Down Syndrome and Abortion the facts

Abortion campaigners and the media have been trying to silence people with Down Syndrome and their families this week, insisting that the shocking reality of the 90+% abortion rates for babies with the condition should not feature in the debate.

They have disputed both the right of parents to speak out about their child’s right to life, and the statistics which have emerged in the debate. However, the facts are both deeply shocking and incontrovertible:

The Facts

In Britain, 90% of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted before birth according to the National Down Syndrome Cytogenic Register.  

In Denmark, the Danish Cytogenetic Central Register, shows an average of 98% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth are aborted each year. 

In 2016, according to official figures  137 preborn babies were diagnosed the condition in Denmark. 133 children were aborted while just 4 were born. Six years previously, in 2010, of the 156 babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero, every single one was aborted.  

This shocking and tragic reality is not brought about by chance. In a 2015 interview with Vice News, the Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the University of Copenhagen, said: "I think that Danish women are less sentimental about aborting malformed fetuses partly because that view is supported by professional medical staff. Recommending abortions isn't an obligation but we give very realistic prognoses..... We give parents realistic expectations about future problems and generally, women carrying fetuses with severe malformations are recommended to terminate the pregnancy." 

In Iceland, almost 100% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted, because the take-up for screening is very high and almost all babies then have their lives ended. According to official statistics reported in the Icelandic Parliament in the period from 2008-2012, all babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in Iceland were aborted. Speaking to the Citizens Assembly in Dublin last year Prof Peter McParland, the director of Fetal Maternal Medicine at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, addressed this issue saying: "In some countries there will be some that will have no Down syndrome baby. The science has got way ahead of the ethical discussion. As a society we have not reflected on what the implications are".  

Some abortion campaigners have pointed out that Iceland has a small population, and the figures coming out of that country are easily misrepresented. However, the incidence of Down syndrome occurs in 1 in every 1,000 births approximately, and there are some 4,200 births in Iceland every year. Over any given four year period, you would expect some babies to be born with Down syndrome. But between 2008 and 2012 there were none. They were all aborted.

The Irish abortion proposal

Commentators have insisted that, because the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee did not specifically  include abortion on disability grounds, Ireland will avoid the near-eradication of babies with Down syndrome seen elsewhere.  

They are being naïve or dishonest. The Oireachtas Committee claims to have heard expert advice on the availability of abortion in other countries so they will be well aware then of the outcomes from countries like Germany.  

In GERMANY, most likely given the historical context of the part eugenics played in Nazi Germany, there is no right to abort a baby on disability grounds. However, according to research, more than 90% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted in that country, with the median gestation of 15 weeks for the preborn baby. It is likely those abortions take place on ‘mental health of the mother’ grounds, just as they will in Ireland.

In 2017, an 18-year-old from Cologne, Natalie Dedreux, stunned German Chancellor Angela Merkel live on TV when she said to her:  “Nine out of ten babies with Down Syndrome in Germany aren’t born. A baby with Down Syndrome can be aborted days before the birth, in what is called ‘late stage abortion.’ My colleagues and I want to know what your opinion on late stage abortion is, Mrs Merkel. Why can babies with Down Syndrome be aborted shortly before birth? “I don’t want to be aborted, I want to be born”.

Watch the interaction here...

Is that what we want for Ireland? #SaveThe8th