Monday 19 August 2019

UK-based doctor tells Oireachtas Committee he believes cases of Downs Syndrome fulfil criteria for abortion under British law

Leinster House (Stock picture)
Leinster House (Stock picture)

Shona Murray

A UK-based doctor at the Oireachtas Committee on the Eight Amendment said he believes cases of Downs Syndrome fulfil the criteria for abortion under British law.

Dr. Peter Thompson, a consultant in Foetal Medicine was responding to a question at the committee by Fine Gael T.D. Peter Fitzpatrick.

“Do I think that Down Syndrome” is a “condition that fulfils the UK law of having a significant chance of severe handicap?”

“I think it does”, he replied.

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”

“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 - which 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 - must provide the Dáil with its report by December 20.

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