Denmark and Down Syndrome
Sir, – The Danish ambassador to Ireland claims that his country does not have a policy to eradicate people with Down Syndrome, and says that, in 2016 “there were four children born in Denmark with Down’s syndrome after prenatal diagnosis” (News, December 5th).
He failed to disclose, however, that according to the Danish Cytogenetic Central Register, an average of 98 per cent of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome before birth are aborted each year.
In 2016, according to official figures, 137 preborn babies were diagnosed the condition in Denmark, and 133 children were aborted while just four were born. Six years previously, in 2010, of the 156 babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in utero, every single one was aborted.
This shocking and tragic reality is not brought about by chance. In a 2015 interview with Vice News, the professor of gynaecology and obstetrics at the University of Copenhagen, said: “I think that Danish women are less sentimental about aborting malformed fetuses partly because that view is supported by professional medical staff. Recommending abortions isn’t an obligation but we give very realistic prognoses . . . We give parents realistic expectations about future problems and generally, women carrying foetuses with severe malformations are recommended to terminate the pregnancy.”
Denmark’s abortion policy, and its effect on their culture, is clearly central to the almost complete eradication of people with Down Syndrome in that country. It is a reality that the debate on abortion in this country cannot ignore. – Yours, etc,
NIAMH UÍ BHRIAIN,