UK: Cleft Lip, Club Foot Abortions 10X More Than Reported

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 5, 2013   |   4:54PM   |   Washington, DC

In a shocking new report, the London Telegraph newspaper indicates European researchers show abortions done on babies with minor disabilities that doctors ca easily correct is ten times higher than previously indicated.

Although babies with club feet or cleft palates can undergo surgery to correct the physical problems, mothers and couples are still having abortions when the conditions are diagnosed in the womb. And Eurocat, an agency set up to monitor congenital abnormalities across 23 countries says 157 unborn babies were aborted in England and Wales who had been shown to have a cleft lip from 2006 and 2010.

However, the newspaper says the UK government, via the Department of Health, records only 14 such abortions during that time.

Another 250 babies were killed in abortions because they had a club foot and, again, officially government figures paint a different story — showing them at a lower number.

The Telegraph has more on the discrepancies:

The differences are due to the sources of data. Eurocat tracks what happens once a foetus has been identified with an abnormality, with its data coming from foetal medicine specialists, ultrasonographers and genetic testing laboratories.

The Department of Health’s figures come from the forms doctors have to fill in when carrying out abortions.

Campaigners said doctors who carried out abortions were failing to record the true reason for the termination, either to spare the women’s feelings or avoid controversy.

Joan Morris, national co-ordinator for Eurocat and professor of medical statistics at Queen Mary, University of London, said the group also found the number of babies aborted in 2010 for Down’s Syndrome was double that recorded officially – 886 compared to 482.

Joanna Jepson, a curate of the Church of England, for years has sought to charge doctors who performed a late-term abortion solely because the child had a cleft palate. Jepson argued that a cleft lip was not a “serious handicap,” which British law requires as a condition for allowing a late-term abortion.

“My teenage years were difficult due to facial abnormality,” Jepson, who had a cleft palate, said . “I also have a brother with Down’s syndrome. We both live positive and fulfilling lives.



“I think the first point is that right from the beginning, a cleft palate cannot be reasonable grounds for a late abortion,” Jepson added.

“I understand more than most how much importance today’s society places on appearance,” said Jepson. “I had to deal with bullies because the doctors couldn’t do anything until my bones stopped growing. When I was 19 they broke the lower part of my face and reset it.”

“The reconstruction made such a difference to the way people treated me,” Jepson said. “I think we have to challenge the bullies.”