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Catholic group warns of possible step toward eugenics

.- Canada’s Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is calling upon all Canadians, especially obstetricians, gynecologists and expectant parents, to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every human life after the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recommended that all pregnant women be given access to non-invasive prenatal genetic screening for fetal aneuploidy, with a particular emphasis on Down’s Syndrome.

COLF says the recommendation is a disturbing step towards eugenics in our society and Canadians must act to protect the basic human rights of the disabled, including first and foremost their right to be born.  

The executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada told the National Post that this screening was being recommended “so that a greater number of women would have the option to terminate their pregnancies should fetal abnormalities be detected.”

“Prenatal diagnosis demonstrates the positive advancements of science when it is employed to safeguard the life and integrity of the child and the mother, and does not place them at risk,” says COLF. “However, for most genetic conditions that can be identified in the womb, including fetal aneuploidy and particularly Down’s Syndrome, there are no available cures or therapies that can be administered before the child is born.”

“The predominant purpose of prenatal genetic screening for fetal aneuploidy is thus to offer parents the option of aborting ‘defective’ babies,” the group said. “This places parents in the position of making life-death decisions based on their own preferences, fears, and guesses about the future quality of their own lives and their children’s.”

“Rather than offering the parents of these children a way of eliminating their unborn, we should be providing them with more resources and support,” they suggested.

In their statement, COLF went on to explain the many positive contributions that people with an illness or a disability have made to Canadian society, citing Pope Benedict as well as Jean Vanier, the Canadian founder of L’Arche, an international federation of communities for people with disabilities.

“A society that aspires to social justice is measured by how it treats its weaker and more needy members,” COLF stated. “The announcement of the SOGC is a signal for Canadians to make a commitment to recognize and protect the rights of the disabled, including their first and fundamental right to life.”

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