Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who was refused a termination in an Irish hospital as she miscarried, died as a result of medical misadventure, a jury at her inquest has unanimously ruled.
Daybreak's Health Editor Dr Hilary Jones has told Daybreak that there is a very high risk to premature babies.
"There is a very high risk of a child being handicapped if it is born before 24 weeks, even with modern technology," he added.
- There were 146 abortions after the 24-week limit in 2011 in England and Wales out of a total of almost 190,000
- But overall there were more than 500 abortions after screening for Downs Syndrome
- 92 per cent of women who are told their child may have downs syndrome opt for a termination
- The National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) say that of the 1,188 babies diagnosed prenatally in 2010, 942 were aborted, 25 miscarried or were stillborn, 52 were born alive and in 167 the outcome was unknown
- However, the Department of Health only reported 482 terminations for Down's in the same year, less than half the number recorded by the NDSCR
The success of the Paralympics triggered a rethink of Britain’s abortion laws, campaigners have said.
An alliance of pro-life campaigners and religious groups launched a new push to restrict the 1967 Abortion Act.
“The recent Paralympics made this contradiction yet more glaring,” they say.
“The athletes produced such astonishing examples of courage and triumphs over disability that we now have to rethink what we mean by ‘disabled’ and ‘able’.”
In a letter to the Telegraph last September, an alliance of prolife campaigners describe the practice of aborting foetuses on physical grounds as a form of eugenics.
The letter, signed by pro-life campaigners and religious groups, argues that the current law enshrines a form of disability discrimination.
They wish to restrict the 1967 Abortion Act, to prevent doctors terminating pregnancies on the grounds of physical abnormality.
- The current law permits an abortion to take place up to 40 weeks if tests for disability indicate that there is a 'substantial risk' that the child might be born 'seriously handicapped'.
- For example over 90% of women who discover they are carrying a baby with Downs abort.
- The legal limit for all other abortions is 24 weeks.
A major Parliamentary Inquiry into Abortion on the Grounds of Disability will be launched today.
Evidence will be heard which looks at whether under the current law it is right that an abortion can take place if tests indicate that the child may be disabled when born.
It will also look at how the current law works, how it's applied by medical practitioners and it's impact on disabled people.
A candidate for the UK Independence Party candidate has been suspended over suggestions of a 'compulsory abortion' manifesto.Read the full story ›
The Irish public health watchdog has announced it will investigate the death of Savita Halappanavar the 31-year-old dentist who died during a miscarriage, having been denied a termination.
The Irish Republic's health service is already conducting a clinical review into the case, but an independent health safety body will conduct a parallel inquiry.
Savita Halappanavar's husband Praveen has asked for a full, sworn public inquiry into her death.
Health officials in Ireland have conceded to demands and removed three consultants from a high level inquiry into the death of a pregnant Indian woman in hospital.
Praveen Halappanavar, whose wife Savita died in Galway University Hospital on 28 October after a miscarriage, had refused to co-operate unless the senior doctors were removed.
All three are employed by the west of Ireland hospital which caused fears of a conflict of interest.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny urged Mr Halappanavar to support the inquiry.
He said: "The three doctors will not be part of the investigation and therefore different personnel who are competent, who are experienced and who have no connection to Galway University Hospital will be appointed."