New prenatal test will further eugenic targeting of Down syndrome children: ethicist
In America, approximately 90% of children with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted.
"Now, a new test makes the search part of the overarching search and destroy mission less invasive and more accurate," writes Wesley J. Smith on his Human Exceptionalism blog.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the new blood test – far safer for unborn babies than current methods – is ten times better at accurately predicting whether an unborn baby has Down syndrome than current methods.
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While the test would still require follow-up diagnostic analyses, which can cause miscarriages, it would send fewer women to the second round of testing.
Currently, women being screened for Down syndrome and other trisomies are given an ultrasound at the back of the unborn baby's neck, and chemicals in the mother's blood are measured. Error rates are not enormous, but large enough to be significant.
While some are hailing the method for its use in helping parents prepare to welcome a Down syndrome baby, Smith warns that it will simply be used as the latest weapon in the eugenics arsenal.
“A blood test to determine problems would be very good news in a world in which all children are welcomed with unconditional love,” he writes. "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."
ABC News reported in 2009 that one expert estimated the nation would have seen “ a 34 percent increase in the number of Down births between 1989 and 2005” without prenatal testing.