Tuesday 27 October 2009

SPUC to use research to combat abortion for disability

The Daily Telegraph reports that three babies are aborted in this country every day because it is thought that they have Down's syndrome. We have, of course, long been aware of widespread abortion for suspected disability and, as Janet Thomas of No Less Human told me, every abortion of a Down's child is a tragedy. She says that statistics can sometimes get in the way of the human beings involved, and that parents tend to be told of the negative aspects of having a Down's child rather than the positive ones.

We at SPUC are responding to this news by proposing two pieces of research. We must find out whether pre-abortion counselling includes a warning that women are more likely to suffer psychologically if they abort a child because of his or her disability.

We'll also carry out research among politicians. We'll ask them whether they support abortion on the grounds of gender or race. I hope that few of them will. We'll then ask them if they support abortion because of disability. If they do, we'll ask how they can reconcile that with opposing abortion because of the baby's sex or skin colour.

The research among politicians will begin with questionnaires to UK MPs but will be extended to other elected representatives.

The increased likelihood of psychological problems among women who abort because of their babies' disability is described in The psychosocial sequelae of a second-trimester termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality by M C A White-Van Mourik, J M Connor and M A Ferguson-Smith, published in Prenatal diagnosis in 1992.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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