Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Checking the facts ...

Many in the Down syndrome community, both families and professionals, are concerned that non-invasive prenatal screening tests will lead to even higher termination rates of babies with Down syndrome, without parents having access to the information they need to make the most informed decisions they can, in difficult circumstances.

But it will not help efforts to improve the provision of appropriate  and sensitive information, to have inaccurate statistics and claims made in mainstream media.

This week, a story in a UK newspaper has been 'trending' in social media, but the statistics quoted are disputed by Frank Buckley, CEO of Down Syndrome Education International, who has followed and commented on the emergence of non-invasive prenatal screening and its predicted impacts for some years. Frank is a renowned fact-checker:

Selective terminations of babies with Down syndrome have not risen by 35% in three years
Frank Buckley, Frank Talk (Down Syndrome Education International blog), 14th June 2015
A piece in the UK Mail on Sunday claims Department of Health statistics show “women choosing to abort babies with Down’s syndrome and other serious disabilities soars 34% in three years” and that “the biggest proportion was linked to Down’s syndrome, with 693 terminations last year compared with 512 in 2011″. Data collected by the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) shows this is not the case ...
Why do counts of terminations of pregnancies diagnosed with Down syndrome in England and Wales differ?
Frank Buckley, Frank Talk (Down Syndrome Education International blog), 15th June 2015
Following yesterday’s Mail on Sunday article and my observation that the data quoted was wrong, many people have asked how the Department of Health abortion statistics can be so different from the terminations recorded by the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register ...

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