Bioethics Council Nixes Sex-Selective Abortion but Oks for Down Syndrome

Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. – March 6, 2017

In a curious double standard, a UK-based bioethics council has given the green light for prenatal testing aimed at culling children with Down Syndrome, while simultaneously denouncing abortion based on the sex of the child.

Last week, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics released a report in which it recommends that non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) not be used to reveal the sex of an unborn child to avoid sex-selective abortion.

At the same time, the group advised that NIPT be made accessible to parents who want to find out whether their child “has a significant medical condition or impairment” so that they can make “autonomous, informed choices” regarding whether to terminate their child.

Specifically, the Council noted that women who are found through screening to have a high chance of having a fetus with Down syndrome overwhelmingly choose to abort their child.

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