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NHS Watchdog Says ‘Selective Reduction’ May Also Pose Dangers to Mother and Surviving Baby

by | Sep 28, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Just about the last place you would expect to find pro-life advice might be Britain’s National Health Service. Perhaps NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), described as an NHS “watchdog,”  has a better reputation.

Whatever the explanation the Telegraph is reporting today that NICE has offered its first guidance on multiple pregnancies which includes a warning there are possible two-fold danger should she abort one of her babies—aka selective reduction! According to Health Correspondent Martin Beckford

“NICE’s guidance suggests that the procedure of aborting one of two or three fetuses is itself dangerous, and may later lead to emotional problems in both the mother and the remaining twin.”

Beckford writes that more older women are becoming pregnant after having IVF treatment, which means a great likelihood of having twins or triplets. There’s been a 60% rise in multiple births in England and Wales over the past three decades, Beckford writes, “from 10 women per 1,000 giving birth in 1980 to 16 per 1,000 in 2009.”

The NICE guidance comes as increasing numbers of women choose to abort one of their twins or triplets, usually because of the risk that they will be born disabled.

What they mean by that, clearly, is Down syndrome. Beckford writes

“In 2010, there were 85 abortions which involved selective terminations,” according to the Department of Health. “In 51 cases, two fetuses were reduced to one fetus.”

“Over three quarters (78 per cent) of the selective terminations were performed under ground E [risk that the child would be born handicapped].”

Published on Wednesday, the report counsels, “Before screening for Down’s syndrome offer women with twin and triplet pregnancies information about.. the physical risks and psychological implications in the short and long term relating to selective fetal reduction.”

The report says that women expecting multiple babies need  “more monitoring and increased contact” with midwives and doctors as well as “increased need for psychological support,” according to Beckford. NICE recommends that these mothers

“should be seen at least seven times by an ‘experienced multidisciplinary team’ including obstetricians, midwives and ultrasonographers to provide regular checks on the progress of their pregnancy…”

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Categories: Abortion