So How Many Babies with Down Syndrome Are Actually Aborted?

Many of you read, commented, and shared the post I did about “The 8%,” referring to the percentage of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome who aren’t aborted.  I wrote:

In the United States, would you believe ninety-two percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted before they get a chance to take a breath? When I hear this statistic, it makes me want to burst into tears.  I can’t imagine a world without Trig — he is the best brother!  (Okay, you’re not too bad either, Track!)

It’s crazy how in love with Trig we all are. When Tripp is acting up — which he does often! — I sometimes joke with my mom.

“Hey, want to trade kids?” I laugh.

Willow and I always talk about how lovable Trig is, and how we’d take him over any so-called “normal” kid anyday! He’s way cooler than people with fewer chromosomes. I’d have a Down syndrome baby in a heartbeat, and I know anyone else would if they saw any sort of glimpse of how perfect my little brother is.

Thank you for sharing your stories in the comments section and for sharing that post with your friends. However, my website administrator got an e-mail from another on the SixSeeds Faith and Family Channel, author Amy Julia Becker – the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome.  I’m sorry to say I think I unknowingly passed on incorrect information.  She told me that the 8% number is not exactly accurate.  She writes:

I just read Bristol’s post about babies who are born with DS being one of the 8%. I love the poem she includes, and I think her point is an important one. Still, I’ve learned recently that it’s an inaccurate number. It’s widely cited by many people, but it’s based on a single study from a single hospital in the 1980′s. Overall, it seems that about 70% of babies prenatally diagnosed with DS are aborted, and that the abortion rates vary greatly from region to region across the US. Moreover, lots of women don’t seek prenatal diagnosis, whether out of ignorance or because they don’t want to risk an amnio or because they don’t think the information is necessary. So out of all babies conceived with DS, 50% are actually born. Still a terrible reality that 50% are aborted, but a much better situation than the 8% number implies.

I think it’s important to get the accurate numbers out there so that women who are facing decisions about prenatal testing and abortion recognize that they are not alone if they decide to forgo the testing and/or keep the baby with DS. There are thousands of other women making the same decision who want to support them and love their babies.

Thanks, Amy, for the correction. Yes, moms who are facing this challenge, know you’re not alone!

And some of you might enjoy Amy’s book called, “A Good and Perfect Gift:”

A GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House) is a spiritual memoir that chronicles Amy Julia Becker’s journey through her daughter Penny’s first years of life. Top of her class at Princeton, Amy Julia Becker always imagined that her children would turn out just like her. So when her daughter Penny entered the world with Down syndrome, Becker had to rethink everything.

In fact, another Patheos blog is giving away this book.  Click here for Anna Quinn’s complete review and details on how to win your own copy!

  • GrizzlyMom

    Bristol this is a good start. I am happy to see you start taking responsibility for your words.

    • Josh


    • RefudiateObama2012

      You are Bristol’s guest when you comment on her blog. Try to show some respect. Bristol has done a great job of accepting responsibility, both in her words and her actions.

      • Mrs. Sixx

        Don’t be such a child. It’s the internet. If she didn’t want people to comment, she wouldn’t have comments open. It’s not your responsibility to police other peoples’ comments.

        • Michael Teuber

          RefudiateObama2012 says:

          Try to show some respect.

          Mrs. Sixx says:

          Don’t be such a child. It’s the internet.

          Ladies and gentlemen, the cultural conversation in a ‘fundamentally transformed’ America! *Rimshot*

    • Robyn Lund

      She started that a long time ago.

  • Joseppi

    Kudo’s for the correction

  • Jennifer Grant

    Thank you for this – and for directing your readers to Amy Julia Becker’s powerful book. Those interested in issues around raising children with Down syndrome or other special needs will love it, as will anyone who just loves a good, honest memoir about faith, family, and battling perfectionism.

  • Sue Lynn

    There are all kinds of studies out there. I’ve seen 90% many times. Bottom line love is greater than our fears. I know Trig has a heart of gold and we are lucky to have him. God knows what he is doing!

  • Mary GW

    Thanks for the correction Bristol as I too shared that 8% info.

  • LMA

    I applaud your willingness to make the correction. Now please correct your assertion that kids do better in “mother/father homes” than in homes with same-sex parents. A simple Google search will yield a great deal of information regarding that matter.

