Friday, November 11, 2005

Using Science to Discriminate Sooner and Sooner

The Washington Post had an article yesterday on a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that a combination of tests can be performed in the first trimester to "reliably identify" whether the unborn child has Down Syndrome or not. The combined tests do have a 5% false positive result, which means that 5% of the children tested will not have Down Syndrome but the tests will conclude that they do.

I want to note this quote from the study's lead researcher:

"By the time you're 20 weeks pregnant, most women will be feeling fetal movement. We wouldn't want to underestimate the psychological or emotional difficulty of undergoing pregnancy termination that late," Malone said. "Also, at that point it's easy to tell by looking at the woman if she is pregnant. This way she can make her decision in utmost privacy."

Isn't it sad that a medical journal and medical researchers are more concerned with a woman's ability to have an abortion without anyone else knowing than they are with saving and helping children with disabilities? It's like their thinking is, "We've got to kill the child before the mother feels it move. We wouldn't want her to know that her child is a living, kicking, moving human being and then form some kind of attachment to it. We wouldn't want her neighbors to know that she aborted solely because her child was disabled."

Notice how in not wanting to underestimate the emotional pain of women who have late term abortions, they seem to be underestimating the emotional pain of women who have abortions early in pregnancy or the possible emotional pain of any woman who has an abortion solely because their child has a disability regardless of the stage of pregnancy.

Malone and others, however, said they doubted the approach would result in more abortions.

What about the 5% of case with false positive results? Since the test is far from perfect, wouldn't that lead to an increase in the number of children who are falsely diagnosed with Down Syndrome and then aborted after being falsely diagnosed?

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