Bioethics News

Are abortions for cleft palate rising in the UK?

Abortions for cleft palate, an easily-fixed facial deformity, have been rising in the United Kingdom, according to the latest official figures. In 2015, 11 were carried out. The comparable figure in 2012 was 4.

Campaigners point the finger at new pre-natal tests which allow doctors to inform pregnant women of the defect. MP Fiona Bruce, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said: “It is deeply disturbing if these figures reflect a worrying trend in society to disproportionately value the physically perfect and beautiful.”

Lord Alton, a crossbench peer, commented: “Aborting a baby with a cleft palate should be unconscionable. For the law to allow this up to birth should be unthinkable.”

A prominent Church of England curate, the Reverend Joanna Jepson, who was born with a jaw deformity, told the Daily Mail: “That this kind of discrimination is on the rise shows just how far we are from being the humane and tolerant society we claim to be.”

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.