NRL News

New blood test=large increase in babies diagnosed with medical problems who are aborted

by | Jun 16, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

youngwoman38reIt’s bad enough that the Daily Mail reported that as a result of new tests, the number of babies diagnosed with genetic anomalies who were aborted soared by 34% between 2011 and 2014 []. But it gets worse.

Tucked away in the story, written by Jo MacFarlane, is that until recently, the blood tests that allowed analysis of the baby’s DNA were largely confined to private clinics. Now that it appears that “after successful trial data is presented to the National Screening Committee,” the tests could soon be part of the menu of services provided by the National Health Service (NHS). The number of tests–and the number of abortions–will leap. (More about that momentarily.)

Adding to the bad news are the last two paragraphs of MacFarlane’s story:

The abortion figures also show that more women than ever before are opting to end their pregnancies after the legal limit of 24 weeks, which is permitted for medical reasons only.

In 2011, 146 were performed after this stage. By 2014, this had risen to 211 – a 44 per cent jump.

As NRL News Today has explained dozens of times, the definition of “medical reasons” for which abortions can be performed past the 24th week is hugely expansive. It’s not only Down syndrome, which, of course, is not fatal, but also cleft palate which is not only relatively minor but treatable.

There are nuances within nuances in the story and more than a few observations that are startlingly eugenic when they do not absolutely defy reason. For example,

The trial found it would save the NHS money because fewer invasive tests would be needed, and the lives of about 300 unaffected babies, who are miscarried following amniocentesis, could be saved.

Watch the logic. (1) The NHS saves money because “more invasive tests”–amniocentesis–won’t be needed. (Hold that thought).

(2) Some babies–and this is true–will be lost through miscarriage after their mother has a traditional amniocentesis. If you don’t get to the amniocentesis stage (because the blood test is done so much earlier), the NHS speculates that 300 babies who have no genetic anomalies will be saved from being miscarried.

But those 300 would be offset a hundred times over by babies who are identified with Down syndrome or something else and who will be aborted. But we are supposed to believe otherwise or at least not put two and two together.

Dr. Bryan Beattie is an NHS fetal medicine consultant in Wales who also runs the Innermost Healthcare Clinic, which offers the private tests. He told MacFarlane, “We’re seeing 50 to 60 women a week in our clinic alone.”

We have a number of women where a structural abnormality or potential chromosomal problem has been detected at their scan and they don’t want an invasive test because of the miscarriage risk. Some, of course, end that pregnancy because of their results – but not all. Some are just happy to know what they’re facing.

Sure, not every woman will abort her baby in those circumstances but many-to-most will!

Just ask Jane Fisher, identified as the director of the Antenatal Results and Choices. She said, ‘Non-invasive prenatal testing has undoubtedly made a difference to the abortion figures.”

Women tell us every day they are accessing the new blood tests privately, and this is likely to have led to a higher detection of chromosomal abnormalities and contributed to the rise in the number of terminations for these indications.


The Daily Mail’s story is based on an investigation into figures published by the Department of Health. “3,100 women chose to end their pregnancies because of medical problems with their babies, compared with 2,300 in 2011,” according to MacFarlane.

“Of the difference of 800 abortions, the biggest proportion was linked to Down’s syndrome, with 693 terminations last year compared with 512 in 2011,” she added. “A further ten were pregnancies ended because the babies had a cleft palate – a treatable condition.”

Categories: Genetic Testing