Thursday, December 29, 2005

"A dazzling series of noninvasive screening options for trisomy 21"

This editorial by Jane Brody does not even pretend to be about anything else but the "dazzling" opportunity early prenatal testing offers to mothers "who would consider abortion" to ensure their fetuses don't have the "serious abnormality" of trisomy 21. Such testing can now be done "with great accuracy in the first trimester, before anyone other than the woman, her partner and her physician need know that she is pregnant".

Which, as Ms. Brody reports, is "indeed exciting findings".

She reports on the editorial by Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson of Baylor which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine last month, discussing this breathtaking new advance in eugenics science, which Dr. Simpson refers to as "a dazzling series of noninvasive screening options for trisomy 21".

I suppose I am raising one of the last generation of children with Down syndrome who will appear in normal population concentrations, since apparently they are targetted for extinction in the coming years. Because after all, currently the only way to get rid of the "abnormality" is to get rid of the fetus.

How many generations will it take until moms who choose to give birth to children with Down syndrome are viewed as entirely wacky and not deserving of support?

Not to mention what it will be like to be one of say 12,000, rather than 1 of 800 (which is the normal rate of Down syndrome to live births).

Brave new world.



Anonymous polly said...

The really sad thing, I think, is their negative reaction when you refuse all testing. I don't care to be tested as it won't make any difference to me, but telling your care staff of that brings a slightly bemused reaction and a repetitive 'Are you sure?'.

3:52 AM  
Blogger mary said...

Yes, Polly, and I wish I could say that was an uncommon reaction. But judging from other stories, it's quite common. I suppose physicians might be worried about being sued for "wrongful life" reasons (a whole nother topic, as my kids would say).

But it does make you wonder just how "disinterested" and "non-biased" all this prenatal "counseling" really is. That's the party line; but I don't find it true in a lot of cases. Like yours, for instance.


10:37 AM  

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