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Nearly 90% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome were aborted in 2021

In 2021, nearly 90% of all babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England and the Crown Dependencies had their lives ended by abortion, according to statistics released by NHS England.

Statistics released by NHS England this morning reveal that 87.26% of all babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England and the Crown Dependencies had their lives ended by abortion in 2021.

The statistics reveal that in 2021, out of 1,115 babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England and the Crown Dependencies, a total of 973, or 87.26%, had their lives ended by abortion. 2020 figures show that 84.28% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England had their lives ended by abortion. The data for 2020 does not include the Crown Dependencies.

A total of 700 babies in England and the Crown Dependencies were born with Down’s syndrome, including those diagnosed after birth.

In addition to these figures, the statistics also reveal that 108 babies with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate and 53 babies with a club foot in England and the Crown Dependencies had their lives ended by abortion..

The release of the statistics comes in the same week that Sir Liam Fox, former GP, cabinet minister and defence secretary, tabled an amendment to the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill, signed by 40 MPs, which will bring the abortion time limit for babies with Down’s syndrome in line with the time limit for babies that do not have disabilities.

The campaign group, Don’t Screen Us Out, has reacted to the publishing of the statistics by calling on MPs to urgently update legislation to ensure that babies with Down’s syndrome cannot be aborted up to birth.

Lynn Murray, spokesperson for Don’t Screen Us Out and mother of Rachel who has Down’s syndrome, said“It is deeply saddening to see the shockingly high percentage of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome who are screened out by abortion”. 

“As a mother of a 24-year-old daughter who has Down’s syndrome, I see every day the unique value she brings to our family and the positive impact she has on others around her”.

“These statistics show the urgent need for MPs to update legislation to ensure that babies with Down’s syndrome cannot be aborted up to birth”.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said “These are deeply sad figures and appear to reflect a deep and ongoing prejudice against having a baby with Down’s syndrome”.

“Heidi Crowter’s landmark case against the UK Government over the disability clause in the current law has put this issue on the national stage. Thankfully, MPs are now moving to ensure that babies with Down’s syndrome cannot have their lives deliberately ended between 24 weeks and birth”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.