A new study has found that more babies with Down syndrome have been allowed to exercise their right to life in states with laws protecting babies from abortion after 20 weeks gestation.
Published in JAMA Network Open, the study found that odds of receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis at birth were higher between 2011 and 2018, in states where gestational limits on abortion were in place. The study explained:
Although demographic and individual characteristics differed between states with and states without 20-week bans, when adjusting for cofounders as well as state, year of ban enactment, and year of birth, deliveries in states with bans were more likely to be associated with a neonatal diagnosis of Down syndrome than those in states without bans.
From our multivariable analysis, we found that births in states that enacted 20-week abortion bans were 1.22 times as likely to have a diagnosis of Down syndrome than those in states without 20-week bans. Assuming a baseline birth prevalence of 1 in 700, or 6000 births with a diagnosis of Down syndrome per year, a national 20-week abortion ban would be associated with an increase of 1320 cases annually.
Eugenic abortions have increased with the rise in prenatal testing, and as Contemporary OB/GYN noted, most parents receive a prenatal diagnosis in the second trimester. In states where preborn children are protected from late-term abortions, it could be too late to undergo an abortion for a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
In the United States, an estimated 67% of babies who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted. This is often due to ableism in the medical community, with one survey finding that just 11% of women reported having a positive diagnosis experience. Another survey found that 13% of doctors admitted to intentionally exaggerating negative aspects of Down syndrome in order to pressure women into abortion.
Additionally, a campaign from the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network (DSDN) illustrated how cruelly doctors can deliver the diagnosis, with parents frequently told that their child would be a vegetable, or was better off dead.
Heather Bradley, former president of DSDN, spoke to a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist from Wisconsin at an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District meeting in Wisconsin. “[H]e said that delivering a Down syndrome diagnosis was like giving someone a ‘crap sandwich,’” she wrote on Facebook. “When a new or expectant parent is just told the news their baby has Down syndrome and the first words are ‘I’m so sorry’ or ‘When should I schedule the termination?’, what is that physician saying about their CHILD? It most definitely tells them that their child IS a ‘crap sandwich.’”
Prenatal screening, a pro-life tool, has been hijacked as a method to weed out those seen as “unfit,” with countries across the world effectively eradicating people with Down syndrome and other disabilities. There has also been the growth of wrongful birth lawsuits, in which parents publicly proclaim that they wish their children did not exist, and had been aborted.
Yet despite this hostile atmosphere, some states have managed to slowly begin saving more lives of children with Down syndrome. This illustrates exactly why laws against eugenic abortions are so important, because all lives — even those with disabilities — are worth living.
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