Abortion Campaigners Desperate to Exclude Down Syndrome


As people become more familiar with the government’s plans for a liberal abortion regime in Ireland, the implications of such a barbaric law are becoming clearer. Among these are the fact that it will facilitate the abortion of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Minister for Health Simon Harris says it is “insensitive” to suggest that Irish women would have abortions for this reason. If he looked at the official British abortion statistics, he would know that some Irish women do, in fact, have abortions because their babies have Down syndrome. In 2016 (the most recent year for which figures are available) the number was at least 43. The figures only show abortions performed after 24 weeks, and do not include earlier abortions included under “health” grounds.


Mr Harris, and others who want to get rid of the 8th Amendment, are desperate to keep Down syndrome out of the debate because they know the vast majority of people would consider abortion for Down syndrome to be abhorrent.


Dr Peter Boylan, the vociferously pro-repeal head of the Institute of Obstetricians, admitted that it is technically possible to diagnose chromosomal abnormality indicating that a foetus has Down syndrome before 12 weeks' gestation, but claimed the diagnosis can rarely or realistically be achieved within that timeframe.


This ignores the fact that there is currently no particular demand to have results before 12 weeks. A woman who travels to England for an abortion because her baby has Down syndrome can do this as easily at 13 or 14 weeks (or up to 24 weeks). If the proposed abortion law were enacted, there would be a demand for test results before 12 weeks and, since this is possible (blood tests for chromosomal anomalies can be done at 9 weeks), it is unrealistic to suggest that this demand would not be met. It also ignores the fact that these tests are becoming more accurate and less expensive. It will not always be the case that the tests have to be sent abroad for analysis.


Ironically, Dr Boylan claims that it is those who suggest that disability will be eliminated by enacting legislation in line with the recommendations of the Oireachtas committee who are misleading.


Recent developments in testing for possible Down syndrome in the unborn were also addressed last year at the Citizens' Assembly by Dr Peter McParland, a Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist whose sub-specialty is Fetal Medicine. He told the gathering that non-invasive pre-natal testing could be done "as early as 10 weeks".


Dr McParland also said that, although the test was very expensive initially, the price had come down considerably with a greater uptake from patients. He predicted that it was likely to come down even further, making it more accessible to patients. Today the institute said the current price is €500 or more. Dr McParland also stated that the test is 99% accurate for diagnosing "common chromosome problems which would include Down's, Edwards and Patau syndrome".


Pro-abortion campaigners, journalists, and politicians, would have people believe that raising the issue of Down syndrome is exploiting people with the condition. So, is it exploitative to try to save people’s lives or to facilitate their killing?

Family & Life. January 31.

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