The introduction of controversial prenatal screenings for Down’s syndrome in Scotland is very likely to lead to more abortions, a campaign group has warned.
Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), which tests unborn babies for certain conditions more accurately, is now being implemented in NHS hospitals across Scotland.
But Don’t Screen Us Out has called on the Scottish Government to consider the impact it will have on the number of children who may be aborted.
Spokeswoman Lynn Murray said: “Disability campaigners have repeatedly called on the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland to carry out an impact assessment of the proposed rollout. Sadly these calls have been ignored.
“Figures released last year realised the fears of the Down’s syndrome community that rolling out these tests would lead to a large drop in the number of babies with Down’s syndrome”.
She added: “We are calling on Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Government to undertake an urgent inquiry into the obvious concerns and the impact that these tests are having on birth numbers of babies with Down’s syndrome.”
The UK Government is planning to introduce NIPT in all NHS hospitals in England in 2021. It is already available in Wales.
Last year, actress Sally Phillips spoke out against prenatal screenings for Down’s syndrome, as they lead to more abortions of unborn children with the condition.
In an article in The Sunday Times, Phillips recalled how when her son Olly was diagnosed with the condition she was met with almost entirely negative reactions.
The newspaper also reported that the number of babies born with Down’s syndrome had fallen by 30 per cent in hospitals where NIPT had been introduced.