Eighty-four percent of Norway Down’s syndrome diagnoses result in abortion, study claims

A newly published Norwegian study of prenatal detection of Down's syndrome, trisomy 21, claims that 84 percent of babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in Norway are aborted. The study also says that prenatal detection of Down’s syndrome was “poor” during the study period, which lasted from 1987 to 2004. The poor detection rate could mean that false “positives” have led to the abortion of healthy children.

The study was conducted by the Norwegian National Center for Fetal Medicine and published in the August 2008 issue of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, LifeSiteNews.com says. The study used data in which all cases of Down’s syndrome were registered and detected either by genetic testing through amniocentesis or post-birth evaluation.
The study found prenatal testing to be highly inaccurate, saying “the prenatal detection rate was only 43 percent.”

The study results are consistent with other research finding that prenatal screening is less accurate than previously thought. A report published in the journal Nature in 2006 found that prenatal screening may have incorrectly diagnosed genetic variations as defects, possibly leading to selective abortion based on inaccurate reports of genetic abnormality.

A study published by Brian Skotko of the National Down's Syndrome Congress in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2005 found medical professionals are inclined to offer abortion to mothers after amniocentesis testing indicates Down’s Syndrome.

Noting that it is now standard to offer pregnant women prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome, especially women over 35, Skotko said such testing “does not give a certain diagnosis of Down's Syndrome, but only a percentage possibility.”

Skotko said that even uncertain prenatal diagnoses of Down’s syndrome have resulted in an abortion rate as high as 90 percent for fetuses when diagnosed.

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