Abortion keeps Down syndrome births stable

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

As nonsensical as that headline seems, it’s what’s happening: abortion is keeping the number of babies born with Down syndrome at their historical annual average. This is because we would otherwise be seeing twice as many children born with Down syndrome each year.

A team of researchers reviewed the registries maintained by the EUROCAT system–the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies. Here’s what they found.

  • “The proportion of births to older mothers (35+ years) in EUROCAT registries increased steadily from 13% in 1990 to 19% in 2009. “
  • Termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly (TOPFA) “were more common for [Trisomy 18] (71%) and [Trisomy 13] (71%) than [Trisomy 21] (47%).”
  • “Overall, 1598 cases (62%) were prenatally diagnosed (PD), ranging from 9% to 21% in Ireland and the Ukraine to over 80% in France, Spain and Switzerland. In all, 52% of T21 cases were PD in mothers <35 years and 70% were PD in mothers 35+ years, which varied by country.”
  • “Of the PD cases, 14% were [Live Births (LB)], 2% were [fetal death] and 83% were TOPFA. The proportion of PD T21 cases resulting in TOPFA was >80% in all countries where TOPFA is practiced except Ukraine, (range 58% in Ukraine to 97% in Spain).”
Table 2

Table 2

These results lead the researchers to conclude:

The rise in average maternal age in Europe over time has brought with  it an increase in the number of pregnancies affected by trisomies 21, 18 and 13. However, the increasingly widespread practice of prenatal screening and termination of pregnancy has, on average, counteracted the effect of maternal age and resulted in a relatively stable LB prevalence of the major trisomies since 1990 in the European population studied.

So you see, abortion has kept the number of children born with Down syndrome stable. But for TOPFA, selective terminations following a prenatal test result, the number of children with Down syndrome would be twice the number they are each year.


  1. I guess that shows us that they are meant to be a part of our world if the world is compensating for the terminations. It’s a great little chromosome, here to teach us something!


  1. […] where selective abortion is legally banned, the termination rate is substantially lower: from a high in certain areas of 90% (or greater) where selective abortion is allowed, to being […]

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