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Down Syndrome Abortion Rates Not as High as Previously Thought

By carolyncastiglia |

down syndrome, downs syndrome, termination rates down syndrome, abortion down syndrome, kids with down syndrome

Down syndrome termination rates not as high as we thought.

According to research published in the journal Prenatal Diagnosis, we may have been wrong when we asked if abortion was the new normal for fetuses diagnosed as having Down syndrome. As our Julie Miner noted in the aforementioned Strollerderby Salon, The New York Times reported in 2007 that “about 90 percent of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion.” Not so, says this new study, which “presents the largest synthesis of United States data on termination rates following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.”

So how much lower are Down’s termination rates than previously thought?

“Evidence suggests that termination rates are … 67%–85% … and that termination rates vary with maternal age, maternal race/ethnicity, and gestational age,” Prenatal Diagnosis reports. Again, these rates reflect termination rates in America, as opposed to the 92% rate determined by reviewing older, International data. Researchers also note that “termination rates have decreased in recent years, which may reflect progress in medical management for individuals with Down syndrome and advances in educational, social, and financial support for their families.”

One way to seek financial support for children with Down syndrome, we’ve learned, is by claiming wrongful birth. A couple in Oregon recently were awarded $2.9 million for admitting they would not have chosen to complete their pregnancy had they known their daughter would be born with Down syndrome.


Photo via Flickr

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About carolyncastiglia



Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “Down Syndrome Abortion Rates Not as High as Previously Thought

  1. bob says:

    It’s possible they are only 5% less than previously thought.

  2. carolyncastiglia says:

    Well, 7%, but yeah – and it varies among communities, as they say. It’s also possible that it’s 25% less.

  3. Brittany says:

    I would be interested to know how that compares to national rates of abortion. I think it is a more meaningful statistic to say, for example, a child with DS is more than twice as likely to be… euthanized? aborted? terminated? than a (as far as you know) typically developing child. Regardless, it makes me simultaneously sad and angry.

  4. goddess says:

    I don’t know that ANY child is euthanized? aborted? terminated?
    Abortion ends a pregnancy and kills an embryo or fetus.

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