British Doctors Advise Women With Down Syndrome Babies to Have Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Doctors Advise Women With Down Syndrome Babies to Have Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 22, 2006

London, England ( — Most British doctors who are treating pregnant women with unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are telling their patients to have abortions. However, one woman who was told at 35 weeks of pregnancy to have a dangerous late-term abortion chose life for her son and has no regrets about her decision.

Official figures show as many as 94 percent of women with babies with Down syndrome are having abortions.

The statistics show the number of abortions is also on the rise as more than 900 babies were aborted in 2004 while just 293 were killed before birth in 1989.

Women are also being told more frequently to have late-term abortions after the 24 week legal limit for most other abortions in Britain and 11 women had late-term abortions of Down syndrome babies last year alone.

But not Lisa Green.

Green’s obstetrician informed her that her child would grow up to be "mentally retarded," she told the London Daily Mail newspaper. But the 35 year-old rejected her doctor’s advice to have an abortion at 35 weeks into the pregnancy.

Two weeks after the suggestion she have an abortion, she gave birth to a baby boy she named Harrison. He is now a much-loved son and the Daily Mail reports the two year-old just started nursery school.

Green described to the London newspaper what happened when she and her 33 year-old fireman husband Tim were given the news.

"The doctor said, "I have some bad news — your baby has Down syndrome,’" she said. "We were both in total shock but this was considerably worsened when he said, "You can have a termination.’"

"My baby was fully-formed and his name was decided. I was appalled," she told the Daily Mail.

Green accused the doctor of pressuring her to have an abortion by telling her only negative things about having a mentally handicapped baby.

"The doctor urged us to think about the termination and how having a baby with "mental retardation" would affect our lives," she said. "He listed only the potential negatives about Down syndrome, without giving us any information to read for a more balanced view."

"The midwife tried to interject and offer us some leaflets but he talked her down. The frightening thing is, had we been told by the same doctor about Down syndrome earlier in the pregnancy, there is a chance we might have decided to abort," she said.

Still, green has no regrets about her decision to keep Harrison.

"We don’t know what we’d do without Harrison – he’s so adored," she said.

A spokesman for the Down Syndrome Association told the Daily Mail newspaper that British doctors need to learn more about the condition and realize that a baby with it can have a loving, fulfilling life.

"Some health professionals have outdated or prejudiced views about people with Down Syndrome, owing to a lack of training about the condition. They are unable to therefore provide a balanced view on what life would be like for a family who had a child with the condition," the representative said.

"The Down Syndrome Association does not consider Down Syndrome a reason for termination. People with Down Syndrome can, and do, lead full and rewarding lives," the spokesman added.