Controversial Down’s syndrome test introduced in Wales

Wales has become the first part of the UK to introduce a new technique for screening unborn babies for Down’s syndrome on the NHS.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), a type of blood test, is claimed to be 99 per cent accurate in diagnosing the condition.

Critics have repeatedly argued that it is likely to lead to more abortions, and even to Down’s children being eradicated altogether.

‘Negative impact’

Campaign group Don’t Screen Us Out warned that this move “will have a profoundly negative impact on the community of people with Down’s syndrome” in Wales.

Kate Harris, whose twelve-year-son has Down’s syndrome, said that women are currently advised to seek advice from doctors who favour abortion for those with the condition.

She went on to discuss the importance of parents getting an informed opinion from those who have a child with Down’s syndrome.

‘Image of God’

Last month, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething told the BBC: “I’m pleased Wales is leading the way by offering NIPT”.

But Ciarán Kelly, Deputy Director at The Christian Institute, said the test “has its roots in the idea that some people’s lives have no value”.

“All human beings are made in the image of God and have a special, intrinsic, value regardless of how young, or how old, able bodied or disabled that life might be”.

Disability abortions

NIPT will be made available on the NHS in England later this year.

Currently it is legal in Great Britain to abort unborn children up to 24 weeks, or up to birth if doctors believe the baby will be born with a disability.

Figures show 92 per cent of babies who are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in the womb are already being aborted in England and Wales.

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