Skip to comments.Wesley J. Smith: Mothers Refusing Prenatal Testing to Protect Babies with Down
Posted on 09/19/2010 9:54:59 AM PDT by wagglebee
It seems indisputable to me that the medical elites and many in bioethics wish to wipe people with Down syndrome off the face of the earth using the killing tool of eugenic abortionor if that doesnt work, infanticide or medical neglect. This has led to a counter movement to value our brothers and sisters with Down into the human community. For example, as I reported here, the late Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Sam Brownback passed a law through Congress, signed by President Bush, requiring that genetic counseling for mothers whose fetuses have tested positive for Down, dwarfism, and other genetic anomolies, not be directed to any particular outcome. The senators believed the law was necessary because studies showed that women were often pushed toward the abortion option.
Another method of push back is for women to refuse testing altogether. Their thinking is that they are going to love their baby come what maygee, unconditional love, what a concept!and they worry about being tested because of the pressure they will come under to abort.
One such mother has written a story in the NYT about her decision not to receive such testing, even though she already gave birth to one child with Down and the chances are greatly increased that she will do so again. From Why Prenatal Testing Harms as Much as it Helps, by Amy Julia Becker:
For this pregnancy, I have had two ultrasounds, and I have agreed to a fetal echocardiogram. But I declined the blood tests that screen for chromosomal abnormalities. I declined the amniocentesis. I didnt return my insurance companys calls when they wanted to assign a nurse to guide me through this pregnancy. Im not opposed to having information about our baby ahead of time. I want to know everything we could know in order to care for this child well. If there is a physical problem, if I need to deliver with specialists on hand, if our baby is at high risk of complications, I want to know about it, and the tests we have chosen should provide that information. And although I declined, Im not opposed to prenatal testing. There are benefits to knowledge. According to Dr. Brian Skotko of Harvard Medical School, studies have demonstrated the helpfulness of prenatal diagnosis. Women who know ahead of time that their babies have Down syndrome are able to celebrate their arrival into the world, and often these women feel better prepared for the challenges they might face as a parent.
Thats what happened with Sarah Palin. She says knowing ahead of time helped her prepare to welcome Trig with open arms (which, as I have written, is one reason why I think she generates so much hate from certain quarters). But pre natal testing, which could be so beneficial, clearly has a darker sidethe targeting of those deemed deficient:
On the other hand, the way these tests are administered, the way information is provided to women and the way our culture talks about and conceives of individuals with chromosomal abnormalities contribute to my concern that prenatal testing more often serves to devalue all human life and to offer parents and doctors an illusion of control. When a friend of mine, who has a daughter with Down syndrome, declined amniocentesis for her next pregnancy, her doctor shrugged and said, Well, if it happens again, dont blame me. Another friend, upon receiving the results of her amniocentesis, was asked, When would you like to schedule the procedure to terminate? Peter and I have participated in a program through the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in which medical students meet families with a child with a disability. These doctors in training have told me that before they met Penny, they thought Down syndrome was the worst possible thing that could happen to a child. A medical-school professor at the University of North Carolina offered validation to their report when he said to his class, In my opinion, the moral thing for older women to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome 21, and abort the fetus if it does.
That last bit reminded me of a speech I once gave at a medical school about the urgency of seeing all human beings as possessing equal moral worth in the medical system. Afterwards, a soon to be doctor said to me, I do genetic counseling. What should I do when a fetus has tested positive for Down? his implication being that there only is one right decision. I suggested that perhaps he should bring in families of people with Down to help explain to the woman or couple what life is really like for families with such children. He looked at me as if I were from Mars.
Even as maternal age increases, the incidence of children born with Down syndrome is decreasing. Studies show that 85 percent to 90 percent of women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. We declined prenatal testing not because we assume this baby in my womb has the typical 46 chromosomes. We declined prenatal testing because we would welcome another child with Down syndrome.
