New UK report finds medical staff assume abortion follows diagnosis of downs

A new report has found ongoing systemic discrimination towards expectant parents of babies with Down’s Syndrome (DS).

Sharing the News‘ – a survey conducted by Positive about Down Syndrome (PADS) in 2018, in conjunction with Don’t Screen Us Out and the Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation UK (DSRF) of 1,410 women who have given birth to a baby with DS since 2000, reveals that there is an assumption by medical professionals that an expectant woman will terminate when discovering their baby has DS. The report found that on receiving news that the baby has DS.

• 69% of women were offered a termination.

• After advising they were continuing with the pregnancy 46% of women were asked again if they wished to terminate.

On receiving news that the baby had a high chance of having DS (greater than 1:150)

• 91% of women were offered further tests.

• Of those who declined further tests, 44% felt under pressure to test further.

• After advising they were continuing with the pregnancy 50% of women were offered termination again.

Nicola Enoch, founder of PADS is concerned that women “are making life or death decisions influenced by outdated and prejudicial views by many medical professionals.

“Expectant women are not given accurate information about the reality of life with Down’s Syndrome. There is very limited support and an overriding assumption to terminate. It is no wonder that 90% of women go on to terminate given these circumstances.