The Supreme Court of India upheld the right to life of an unborn baby with Down syndrome on Tuesday after the child’s mother requested permission to have a late-term abortion.
Abortions are illegal in India after 20 weeks, except in cases where the woman’s life is at risk. The Free Press Journal reports the high court rejected the woman’s appeal on Tuesday, saying her life was not at risk and her baby should not be aborted simply because of the genetic condition.
“It is sad that the child may suffer from physical and mental challenges and it’s unfortunate for the mother but we can’t allow an abortion…We have a life in our hands,” the court said.
The justices also said while people with Down syndrome may be “less intelligent,” they are “fine people.”
Here’s more from the report:
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves sought termination of the foetus, saying as per the medical report the child was likely to have severe mental and physical challenges. …
In her plea, the mother-to-be said that the law allowed termination of pregnancy in extreme cases if it caused grave injury to the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman and if there was a substantial risk of the child suffering from physical and mental abnormalities after birth.
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She contended that Down syndrome was not curable and could cause physical and mental retardation to the child who would not have a normal and healthy life.
The woman is 26 weeks pregnant, which is both past the point of viability and past the legal abortion limit in India, according to the report.
This life-affirming decision out of India comes at a time when babies with Down syndrome and other genetic disorders are being targeted for abortions. Not one single baby with Down syndrome has been born in Iceland in the past five years, a trend largely attributed to an increase in the availability of genetic testing.
Data from other European countries shows similar targeting. Estimates in England put the rate of abortions for babies with Down syndrome at 92 percent. Figures from Denmark found 98 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome were aborted in 2014.
As LifeNews reported in 2015, abortion after prenatal diagnosis has reduced the population of individuals living with Down syndrome in the U.S. by approximately 30%. In a 2012 report in Prenatal Diagnosis, researchers calculated a weighted mean across the U.S. of a 67% termination rate following prenatal diagnosis.
Parents of children with disabilities, pro-lifers, disability rights advocates and others are urging governments to stop this discriminatory eugenic trend before we become a “Down syndrome-free world.”