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Down’s abortion figures may be higher, admits Government

The Government recorded that 582 abortions were performed on unborn babies with Down's Syndrome in 2010 (Photo: PA)

Hundreds more unborn children with Down’s Syndrome may be being aborted each year than official figures show, the Government has said.

The Government has said that it will investigate the annual number of abortions performed on babies with Down’s Syndrome after it emerged that the figures recorded by the Department of Health were significantly lower than the number recorded by the National Downs Syndrome Cytogenic Statistics’ (NDSCS) database.

After the discrepancy was brought to the department’s attention by this newspaper, a spokesman said: “We are aware that there is a potential discrepancy in figures and are looking into this in further detail.”

The discrepancy was first highlighted in the blog of Dr Peter Saunders, the head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, who pointed out that the Department of Health’s records state that in 2010 582 abortions were performed on unborn children with Down’s Syndrome while the NDSCS records that 942 unborn children with Down’s Syndrome were aborted in 2010.

Dr Saunders said: “Does this mean that doctors are knowingly falsifying abortion certification forms by neglecting to put down the true diagnosis for babies with congenital abnormalities? Or are they perhaps, possibly even deliberately, mis-classifying them as abortions on mental health grounds? Or are they just not bothering to report at all?

“Is this possibly even evidence of a failure of abortion reporting on a much greater scale? Might this be an under-reporting problem that goes much beyond babies with trisomy conditions?

“Might it actually be that only half of all abortions for any foetal abnormality are being reported? Is it even possible that this degree of under-reporting operates across other categories of abortion, perhaps even all categories? In other words might the Department of Health figures be grossly under-reporting the total number of abortions in England in Wales?”

He concluded: “Whatever the truth of the matter is, the disparities in the figures are alarming and need to be investigated urgently.”