We hear so often, as in AIDS, about how prejudicial attitudes of medical professionals hurt patients. That problem is clearly true with regard to Down and other genetic conditions that can be diagnosed prenatally. Because women know that they would be expected to abort, they are instead of opting out of beneficial testing. Thats not their fault. Its that of the medical professionaland of a culture that too often rejects human exceptionalism. We all have a lot of work to do cleaning up our prejudicial act.
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Imho, the medical professional has an unacceptable number of members who do not value life.
That is hard for many to accept I know. We got an "up close & personal" confirmation of the truth of that assertion in the ER, when a snot nosed intern was trying to push a DNR for our elderly father (i/l)
I quote, "Well. He doesn't have much of a life."
Needless to say, he did not get his precious DNR. However, the head of that hospital did get a full report and a proper dressing down. I forget the detail of what we said to the youngster playing God, at the time.
But, how many families just go with "doctor knows best."?
I would guess many more than we might even imagine. How intimidating are hospitals and doctors, particularly in the ER?
Every mother knows in her heart that she is not guaranteed a “perfect specimen.” Believe me: We torture ourselves throughout our pregnancies, imagining every possible horrific outcome. Even without the “benefit” of these invasive and risky tests, we are prepared. A healthy baby is a relief, a gift, a blessing from God. Refusing tests is nothing new. My doctor insisted on testing for Downs 25 years ago, with my first baby. I refused - because the result would not cause me to make the so-called choice I obviously was being offered. I also refused because amnio could damage a healthy unborn BABY. The doctor warned of other looming tragedies. A cyst that would require surgery immeidately upon delivery - without anasthetic, because “babies don’t feel pain.” I refused that one, too. The alleged cyst was not life threatening. Of course, the cyst was a phantom - probably a speck on the sonogram screen. And oh, yes, the boy I was told to expect is named Erin Marie, and she is now a mother herself. She didn’t have amnio, either. My grandson is the picture of health.
Having spent a lot of time recently in hospitals and having procedures done, I have noticed more things that disturb me. For instance, I was given a med before a recent minor surgical procedure that I was told would *relax* me before I was given anesthesia. Later, when I realized I didn’t even recall going into the OR I looked the drug up, and discovered that what it did was give me amnesia! So, I was awake but was unable to process memories for that time period. How is this beneficial to ME? I can see how it’s beneficial to the medical profession, but not the patient. I will certainly ask not to be given that drug again (and feel that I was not given it with informed consent at the time). You really need to have someone you trust advocating for you at all times now days because I don’t think you can always trust your doctors and others.
Good for these mothers!!! And may God bless them.
My wife was 40 when our last child was born, and the doctor wanted to perfor amniocentesis. We declined because there is a slight risk to the fetus involved, and we were going to welcome it whatever the resutls.
But why the pressure to terminate a less than perfect child? only a belief that Satan actually exists explains it satisfactorily to me.
“Testing” is FAR from accurate!
I worked with a couple who’s baby tested positive for Downs Syndrome.
The Father wanted to abort, the Mother refused.
The Baby was PERFECT!
Imagine what must go through that Father’s mind, every time he sees that beautiful young lady. (She’s an adult now)
Imagine the strain on that marriage.....!
That's called referring the case to a specialist.
I turned down the AFP test for my pregnancies and told them that there was no point because abortion wasn’t an option.
The nurse practioner who was evaluating me, looked me in the eye and said, “I wish more people felt that way”.
And that was the last I heard of it.
“The Father wanted to abort, the Mother refused.”
The “father” should be harassed and tormented every day of his worthless existence. If he wasn’t necessary as a breadwinner then he should have been executed.
It is amazing how many disgustingly evil monsters infect this world and how easily they can conceive an innocent beautiful little creature.
There is absolutely no justice in this world. Nothing is right.
Are you for real.Kill the Father.
I turned it down.Had her at 41 years of age.
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