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Targeting the Unborn with Downs

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A very disturbing report from the Washington Post on new testing that allows moms to identify unborn children with Downs Syndrome much earlier in their pregnancy:

But Gene Rudd of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations said he was concerned that women are not always fully advised about the risks of prenatal testing, and that screening could be used to try to eliminate babies with Down syndrome.

“What’s the goal here? Is it to rid our society of Down babies? If that is the goal, I really have to question the civility of that,” Rudd said. “The overwhelming number of people with Down will tell you their life is good.”

Randall K. O’Bannon of the National Right to Life Committee said in an e-mail, “These tests appear to be used only to select babies for abortion, including as many as 5 percent who may not even have Down’s Syndrome. . . . Killing a child with Down’s Syndrome is not the solution to Down’s Syndrome.”

Given that this research will spark little in the way of controversy, there will be no rational basis for distinguishing the search for tests to aid sex-selection driven abortion or even abortion driven by factors relating to future performance of the child as an athlete or scholar.

If, for example, if a gene for alcoholism/schizophrenia/other mental disorder is discovered, will there be any rational way to distinguish abortion decisions made on the basis of the genetic make-up of that person from the decision to abort a child with Downs? The same question exists for any gene-driven abortion decision.

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