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Pregnancy: Screening

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL7092, tabled on 16 March 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the National Screening Council’s recommendation that the NHS should offer non-invasive prenatal testing techniques in the light of (1) the UK’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and (2) the Equalities Act 2010 protection of disabled people from unjustified discrimination on grounds of disability.

Answered on

23 March 2016

There is a long established Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme that prospective parents can choose whether to participate in. The United Kingdom National Screening Committee recommendation on non-invasive prenatal testing does not change the choices available to prospective parents within the programme. We are satisfied that the UK is compliant with its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and that the Programme is compliant with all obligations under the Equality Act 2010. We would also note that English law does not recognise a foetus as a separate legal person.