Human Exceptionalism

Improved Eradicate Down Babies Test on the Way

A new test is in the works that will allow Down fetuses to be detected without the risks of current screening.  From the story:

A quick inexpensive blood test for Down’s syndrome that could save the lives of hundreds of unborn babies each year is being developed by scientists.  The ‘holy grail’ of diagnosis, it would pick up signs of the disease from a few drops of the mother’s blood. The test could save lives by removing the risk of miscarriage associated with current tests…Dr Frints, of Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, has already created a kit that can work out if the baby is a boy or a girl. She is adapting the kit to test for Down’s syndrome and other genetic conditions could follow. Around 25,000 British women a year have invasive tests for Down’s syndrome, so the test has the potential to save 250 lives annually.

The statement in the story really meant “save the lives of normal babies.” These tests are intended as a search and destroy mission,  to find and promote eradication of Down fetuses.  The babies miscarried now as a result of invasive testing might be called collateral damage in the larger eugenic drive.

I am certainly in favor of preventing those miscarriages.  And, of course, some families will use the information provided to prepare themselves and family for the arrival of a child with a disability, as did the Palins (for which some will never forgive them).  But the latter benefit isn’t the primary point of the test and certainly not why the medical establishment promotes universal pre-natal testing so enthusiastically.  Frankly, they are not satisfied with a 90% termination rate.

But isn’t it ironic–that we will save some “good” babies, in order to find a better way to identify others to terminate.   If babies of color were being similarly targeted it would be called racism.

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