Inclusion Daily Express Logo

International Disability Rights News Service
Click here for today's headlines & home page

Keeping advocates informed, inspired and connected since 1999.
Click here for daily or weekly delivery . . . OR
Try Inclusion Daily Express for ten days FREE . . .

Government Asks OB/GYN College, What Is A "Serious Handicap"?
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 11, 2007

LONDON, ENGLAND--The British Government has asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to define what are "serious handicaps" when it comes to allowing late-term abortions.

The country's Abortion Act of 1990 allows a pregnancy to be terminated at any time if two doctors agree there is a "substantial risk" of the baby being born with a "serious handicap".

What is considered a "serious handicap", however, is left up to the doctors to decide.

Last month, Parliament's Science and Technology Select Committee recommended, among other things, that only one doctor should have to make that determination without consulting with another physician.

The government has decided not to provide a list of disabilities that could be recommended for abortion after 24 weeks gestation, but instead to use the guidelines that doctors refer to when making individual decisions or suggestions to expecting mothers.

Some disability and right-to-life groups have feared that the term "serious handicap" is being applied to the most basic differences, including conditions that can be corrected with surgery, such as a cleft lip or palate.

"We have always said the cleft lip and palate is not a reason for an abortion because it is not a handicap," Gareth Davies, chief executive of the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, told The Telegraph. Davies added that he supports a tighter definition.

The rates are increasing for pregnancies that are ended after doctors determine the child may be born with a disability.

For instance, pregnancy records released in October showed that a total of 156 babies with Down syndrome were born between 2002 and 2005 in the southwest portion of England. During the same period, doctors performed 194 abortions based on Down syndrome diagnoses in the same area.

Statistics released from that Anomaly Register for the Southwest also showed that 54 fetuses diagnosed with club feet, 26 with "extra" or "webbed" fingers or toes, and 37 with cleft lip or palate, were aborted during the same time period.

In November of 2006, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggested that the deliberate killing of babies with disabilities should be considered as a treatment option. The RCOG suggested in a Sunday Times of London article that "active euthanasia" should be considered for the overall good of families, and to keep parents from the emotional and economic hardship of raising a child with disabilities.

"Tighter controls over abortions for disability" (The Telegraph)

Copyright © 2007 Inonit Publishing
Please do not reprint, forward, or post without permission.

WWW Inclusion Daily Express Archives

Click here for top of this page

Purchase this story for your website or newsletter . . .

Here's what subscribers say about Inclusion Daily Express. . .

Keeping advocates informed, inspired and connected since 1999.
Click here for daily or weekly delivery . . . OR
Try Inclusion Daily Express for ten days FREE . . .

Get your news here!

Inclusion Daily Express
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711
Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Phone: 509-326-5811
Copyright © 2007 Inonit Publishing