Belgian doctors support killing disabled babies after birth

20 August 2020

A new research paper into attitudes towards abortion has found that some 94% of Belgian physicians surveyed support the idea of ‘after-birth abortion’ for babies born with a disability.

‘After-birth abortion’ for minor disabilities

The study was conducted among physicians and paramedical professionals involved in late termination of pregnancy (TOP) decision-making in the Flanders region of Belgium. The poll found that 93.6% of physicians surveyed “agree that in the event of a serious (non-lethal) neonatal condition, administering drugs with the explicit intention to end a neonatal life is acceptable.”

Although the paper does not define the term ‘serious (non-lethal) neonatal condition’, it can easily be understood to mean newborn babies born with a disability. Similar wording the the UK Abortion Act has in practice allowed for abortion up to birth for babies with prenatally diagnosed disabilities, including abortion for Down’s syndrome and minor disabilities such as cleft lip and club foot.

Killing the unborn and newborn an ‘accepted practice’

All the Belgian healthcare professionals surveyed (100%) accepted late termination of pregnancy for lethal fetal conditions, with almost all (95.6%) accepted late TOP for serious but not lethal fetal conditions.

The survey also states that, “almost nine out of ten respondents (89.1%) agreed that in the event of a serious (non-lethal) neonatal condition, administering drugs with the explicit intention to end neonatal life was acceptable.” Furthermore, “behavioral intentions indicate that even in situations with an unclear diagnosis and unpredictable prognosis, 85/6% of professional would still consider late TOP.”

Calls to legalise after-birth abortion

The study concludes:

“Healthcare professionals practicing late TOP in Flanders, Belgium have a high degree of tolerance towards late TOP, irrespective of sociodemographic factors, and are demanding legislative change regarding active life‐ending in the fetal and neonatal periods.”

Sadly, doctors in Belgium are not alone in the call to further liberalise and legalise infanticide. In 2012, two medical ‘ethicists’ claimed that doctors should be able to end the lives of disabled – and even unwanted – newborn babies because they are not “actual persons.”

The study, published by the British Medical Journal, claimed that:

“Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

Although the response to the article was initial widespread outrage, the call to legalise infanticide now appear to have more widespread support among healthcare professionals.

Down’s syndrome babies at further risk in UK

Meanwhile in the UK, the government has announced plans to roll out a nationwide testing scheme for Down’s syndrome. Pro-life groups Right to Life and Don’t Screen Us Out believe this will likely lead to an increase of babies with Down’s syndrome being aborted.

An investigation by The Times back in 2019 showed that women who had this test were much more likely to have an abortion because the testing for Down’s syndrome was more accurate. In fact, since the screening was first introduced in small number of hospitals across the country, the number of babies born with Down’s syndrome has dropped by 30% in those hospitals.

Already in the UK, some 90% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are aborted.

Paul Huxley, Communications Manager at Christian Concern, commented: “As disturbing as they are, the poll’s findings do not come as a surprise.”

“Our pro-abortion culture says that the death of unborn children is acceptable, even preferable, if the child is unwanted or not going to live a life that we deem ‘worthwhile’. This is just the next step, as predictable as day following night.”

“We’ve seen the same logic tragically play out in the stories of Zainab Abbasi, Alfie Evans and other children as judges and healthcare professionals have decided to enforce death, supposedly in their ‘best interests’.”

“Only a renewed recognition that all human beings have God-given dignity can rescue our society from this oppression of the weak by the strong.”

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