SYDNEY, May 21, 1999 ( – The number of Australian babies born with spina bifida has dropped significantly over the past decade according to figures released this week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. By 1996, the number had dropped to about three for every 10,000 live births from seven in 1987.

Tragically, however, behind this apparent good news is evidence that the drop is due to a sharp increase in the numbers of babies aborted due to the detection of spina bifida in preborn children. Over the same period of time, reported Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, “the percentage of induced abortions for all recorded instances of spina bifida grew from 7.4% of cases in 1987 to a peak of 48% in 1994.” By 1996, this figure dropped off mildly to 46.1% of all notified cases of spina bifida.