Down Syndrome Awareness Month - Day 15
How many babies with Down syndrome are aborted before they're born?
For years, we have heard that an estimated 90-95% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in-utero are aborted. Those numbers surfaced in 1999 in Europe, where countries track prenatal diagnoses of birth defects and subsequent abortion. The US doesn't collect that information, and estimates here have been all over the map.
The Jerome Lejeune Foundation released a new study that gives us more solid data. Researchers used information and data from a dozen states that do track live births of babies with Down syndrome to devise a new estimate of how many babies with Down syndrome were likely aborted. Their model showed that such abortions have reduced the US population of people with Down syndrome by about 30 percent.
That doesn't mean 30 percent of babies with positive tests for Down syndrome were aborted. The number reflects a reduction in the population we'd expect to be living with Down syndrome, regardless of when it was diagnosed. The key is a related study in 2012, which used a mathematical model to estimate that 67% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the US are aborted.
While 67% is certainly better than the 90-95% we're seeing in Europe, it's still too many.
More information can be found in the Jerome Lejeune Foundation's Summer 2015 Newsletter.