    • Josh

      Bristol was corrected a point of fact with the 8%. Her comment about how kids do better in a mother/father home is not a point of fact, it’s an opinion. YOUR opinion is not fact LMA. Even if the MSM wants to tell you it is and that everyone who thinks differently is evil or dumb. Don’t buy that lie. Because that is an error that should be corrected. But the media doesn’t seem to have the clarity or humility to correct that mistake like Bristol just did.

      • GrizzlyMom

        Josh why don’t you compare the statistics of child abuse amongst heterosexual parents vs gay parents? And then look at poverty rates and divorce rates. Bristol is stating as FACT that children do better in homes where a mother and father exist. She should back that up or its just an opinion. With the divorce rate hovering around 50 percent I would dare say that children aren’t doing too well in heterosexual families. If Bristol is really concerned about how children are raised you would think that she would post a blog about ways heterosexuals can be better parents rather than concern herself about the very very small minority of children being raised by same sex parents.

      • Michelle

        Thanks, Josh, but my “opinion” is based on actual credible studies. Your opinion is not evil or dumb, as I’m sure you’re not. I’m simply trying to share with Bristol that her opinion does not reflect actuality. Why is that so offensive to you?

        • Michael Teuber

          Arbitrarily asserting as fact an opinion, that relies on studies we are to search for on the internet to find evidence for, does not establish ‘actuality’. Moreover presenting dissenting opinions based on clinical studies would not establish ‘actuality’ but merely present evidence to support an argument you have not engaged on the arbitrary grounds that these unproduced studies prove there is no need for you to prove you are right. Asserting knowledge of Josh’s unexpressed emotions is also arbitrary psychologizing.

          • LMA

            Did Bristol cite her studies? No. She wrote, “…in general, we know…” But it’s clear that those who agree with her are willing to find their own supporting evidence. Michael, it’s second nature now for folks to go straight to the Internet to look up anything. If you were actually interested in finding any studies at all that support my contention, then you know you could without my handing those sources to you, such as this one:
            Or this one:

            Also, congratulations. You’ve apparently mastered the use of the word “arbitrary.”

          • Michael Teuber

            Michelle: Since we’ve run out of ‘reply’ buttons I will post this as a reply to myself.

            Bristol did not refer to any ‘studies’, she is not required to in stating her personal opinion. You however stated categorically that her opinion was not ‘actuality’. The onus is upon you to support your claim to certainty. I am not responsible for, nor am I aware of, anyone else who agrees with Bristol’s opinion, who may have found evidence to support their contention on the internet. What you may consider ‘second nature’ is irrelevant. If you state that Bristol’s opinion is invalid because it is not ‘actuality’ it is your responsibility to back that claim up, not anyone else’s to prove you wrong. I have no interest in your contentions at all, purely the high-handed and dismissive assertion that Bristol’s opinion was, not just one with which you disagreed, but ‘not actuality’, a claim you have now provided two rather weak news articles to support, but have by no means established.

            Yes, Michelle, arbitrary claims to certainty, or doubt, are the bane of rational discourse.

      • Michelle

        And apparently, you are wrong: Bristol’s 8% “point of fact” was not actually factual! She’s got a bigger pair than you, because she corrected her mistake.

        • Michael Teuber

          That Bristol asserted the 8% figure as fact, then corrected herself was, in fact, Josh’s original point. You however continue to assert, arbitrarily, that those you disagree with are mistaken.

          • LMA

            Michael, there is evidence that children who are raised by same-sex families are well adjusted and happy. By saying that, in general, kids are better off in families that are raised by mother/father couples, you have to ignore evidence that kids are happy with same-sex parents also, and you also have to ignore the rate of divorce in this country among hetero couples with kids, not to mention the kids who are abused while living with both mother and father. I’m not saying that because you disagree with me you’re mistaken. I’m saying that you all are ignoring everything that’s proving contrary to your opinion that kids who are raised by mothers AND fathers in one household are better off. Is that the ideal situation? Most people would say that, yes, kids should be raised in two-parent homes. Does that two-parent home have to be a mom and dad in order for the kid(s) to be happiest? There is credible evidence to support that the answer is no.

          • Michael Teuber

            I have taken no position on the issue at all, simply pointed out that you made an arbitrary statement that Bristol’s opinion on the subject, was ‘not actuality’ and demanded that she apologize. You have, when prompted, provided two links to articles which might constitute evidence, but not certainty.

