The number of abortions at between 20 weeks and 24 weeks of pregnancy has more than doubled since late ultrasound scans were introduced for all women in 2007, according to health ministry statistics.
In 2010 there were 317 late abortions following a scan, compared with 140 in 2006, according to the NRC. The scans show up conditions such as spina bifida, cleft palate and heart problems.
Prior to 2007, only women considered to be at risk of having children with serious health problems were given a scan at 20 weeks.
The NRC says research by Amsterdam’s VU university shows some 300 children are born with Down’s Syndrome in the Netherlands every year. This high total is because only 26% of Dutch women undergo tests for the syndrome, compared with 80% in Europe as a whole, the researchers said.
Dutch women tend to have babies late – one third of new mothers are over the age of 35 – and this increases the risk of Down’s.