Indian Supreme Court denies the abortion of a child with Down syndrome. Catholic physician: abortion is never the best choice
by Nirmala Carvalho

Judges state: "We have a life on our hands." The mother is 37 years old and 26 weeks pregnant. The anomaly of the fetus does not pose risks to the health of pregnant women. Dr. Carvalho: "When you discover problems with prenatal diagnosis, the predominant trend is abortion."


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Supreme Court of India has denied abortion to a woman 26 weeks pregnant, whose child suffers from Down syndrome.  The judges state: "We have a life on our hands." The Supreme Court, after medical evaluations, has decreed that there are no physical risks to the mother in continuing the pregnancy that would justify abortion.  "Everyone knows - they wrote in the judgment - that children with Down syndrome are definitely less intelligent, but they are good people."

Speaking to AsiaNews Dr. Pascoal Carvalho, a Catholic doctor and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said: "There is no doubt that parents suffer when abnormalities to the fetus are diagnosed, but abortion should never be considered the best option."

The Supreme Court ruling is dated 28 February. The mother, a woman of 37, had appealed to interrupt the pregnancy. In India, the law states that you can have an abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy if it poses a danger to the mother and fetus. However in this case the courts have not seen fit to grant permission. Earlier in a similar incident they had agreed to the interruption for a 24-week pregnant woman with serious risks to her health.

Dr. Carvalho said that "life is sacred, and it is from the moment of conception. Any attack against human life cheapens our attitude towards life as a whole. Today we are faced with a culture of death and that is why we must reaffirm respect for life, especially for those who are not yet born, also with Down syndrome. " "Life is a continuous - said the doctor - and any attempt to suppress it leads us to deny its value. Abortion is an attack against life from its beginning. "

He reports that the new ethical and religious directives for Catholic health services [enacted in 1994 by the US National Catholic bishops Conference, who return to the teachings of Instruction Donum Vitae 1987 - ed] allow prenatal diagnosis only when the "methods used with the consent of the parents adequately informed, safeguard the life and integrity of the embryo and its mother, without subjecting them to disproportionate risks "[Donum vitae, part 1 n. 2 - Ed].

The problems, continues Dr. Carvalho, "arise when the diagnoses show deformities or abnormalities in the child. The predominant trend in the world today is abortion. " "Despite this - he concludes - we must never forget that every person is a unique individual made in the image and likeness of God. The unborn child, innocent, helpless is crying out for our protection."