Investigation finds half of Down syndrome abortions missing from register

An investigation into terminations of Down’s Syndrome foetuses in the UK has revealed that half of these abortions go unrecorded.

The probe was conducted by the independent National Down’s Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDCR), an organisation that is notified of any Down’s Syndrome diagnoses and can track the progress of pregnancies.

They found that out of 994 terminations, only 496 were properly recorded. Out of the 498 missing cases, around 50 had been recorded but alternative reasons given. It is unclear whether the other 450 were recorded in some capacity, or simply conducted off the register.  

Tory MP Fiona Bruce, chairman of the recent independent parliamentary inquiry into abortion for disability, said it was clear doctors had broken the law: “Worryingly, the department appears to have made no attempt to see that the law is properly enforced,” she said.

“We now know that nearly half of abortions for Down’s Syndrome were incorrectly recorded. How many doctors were referred for investigation? None.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said they were working with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to tighten up the system.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | abortion, Down syndrome, professional misconduct

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