Well, no, not really

UK Down’s syndrome births halve as parents opt for blood test to identify the condition

That doesn’t, in itself, change the number, does it?

Nine-in-ten women in the UK who know their child will have the condition have an abortion

That does though.

No, not an argument about abortion or not – just making that logical note about the headline.

26 thoughts on “Well, no, not really”

  1. When my wife was pregnant with our youngest at 36 years of age, she was offered an amniocentesis test. We declined as we would not abort a foetus if it had Down’s syndrome.

  2. DB = yes, if the confirmation doesn’t make a difference why get the early information? I remember reading the test itself carries a 1 p.c. risk of inducing miscarriage. If that’s true 1% of that 10% have lead to an untimely unnecessary death of downs and non downs babies. Which is (also) tragic.

  3. Nine-in-ten women in the UK who know their child will have the condition have an abortion

    I’m not a fan of the whole “Lifestyle abortion” thing by any means, but reliable testing (which is the key) followed by an informed decision by the parents of the foetus as to whether to abort or not seems like a reasonable, albeit not ideal choice. Yes, this will unfortunately mean that false positives will be detected and otherwise healthy foetuses will be aborted, but given that Downs syndrome is a lifelong disability with whole life dependency, significant associated medical and care costs the balance seems justified.

    If abortion was legal only for rape, incest and severe disability such as Downs syndrome then I would be okay with that, even though I know others views differ. However, that only works in a climate where the best interests of the child are genuinely considered and not the political correctness of adoptive parents. We seem to have strayed a long way away from that.

  4. The “a-word” is in the subheading as well as the second sentence, and continues to appear throughout the article.

    “Nine-in-ten people in the UK who know their child will have Down’s have an abortion.” seems pretty far from “avoiding” the word.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    Uncomortable as I am with the idea of abortions I note that:

    The findings, published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, come ahead of widespread adoption of even more sensitive blood tests. They will detect the likelihood of a chromosomal condition in a foetus as early as nine weeks instead of the current 11 to 14.

    Anything that brings forward the decision has to be at least a better process. The downside is were getting ever closer to designer babies, if we aren’t there already.

    Like Mrs DocBud, Mrs BiND didn’t have the test for that same reason.

  6. But we’ve been told that PCR tests reduce disease. It’s Government policy.

    If we all tested for cancer the population would be cancer free in no time.

  7. The downside is were getting ever closer to designer babies, if we aren’t there already.

    If not us it’ll be someone else. It might even become necessary to counter all the dodgy genes we’re putting in the population via medical science enabling their reproduction.

  8. Designer genes? On the face of it when I look at the cabinet and conclude we are already in the age predicted by Idiocracy.

  9. Earlier this year, my daughter gave birth to a gorgeous boy, who has Down’s. His development, whilst a little slow, is encouraging. We wouldn’t be without him.

  10. “If abortion was legal only for rape, incest and severe disability …”: the first two mean that you plan to abort a baby because her father is a criminal.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    However, that only works in a climate where the best interests of the child are genuinely considered

    How does one reconcile the best interests of the child with the acceptance of abortion of Down’s as well as cases of incest and rape? I am genuinely curious how your mind works here.

    Once we have rejected the best interests of the child for some – as you have – how can you bring it back for the rest?

  12. MrsBud has a cousin with Down’s syndrome and, at different times in my life, I have interacted with people with Down’s syndrome on a volunteer basis. They have the same emotions as everyone else and are capable of leading fulfilling lives. One girl who I worked with as an adult literacy volunteer learned to read at a basic level and the achievement brought her great pleasure.

    It is typically a lifetime commitment for parents, but studies of families with a member who has Down’s syndrome find overwhelmingly positive attitudes.

  13. How does one reconcile the best interests of the child with the acceptance of abortion of Down’s as well as cases of incest and rape?

    Because sometimes the best interests of the child are in not bringing it to full term into a life in which it is disabled for life. If Downs syndrome could be cured or otherwise mitigated it would be a different matter, but it cannot. Aborting a foetus while it is unborn and not in any way sentient is not ideal but far better than bringing it into a world where its disability will affect its whole life to the extent that it will never be genuinely independent.

    If you can’t see that then you have no humanity.

  14. So abortion based on a test could lead to designer babies. How is that different to the how it was done in the way and distant past. Or more recently in other countries. Before abortion was invented, the baby would be born but then rejected and sometimes literally thrown on the rubbish heap. Parents will always want to have the best child possible. There are exceptions where the parent is happy with a child no matter what their disability, but they are in the minority because of the emotional and financial cost. State provided health care mitigates that, but only when the information provided to the parents to make the choice is useful and not biased.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    John Galt December 31, 2020 at 6:19 am – “Because sometimes the best interests of the child are in not bringing it to full term into a life in which it is disabled for life.”

    Is it? On what basis do you make that judgement? My experience of people is that they prefer being alive to being not-alive.

    “Aborting a foetus while it is unborn and not in any way sentient is not ideal but far better than bringing it into a world where its disability will affect its whole life to the extent that it will never be genuinely independent.”

    That begs several questions. The minor one is how do you know it is not sentient? The major one is if you say that being independent is the criteria, why can’t someone put their grandmother down? If she will not, for the rest of her life, be independent.

    “If you can’t see that then you have no humanity.”

    You’re killing babies because they are expensive and inconvenient and yet you think *I* lack humanity? I think you need to re-think your prior assumptions. It is not even as if they will be in pain. They deserve to die just because they need care.

  16. @DocBud…It is typically a lifetime commitment for parents, but studies of families with a member who has Down’s syndrome find overwhelmingly positive attitudes.

    If you come from a large family you will likely have one of everything, including someone with Down’s. I also have cousin with DS – a popular lad with lots of sports trophies, now well into his 40s. When his parents died his eldest sibling took over. He too is now deceased and his wife has taken on the responsibility. I struggle to rationalise the toll on parents, siblings that have had to take second place, eldest sibling’s wife and their children. But I guess that’s what families are for?

  17. I find it rather inhumane to argue that it’s better to kill the baby if it will “never be genuinely independent.” That’s quite a low bar for accepting getting rid of inconvenient people.

  18. >My experience of people is that they prefer being alive to being not-alive.
    Surely suicide is a revealed preference?

  19. >studies of families with a member who has Down’s syndrome find overwhelmingly positive attitudes.
    Given that 90% of babies with Down’s are aborted, would this not be selection bias?

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