            Curiously, your reply does not refer to the point of my comment, that you falsely asserted Josh claimed that Bristol’s 8% figure was accurate, when he actually stated she had been corrected. Demanding that Bristol recant opinions you do not agree with, while evading responsibility for your demonstrably false assertion is confusing.

      • LMA

        First, my apologies. I didn’t mean to misrepresent myself. “LMA” and “Michelle” are one and the same. I sometimes use my initials and sometimes my middle name. Second, Josh, I went back and looked at what Bristol wrote in her post regarding same-sex marriage, and here’s what she said: “…we know that in general kids do better in a mother/father home…” That’s slightly paraphrased, but she definitely wrote “we know that in general.” That’s a pretty strongly worded opinion! I’m sure she meant for us to assume that it was based in fact.

    • Judy

      Not so LMA. Bristol doesn’t need to offer a correction on that issue. She is absolutely right.

      • Michelle

        Who says, Judy? There are very credible studies that point to the contrary. Just because you choose to ignore them does not mean they don’t exist.

        • Michael Teuber

          Your question is essentially a demand that Judy provide evidence that your assertion of doubt is not wrong. Simply asserting the existence of credible studies does not establish that you are right, nor is it necessary for Judy to refute an argument based on evidence you have referred to but not provided.

          Simply relying on the authority of studies which support your conclusion, does not demonstrate that conclusion as ‘actuality’.

          • LMA

            And that’s not what you’ve all done? Rely on the authority of studies which support your conclusion?

          • LMA

            And no, Judy said that Bristol is absolutely right. Period. End of statement. Now the onus is on me to prove Judy’s unproven statement wrong? I think at the very least I’d demand that Judy provide evidence that her own assertion is correct. (This exchange is almost comical, BTW. It reminds me of the “Who’s on first?” thing.)

          • Michael Teuber

            I am not responsible for those arguing Bristols opinion, pro or con. That I observed your original claim was arbitrary and cognitively void, does not make me responsible for proving those with whom you disagree correct. Therefore I provide no studies to support a position I haven’t taken.

            Bristol proffered an opinion. You, LMA/Michelle stated that opinion to be ‘not actuality’ (which makes me think of the TruTV commercial slogan “Not reality, actuality”) and required a correction. Judy quite properly rejected that demand, because, in its original form it was arbitrary, now, as amended, merely not proven. That Judy happens to agree with Bristol does not change the fact that at that time you had offered no evidence and still demanded that Judy disprove your original arbitrary proposition, accusing her of ignoring studies which you had not yet identified.

            Who’s on First? relies on confusion between proper nouns and interrogatives to create an apparent incongruity. Our exchange however seems more of a parallel monologue. Its incongruities are yours to repair by either admitting that you should not have stated Bristol’s opinions were ‘not actuality’ and demanded a correction without proof, or provide that proof and renew your demand. As this is a blog comment section, not a peer reviewed journal of child development professionals, perhaps the first option would be easier.

    • Emily

      Google can tell you anything you want it to tell you. One of my very best friends is gay, and he’s an amazing guy. I have no right to “throw rocks” at gays and lesbians. Just because I can’t add that to the list of my sins doesn’t mean my list isn’t long. I believe that gays and lesbians can be wonderful parents, as well as terrible parents. Just as your “typical” parents (a mother and father) can be wonderful parents or terrible parents. Overall, I do believe that children do better in a family with a mother and a father. They need to be able to flourish under the influence of a mother and a father.

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  • Georgia

    This is so sad, Bristol. It is nothing short of murdering precious pre-born babies, which are the most vulnerable among us. May the Lord hold each of these precious little human beings, in the palms of His loving hands.

  • Amy August

    Hello Bristol! For some reason I am unable to comment on your posts anymore. I think for some odd reason I was blocked by somebody. Thank you for being a big voice for what we believe in! Thank you for the article the other day. I am hoping to get your book and the one from Amy Becker sometime in the near future. Thanks again!

  • rusty

    I always felt life was precious. Not a religious person at all, but feel life comes from a place we know nothing about at this time. Many who are “different” from most of us are in truth just that, different. We know not where we come from or where we are going, but all should have a fair chance. Just my opinion. Pro life.