Patricia Heaton is best known for her starring roles on hit television series such as “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle” — but now the actress is at the center of a inflammatory debate.
On Monday, Heaton lashed out on social media in response to an article about Down syndrome that was published by CBS News.
The article detailed the lowering birth rates of children with Down syndrome in Iceland, which has been linked to an increase in prenatal screening tests.
According to CBS News, roughly 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women in Iceland test for Down syndrome during pregnancy, and nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive tests decide to abort the baby.
That means just one or two children with Down syndrome are born in Iceland each year. Helga Sol Olafsdottir from the Landspitali University Hospital in Iceland told CBS News:
“We don't look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication... preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that's so black and white. Life isn't black and white. Life is grey.”
But Heaton disagreed with some of the thoughts expressed in the article, and she let her Twitter followers know.
She shared the story, along with some harsh words. The “Everybody Loves Raymond” star wrote:
“Iceland isn't actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They're just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
The actor then went on to share a number of tweets from fans, who said that they agreed with her message.
All of the tweets seemed to be from families who had direct ties to a child with Down syndrome.
Heaton's original tweet now has more than 9,000 likes and 5,000 retweets, and received even more comments from people who have been touched by Down syndrome in their lives.
CBS News has not responded to Heaton's tweet, but it seems her message struck a chord with many of her fans.