Actress Sally Phillips is standing up against Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), which is expected to increase the number of abortions for babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in Britain.
The actress, whose 14-year-old son Olly has the condition, says the NHS are pressuring women into having abortions instead of educating them.
She called the current system of disability screening “a form of eugenics” for Down’s babies.
NIPT requires a simple blood test to determine if an unborn baby has the syndrome.
In NHS hospitals which use the tests, the birth rate of Down’s babies has fallen by 30 per cent (compared to nine per cent in hospitals which do not use the test).
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Phillips said: “It seems like the popular conception of Down’s syndrome was of somebody with a terrible disease who would have been better not to be born”.
But Phillips said one day she looked at her son and thought to herself “really, he’s not suffering at all”.
The actress said NIPT is being driven by a global industry which is expected to be worth £4.75 billion by 2025.
She said: “If making money out of testing, that leads in most cases to termination, is not a form of eugenics then I don’t know what is.”
Phillips said that she and son Olly have “happy and fulfilled lives”, and while there are challenges to raising a child with Down’s syndrome, there are also “great, great rewards.”