Abortion and euthanasia of Down's syndrome children--the parents' view.


A study of 78 parents of Down's syndrome children shows that, while most were in favour of abortion for a handicapped fetus, they were divided equally on whether euthanasia (no distinction made between active and passive euthanasia) was an acceptable practice. Only a third considered an average Down's syndrome child could be a suitable candidate for euthanasia. While parents argued that the degree of handicap of the child was the crucial factor in making this decision, in fact the social class of the parents themselves was the only variable which was statistically significantly related to their opinions. Differences arose from the parents' lack of agreement on what constituted a sufficiently severe handicap.

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