The parents of a girl with Down syndrome have caused a public outcry in the U.K. by subjecting their daughter to cosmetic surgery to improve her appearance.
Georgia Bussey underwent "radical and painful" cosmetic surgery three times by age 5 so she could "fit in" with her peers, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported Sunday.
Parents of another girl with Down syndrome told the paper that they were also considering altering her appearance in the future so she could be more "accepted.”
Critics in the U.K. slammed the parents, with some even claiming the procedures were tantamount to child abuse. However, the parents hit back, saying that no one complained when "normal" children had their ears pinned back.
"Why should it be any different for a Downs child?" asked Georgia’s mother Kim Bussey.
Bussey said she and her husband David were motivated by love for their child and deliberated for a year before putting her through the ordeal.
In the first procedure, Georgia's tongue was reduced to stop it from protruding, according to the paper. Then folds of skin were removed from the inner corners of her eyes to take away the "slantiness characteristic" of Down syndrome. Finally, she had surgery to stop her ears from sticking out.
Bussey said society often judges people on the way they look.
"Society is not going to change overnight – so Georgia has to fit into society, rather than society fitting into the way she is," she said.
Another couple, Laurence and Chelsea Kirwan, told the newspaper they were considering surgical procedures for their two-year-old Down syndrome daughter, Ophelia.
Dr. Laurence Kirwan, a world-renowned plastic surgeon with offices in the U.K. and Connecticut, said they would make that decision if Ophelia reached the age of 18 and was being unfairly judged on how she looked.