland reports.

Goksør, who herself has Down syndrome, is a writer, shooter, and political activist. However, because of the attempts of the government to decrease the number of people with Down syndrome in the country, she feels unwanted.

We are not dirty

In an interview with Vart Land, Goksør pointed out that she sometimes feels ugly if she thinks about having Down syndrome. “According to Norway, we are dirty. That is not how I think it should be.”

Down syndrome is not an illness, Goksør argues. “I have an extra chromosome, and I want to live.” According to her, modern society strives after perfection: everyone should be successful and without problems. “Can having a child, who is perceived as less perfect, be seen as something that stands in the way of the success and happiness of parents?”

In an article in Vart Land, Goksør pointed out that she is not diagnosed with Down syndrome, but that she is “Marte, unique, like everyone else.” She asserts that she is “fully viable and wants to be part of the community with her resources, without being grouped, and thus invisible.”

She perceives the new biotechnology law as a “state-wanted project to exterminate a group of people.” In the past, people with Down syndrome were hidden in barns. Nowadays, they are removed before they are even born, Goksør says.

Confrontation with Prime Minister

Goksør, born in 1982, wrote two books – “I want to live” and “Same who we are” – and is currently working on her third.

Earlier, in 2011, Goksør became known as a political activist, as she confronted Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg about his program that provided pregnant women with a free early ultrasound. She feared then too that the number of aborted foetuses with Down syndrome would rise.

She is also part of the Menneskeverd, an organisation that stands up against abortions. In 2012, she received the Human Dignity Prize for her fight for equality and the right to life for everyone. In addition, over time, she was rewarded with several other prizes, such as the NFU’s Honorary Award, the Life Protection Award, and the SOR Award.

Goksør studied drama at Hartvig Nissen School and at Romerike folk high school. She performed on several stages, including the Torshow Theatre and the National Theatre, and wrote her performance, called “What the hell is the problem”.

Number Down babies decreased

Earlier this month, it was reported that the number of Down babies decreased since the year 2000. However, the number of pregnancies with Down has increased.

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