Nine in 10 pregnant women in the U.K. who know their child will have Down syndrome abort the baby, The Telegraph reported this week.
As a result, the number of newborns with Down syndrome has fallen by 54% in the country since a controversial screening test became available in recent years. Although the test has been available for nearly a decade, the UK’s National Health Service began offering it in 2018.
The test, called non-invasive prenatal testing, involves taking a simple blood sample from the mother and looking for DNA belonging to the unborn child. In 2016, the test was touted by some as one that could save hundreds of babies who might otherwise be miscarried after pregnant mothers would undergo a more invasive test in which a needle was inserted into the womb. Clearly, though, the resulting increase in abortions is outweighing any reduction in miscarriages.
The report also noted significant reductions in other countries of births of babies with Down syndrome. Southern Europe had a 71% reduction, Northern Europe 51% and Eastern Europe 38%.
Pro-life advocates have expressed dismay over aborting babies on the basis of genetic conditions. In the United States, Lila Rose of Live Action posted on Facebook Dec. 13: “Killing an innocent baby with Down syndrome doesn’t ‘eliminate suffering.’ It isn’t ‘scientific progress.’ It isn’t a ‘choice’ or a ‘right.’ It is a profound wrong. Every baby deserves to be welcomed into his or her family—including those with Down syndrome.”