Dutch Health Minister: “If freedom of choice results in a situation that nearly no children with Down syndrome are being born, society should accept that”

Editor’s note. This comes from our friends at SPUC–the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

Protesting the introduction of NIPT in Britain. Image: Don't Screen Us Out.

Protesting the introduction of NIPT in Britain.
Image: Don’t Screen Us Out.

Last week, members of the Dutch opposition party asked Minister of Health Edith Schippers, if she planned to take any measures to prevent the near elimination of babies with Down syndrome which has happened in other countries.

NIPT

The Netherlands is making NIPT (Non Invasive Prenatal Testing), by which a range of chromosomal and genetic variations can be detected by a blood test, available to all pregnant women in 2017. The introduction of the test has led to 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome being aborted in Iceland. In Denmark, the number is 98%.

However, Mrs. Schippers, who has also championed euthanasia for those who feel they have “completed life” replied “If freedom of choice results in a situation that nearly no children with Down syndrome are being born, society should accept that.” She said withholding information from parents about the health of their future children is “undesirable” and that participation in the National population screening program is an individual decision.

Singling out Down syndrome

However, Renate Lindeman of Downpride wrote in the Huffington Post:

“While participation in the screening program may be voluntary, Dutch women are not free to choose for which conditions they want to screen their pregnancy. NIPT can potentially detect hundreds of conditions, but a small group of experts have determined Down syndrome to be its single primary goal. In fact, if NIPT ‘accidentally’ detects conditions that fall outside this determined scope of NIPT, these ancillary findings are purposely withheld from parents. So much for ‘withholding information from parents.’”

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