Women who learn prenatally that they are carrying a child with Down syndrome may be having abortions in twice the numbers officially reported, a British registry of Down syndrome statistics suggests.

The disparity in record keeping is due to the fact that many British doctors call the terminations “social” abortions rather than specifying that a Down syndrome diagnosis is behind the decision. They are believed to do this in order to spare the mother’s feelings.

Most abortions in Britain are deemed “social.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

But unlike the country’s health ministry, the National Down’s Syndrome Cytogenetic Register receives information on Down syndrome diagnoses directly from the labs that test for the genetic abnormality, so the group’s information is considered highly accurate.

The group estimates that there were 4,777 terminations following a Down syndrome diagnosis between 2004 and 2008 compared to Department of Health numbers indicating that 2,168 during that same period, reports the (London) Daily Mail. To read more click here.