Oct 15, 2008 / 02:07 am
Pro-life advocates have warned that a new non-invasive pre-natal test for Down syndrome could increase ‘eugenic’ abortions. The new test, which checks a baby’s DNA, has been developed by researcher Dr. Stephen Quake and his team at
Studies in the
Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association in
“There is no question that these non-invasive tests will be introduced in the next few years,” she said. “It’s therefore incredibly important that potential parents are given accurate information on Down’s syndrome before they make a choice about whether to terminate or not.”
Allison Davis, a member of the No Less Human group associated with the British Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, argued that the new test was not a positive development.
“The new non-invasive test for Down's syndrome will inevitably mean more pre-natal testing, leading to more abortions of babies with the condition. Describing this as a 'breakthrough' is offensive to people who live with Down's syndrome, and to all who recognize the equal right to life of disabled people,” she said to LifeSiteNews.com.
All pregnant women who seek pre-natal care with an obstetrician are offered screenings that can estimate the risk they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome, Cybercast News Service says. Blood tests search for “markers” associated with the genetic condition, in which a third copy of the 21st chromosome causes mild to severe mental retardation and distinct physical characteristics such as low muscle tone and upward slanting eyes.
Uncertainty about the effectiveness of such tests was found in a Norwegian study conducted by the