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Star says NHS ‘pressurises’ women to abort Down’s syndrome babies

Star says NHS ‘pressurises’ women to abort Down’s syndrome babies

Miranda actress Sally Phillips accuses NHS of endorsing eugenics by ‘pressurising’ women to abort babies who – like her 14-year-old son – have Down’s syndrome

  • Actress says NHS pressures pregnant women into aborting babies with Down’s
  • She has given an emotional speech to hundreds of world-leading obstetricians 
  • Around nine in ten British women have abortions after getting Down’s diagnosis

By Eleanor Hayward Health Reporter For The Daily Mail

Published: 17:26 EDT, 19 June 2019 | Updated: 23:40 EDT, 19 June 2019

Actress Sally Phillips has tearfully accused the NHS of pressuring pregnant women into having an abortion if they are carrying a baby with Down’s syndrome.

Miss Phillips, whose son Olly, 14, has the genetic disorder, claimed the current system was endorsing ‘a form of eugenics’ by screening for Down’s.

In an emotional speech, she told hundreds of world-leading obstetricians in London that ‘eugenic thinking’ has seeped into the NHS and people with Down’s were being treated like a ‘population of toads that must be managed’.

Sally Phillips, whose son Olly, 14, has Down’s Syndrome, gave an emotional speech about the NHS

Around nine out of ten British women have abortions after being given a diagnosis for Down’s, which is linked to delays in growth, intellectual disability and rounded facial features. 

Miss Phillips, 50, who starred in Bridget Jones’s Diary and the - sitcom Miranda, said a simple blood test to detect the condition was gradually being introduced by the NHS and had led to a rise in abortions.

She told a debate at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ conference: ‘We know you didn’t go into medicine to cause harm, but I am here to tell you that intentionally or not harm is being done to us.’

Miss Phillips, 50, said a simple blood test to detect the condition was gradually being introduced by the NHS and had led to a rise in abortions

The mother-of-three said research shows the birth rate of Down’s babies has fallen by 30 per cent in hospitals which offer the NIPT test, against 9 per cent in hospitals that do not. Miss Phillips said she and Olly have ‘happy and fulfilled lives’, insisting this is the norm for families affected by Down’s syndrome. She added: ‘Making women carry a baby they do not want to is appalling – but pressurising them to terminate is perhaps worse.’

The actress said the introduction of NIPT was being driven by a global industry, estimated to be worth £4.75billion by 2025.

She told the doctors: ‘If making money out of testing that leads in most cases to termination is not a form of eugenics then I do not know what is.’

A spokesman for the royal college said: ‘It is essential that expectant parents feel supported to make their own choices as a result of the test.’

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