The Down Syndrome Debate – Is Terminating Pregnancies Acceptable?

The Down Syndrome Debate – Is Terminating Pregnancies Acceptable?
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There are screening tests available for seeing if the pregnancy is going to be alright or not, and these tests have raised across Europe and the US. With the rise in using prenatal screening tests, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has decreased. Iceland, for example, is a country which almost eradicated these births.

A Majority Of Women Terminate Their Pregnancies Which Turn Positive for Down Syndrome

In Iceland, almost all women take prenatal screening tests to see if it turns positive for Down syndrome and if so, they choose to end the pregnancy. The tests are optional, and only 80-85% of women take it.

The tests are made with ultrasounds, they take into consideration blood tests and the mother’s age to see if the fetus has a chromosome mutation. The most common mutation is Down syndrome. This syndrome affects the facial features of the child and other developments of the body, but they can live healthy lives until an average of 60 years.

Until 2011, statistics show that the US has been doing the same, lowering the rate of this syndrome to 67%. So did France, in 2015 rates showed a percentage of 77 and Denmark 98%.

Is it a Good Decision or a Bad One?

Some people consider the termination of these pregnancies a good decision for not having unhealthy children, for not complicating their lives when they grow up. They believe that the parents must have a choice to end the pregnancy, especially if it’s going to have problems.

Others, however, believe that eradicating mutant genes is too forced, and it’s not a decision which should be made in a medical way.

Helga Sol Olafsdottir is a counselor at the Landspitali University Hospital and tries to have neutral advice, speaking to the women who want advice on their pregnancies. She stated that abortion, especially in the case of a health problem, should not be considered a murder.


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