Abortions of babies with Down’s syndrome may be much higher than Government statistics show, according to a national Down’s registering group.
The National Down’s Syndrone Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) point to their own figures and compare them with official statistics which are gathered from abortion registration forms signed by two doctors.
The alternative figures from the Down’s abortion research group suggest that the reasons given for abortion on some forms are inaccurate.
The NDSCR’s claim has prompted speculation that the discrepancy is because doctors do not want to admit Down’s as a reason for abortion.
The NDSCR, who are based at Queen Mary University in London, says there were 1,032 abortions because of Down’s last year and 4,777 between 2004 and 2008.
The Government figures taken from the official abortion forms put the numbers at 436 and 2,168 respectively.
The Director of the NDSCR called the Department of Health’s figures “wholly inaccurate”.
Professor Joan Morris said “We don’t know for sure why the abortion forms are so badly filled in, but we know our figures are right because we chase up every single diagnosis which we are notified about, giving us a 94 per cent accuracy rate.”
Professor Stuart Campbell, a prominent obstetrician, said: “Whether it is due to doctors trying to protect the feelings of women having an abortion for Down’s or simply being slapdash, the fact that official figures on abortion are so inaccurate is a great concern.”
The NDSCR collate their figures by comparing early diagnosis of Down’s with records of abortions and births.
Last month it was revealed that there has been a sharp rise in the number of Down’s pregnancies being reported, and also in the number of abortions of children with Down’s.
Three Down’s babies are aborted every day and nine in ten mothers who are told their child has Down’s abort, according to the University of London research.
Under Britain’s abortion laws a Down’s baby may be aborted at any time up to the point of birth.
Pro-life campaigners fear that the widespread use of pre-natal scans without proper support is increasing the number of abortions.
Norman Wells, of Family and Youth Concern, said: “The high proportion of mothers opting to abort a baby with Down’s syndrome suggests that there is a need for pregnant women to be made aware of the support that is available to families caring for a child with Down’s.
“All too often women are given the impression that having a child with a disability or learning difficulty is the worst possible thing that could happen to them, when this doesn’t have to be the case at all.
“A child with Down’s syndrome should be prized and treasured no less than any other child.”