Protesters say a new screening test for Down’s Syndrome will increase abortion rates.

The new ‘non-invasive prenatal test’ gives more accurate results when testing for Down’s Syndrome in unborn babies. This test only has a 1% chance of miscarriage and has been approved by the Government to begin in 2018.

The National Institute for Health and Research (RAPID) produced an evaluation study which states that 102 more children with Down’s Syndrome would be detected, as a result of the screening, and that 92 pregnant women would choose to abort their children annually.

Campaign groups such as ‘Don’t Screen us Out’ have been protesting outside parliament against the non-invasive prenatal test, stating how there will be an increase in the number of children who will be screened out by termination.

“My life is important”
Heidi Crowter – Campaigner

Down's Syndrome campaigner for Don't Screen us Out
Heidi Crowter – A girl with Down’s Syndrome who protests issues regarding her condition.

Protester Heidi Crowter, who attended the rally in London, spoke out against Jeremy Hunt. She said: “There needs to be equal protection of unborn children with disabilities. My life is important as much as everyone else’s.”

Heidi Crowter, a protester who attended a London rally

Although this test has already been approved by the Government, campaigners are concerned that it did not come forward to the public first.

“Women need more information”
Liz Crowter – Campaigner 

Liz Crowter, a mother whose daughter has Down’s Syndrome, said: “It needs to be done ethically. Pregnant women should get all the information they need about the testing and Down’s Syndrome itself. Women need more information before making the best decision for themselves and their family.”

Other parents question if the testing is as negative as it may seem because it does not mean all women would want to get an abortion by just considering doing the test.

“I did it for my anxiety”
Becky Carless – Founder of Archies Smile

Becky Carless – Founder of Archie’s Smile, support group

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