Scottish Daily Mail

Church warns Down’s tests could lead to ‘Nazi’ eugenics

- By Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspond­ent

‘Disability is not a disaster’

THE Church of England has urged families to ‘welcome and celebrate’ children with Down’s Syndrome as the NHS introduces a new screening programme.

The General Synod backed moves to prevent the tests being used to justify more abortions of babies with Down’s.

The NHS is preparing to launch its Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing for all women deemed at ‘high risk’ of having a Down’s child. The current invasive test carries a 1 per cent chance of miscarriag­e.

Members of the Synod – the Church’s parliament – voted unanimousl­y to back a motion calling for Down’s babies to be ‘treated with dignity and respect’.

The Church said women who learn their unborn child has Down’s should be given comprehens­ive and unbiased informatio­n on the condition, which affects around one in 1,000 babies, amid fears that families could be steered towards abortion.

Lay churchgoer Andrew Gray told the Synod: ‘The UK and Europe have begun to practice eugenics, by default, and without intent. This is not because of a state-led desire to remove those considered weak or sub-human – we don’t live in 1930s Germany, thank God. But while the reasons and motivation­s are different, the outcome is the same.’

The Rev Rachel Wilson, a wheelchair user, said: ‘Being born with a disability is not a disaster.’

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Rev James Newcombe, added: ‘It is imperative that every step is taken to ensure that [those with Down’s] are welcomed, celebrated and treated with dignity and respect.’

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