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Between 70 and 90 percent of women carrying a fetus diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome choose to abort. Is terminating a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome the same as terminating a fetus because of its gender?
Because of sex-selective abortion in Asia, the male/female ratio is at an all-time high. In China, for example, it hovers around 120 boys for every 100 girls.
In an article in The Atlantic, Amy Julia Becker argues that Americans practice a similar form a selective abortion. She writes:
“In the West we decry these practices [of prenatal gender selection] as gendercide, but the United States practices its own form of selective abortion when it comes to fetuses diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome and other chromosomal conditions… [W]omen who learn through prenatal testing that their fetuses have Down syndrome often decide to abort, and their reasons aren't that different from the reasons women across the globe choose (or are forced) to abort girls. In India, daughters grow up with social stigma, a lack of educational opportunities and the prospect of becoming a burden to their parents. Substitute the words "America" and "children with Down syndrome" for "India" and "daughters," and you get the picture.”
She ends by noting:
“We can overcome the residual cultural bias towards individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities not through pregnancy termination but through social supports, inclusive classrooms, and a culture that recognizes the distinct contributions offered by each individual.”
Studies have indicated that between 70 and 90 percent of women carrying a fetus diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome choose to abort.