Discrimination against people with Down syndrome begins before birth.
But while discrimination is widely condemned when it targets individuals outside the womb, it often gets ignored before the individual is born. Worse, discrimination-based abortions are becoming acceptable in much of society.
This week, the Supreme Court of India is considering whether to allow a mother to abort one of her unborn twins because of a Down syndrome diagnosis, Live Law reports.
The mother, Komal Hiwale, 33, filed a petition in mid-May requesting permission to have a late-term abortion after the baby was diagnosed with Down syndrome, according to the report.
India prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Recently, however, the nation’s courts have been granting exceptions for late-term abortions in cases of rape and fetal anomalies.
On Wednesday, the high court ordered a medical board at JJ Hospitals to provide a recommendation on the woman’s case and include an expert in fetal medicine on its board, according to the report. The court asked the doctors to report about the potential risks to the mother and/or the other twin.
Because the mother already is 24 weeks pregnant, the court asked the medical board to make its recommendation by Saturday, the report continues.
Hiwale filed the petition after one of her unborn twins was diagnosed with Down syndrome in early May. According to the report, she conceived the twins with fertility treatments.
A lower court in Bombay refused her request based on the recommendations of a medical board, but she appealed to the Supreme Court, the report states.
The lower court decided that the risks of an abortion would be too high to the mother and other twin. It ruled: “It is clear from the above Observations and Opinion of the obstetrician and gynecologist that if at all the diseased foetus is sought to be terminated, the risk of such selective termination could result in abortion of the other foetus or even abortion of the wrong foetus as there is no specific differentiating feature, and it becomes difficult to identify the affected foetus between the two fetuses. The procedure could also damage the other foetus without death. There can be growth restriction of the remaining foetus.”
The judges noted that the potential risks to the mother also were high, including pre-term labor, hemorrhage, infection, retained products of conception and depression.
Unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions at astronomical rates. A recent CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory abortion trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to CBS.
But when children with Down syndrome are loved and provided basic human rights, they thrive. Today, people with Down syndrome are graduating from high school and college, getting married and starting their own businesses. But no matter what their abilities, every child is precious and valuable and deserves a right to life.