Human Exceptionalism

Test Advances Destroy Down Babies Agenda

Currently about 90% of Down fetuses are aborted. Now, a new test makes the search part of the overarching search and destroy mission less invasive and more accurate. From NPR story:

A new blood test offers pregnant women a safe and much more accurate way to screen for Down syndrome. A study that evaluated the test in 1,914 pregnancies found that the test, which checks DNA, produces far fewer false alarms than the current screening techniques. “It’s very good news for pregnant women,” says Diana Bianchi, a pediatric geneticist at Tufts Medical Center who led the study. “It’s very important because it means a significant proportion of women are not being made anxious by being told they have an abnormal test result.”

Bianchi and others stressed that the results of the screening test would still need to be confirmed by follow-up diagnostic tests — either amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, which can cause miscarriages. But the new blood test would send fewer women for that risky testing. “That’s what we’re really concerned with at the end of the day,” Bianchi says. “That there’s an unintended miscarriage resulting from a procedure that didn’t need to be performed in the first place.”

Sorry. I think many will avoid further testing and eugenically abort based on this result alone. I am not alone in that concern:

“It’s a major advance,” says Michael Greene, an OB-GYN at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the study. “This is the first test that measures DNA directly.”

But Greene and others have some reservations. The new DNA tests are more expensive (the price varies depending on the company performing it). And Greene is concerned that some women may not realize it’s still not perfect. “I’m worried that without a proper sense of perspective on the test that women may use a positive screening test as the basis for terminating what would actually have been a normal pregnancy,” Greene says. 

A tragedy either way, whether the baby would or would not have Down.

A blood test to determine problems would be very good news in a world in which all children are welcomed with unconditional love. For example, Sarah Palin has said that her prenatal testing allowed their family to prepare for her son Trig.

Technology is neutral, but our hearts are not. Even though people with Down are among the most loving among us, some want to wipe them off the face of the earth by not allowing any to be born. This test, I am afraid, furthers that goal. 

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