Michael Cox and Taylor Anderton just want to tie the knot, have four kids, and enjoy the rest of their lives together, but their families are balking at the second part of the young Australian couple's plan. Not because they're in a Montague-and-Capulet-style feud, but because they worry Cox and Anderton—dating for nearly two years, engaged for almost one—won't be able to handle parental responsibilities, since they both have Down syndrome, Australia Story reports. "That makes me feel very worried, apprehensive, and concerned," Anderton's mom says, and Cox's dad agrees: "I don't see parenthood being something that they're going to achieve, or really they probably should achieve." He notes it would be "very difficult" for the couple to handle not only day-to-day activities such as having jobs and driving, but also parenting skills such as helping out with homework and dealing with adolescent issues.
The couple gained recognition in May when a clip about them aired on ABC Australia. A geneticist tells Australia Story a couple with Down syndrome becoming pregnant is a rarity, and that if they did conceive, chances would be about 50-50 they'd have a child with Down syndrome. Michelle O'Flynn, director of Queensland Advocacy Inc., notes the couple's parents could try to block a pregnancy by getting a sterilization order, though she says they'd probably fail and that that option is "abhorrent." Disability advocates like O'Flynn say it's Cox and Anderton's right to retain "bodily integrity" and reproduce if they want. But Cox's dad dismisses that, noting, "[The advocates are] not the ones picking up the pieces." Michael Cox understands their parents' concern, noting, "Their heart is in the right place," but he says they're "overprotective." (A Nova Scotia dad calls his son's Down syndrome "beautiful.")