Tuesday 20 November 2018

Down syndrome 'fulfils criteria for UK abortion'

Dáil Éireann. Stock picture
Dáil Éireann. Stock picture

Shona Murray

Cases of Down syndrome fulfil the criteria for abortion under British law, a UK-based doctor told TDs and senators.

Dr Peter Thompson, a consultant in foetal medicine, was responding to a question from Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick at the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

"Do I think that Down syndrome... fulfils the UK law of having a significant chance of severe handicap? I think it does," he said.

He added that he believes so because "there are differences" between babies that have Down syndrome.

It is possible to have babies with the condition that have "normal hearts and babies with Down syndrome that have abnormal hearts", he added.

"This can affect their outcomes greatly," he said.

Meanwhile, the Oireachtas committee agreed to have a vote on its crucial findings on Wednesday, December 13, with a view to putting forward a "short, concise" report to be concluded by the following evening.

The committee voted back in October to "not retain the Eighth Amendment in full", meaning it recommends the law should be amended but does not prescribe in what way.

It must provide the Dáil with its report by December 20.

Committee chair Senator Catherine Noone says members will get a "roadmap" towards reaching its decisions today.

Irish Independent

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