Study: Higher Use of Detailed Ultrasounds Yields More Abortions of Disabled Babies

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study: Higher Use of Detailed Ultrasounds Yields More Abortions of Disabled Babies

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 30
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A new study involving researchers at Cornell University finds that a more frequent use of detailed ultrasound on women who have babies with majority physical abnormalities results in more abortions.

While ultrasounds have increased a respect for the lives of unborn children and are credited with helping more than 80 percent of women choose abortion alternatives, the study shows they can be used for a destructive purpose as well.

The Cornell researchers, who published their study in the Journal of Ultrasound Medicine, evaluated the impact of restrictive versus routine use of "detailed" second-trimester sonography.

They reviewed records of women with pregnancies involving one unborn child who were evaluated from 2004 to 2008.

The women all received a detailed examination and major structural abnormalities were categorized on the basis of whether the problem would have been diagnosed in a "basic" examination without the extensive use of an ultrasound.

The study found major abnormalities in 218 of the unborn children examined by the ultrasound, and 75 of the mothers decided to have an abortion after learning they were pregnant with severely disabled babies.

The study found that 88 of the babies, 40.4 percent of those involved in the study, would not have been diagnosed with the abnormalities in a more basic evaluation without the extensive ultrasound.

"Restricting detailed evaluation to those with risk factors would have prevented detection of a substantial proportion of anomalies," the authors concluded.

The use of abortion to kill disabled babies has been a hot topic with the pro-life community as rates of abortions on babies with issues such as Down syndrome or other conditions are quite high.

In October 2008, President Bush signed into law legislation focusing on reducing the number of abortions done on disabled unborn children.

The Pre-natally and Post-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act requires giving families who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other condition, pre-natally or up until a year after birth, pertinent helpful information.

The information would include facts about the condition and connections to support services and networks that could offer assistance in raising a disabled child.

Senator Sam Brownback was the prime sponsor of the bill in the Senate and he told he’s delighted President Bush put his signature on it.

“President Bush signed into law a bill that will help an untold number of expecting parents who learn that their unborn child may be born with a disability,” he said.

“This is a great victory for the culture of life we should all seek to promote," Brownback added. "Currently, 90 percent of children pre-natally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. That number is much too high and suggests that we as a society are not doing everything we can to protect every human life, at every stage.”

That percentage of babies who die from abortions is similar for children pre-natally diagnosed with other conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism.

The plight of Down syndrome babies received significant attention thanks to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, who gave birth to a baby with the condition last year.

Reference – J Ultrasound Med 28:1015-1018 • 0278-4297
Abstract –

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