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Church of England warns future of Down's 'under question'

From BBC - January 19, 2018

The Church of England has warned the future existence of people with Down's Syndrome is "under question".

It has called for expectant mothers to be given "comprehensive, unbiased information" ahead of the NHS roll-out of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) in England and Wales this year.

The blood test for high-risk women can offer an estimate of Down's risk.

But the Church is concerned it could lead to more abortions on women carrying children with Down's Syndrome.

The Church's ruling General Synod will debate "valuing people with Down's Syndrome" when it meets next month.

Down's syndrome is a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability and characteristic physical features.

NIPT involves taking a blood sample from the woman to look for DNA from the baby circulating in her blood.

The new test should cut the number of women who need riskier diagnostic tests in pregnancy that can cause a miscarriage.

But Rev Dr Brendan MCCarthy, the CoE's national adviser on medical ethics, said there was "anecdotal" evidence that some women were told there was "bad news" if their unborn children were diagnosed with Down's Syndrome - and immediately offered terminations.

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