Prenatal Testing: A Tool of the Culture of Death

Every day, parents face hard choices big and small: Whether to send their children to private or public school; whether to allow them to watch certain shows or turn off the television.

But the gravity of some choices far exceeds these common decisions — choices that parents were never intended to make.

Every year, 150,000 babies are born with birth defects. Countless more never make it to birth.

Prenatal screening has opened up a baffling world of “choices” to couples who are expecting a baby. Using tests administered as early as the first trimester, couples can find out if their baby has any number of congenital disorders — ranging from Down syndrome to spina bifida.

These tests are often presented by the medical community as a way to help prevent risks for the mother and child, but as Adrienne Asch, professor of bioethics at Yeshiva University, says, “[Prenatal testing] is not a medical procedure to promote the health of the fetus. It is a procedure to give prospective parents information to decide whether or not to eliminate a possible future life.”

This is why 90 percent of babies with Down syndrome are aborted. Not to mention countless others whose lives are terminated because of an unfortunate mixing of chromosomes.

What is even more shocking is that many women make the decision to abort their baby because they feel pressured by their doctors or insurance companies.

One mother named Katie learned that her baby had Trisomy 13, a genetic disorder also known as Patau syndrome. The medical community refers to this disorder as being “incompatible with life.” Although the vast majority babies with the disorder don’t survive, many can live several years after birth. Katie writes that she and her partner felt pressured by medical professionals to terminate the pregnancy, so she did.

“At that time it was all we knew to do,” Katie wrote. No one gave us any information . . . Maybe if the professionals we had talked to would have given us more information we would have made a different choice. To this day, I still live with the pain of the choices we made.”

With healthcare costs rising and government-mandated and controlled insurance on the horizon, more pressure, not less, will be brought against parents like Katie to abort their children with disorders.

Thank God my daughter, Emily, rejected any prenatal testing with her son Max, who is a beautiful 20-year-old autistic young man.

If the government and insurers don’t want to pay to help families raise children with severe medical needs, who will? Will churches stand in the gap by helping to provide for these families emotionally and financially?

1heart2souls” is an online support group to help couples understand that they have options other than aborting their child, as well as offering them resources and emotional support. We need more groups like this to support expecting parents.

It’s easy to be pro-life when we’re not the ones affected. But when members of the Body of Christ face a difficult prenatal diagnosis, are we pro-life enough to share the burden with them ?Important question.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • stutmann9

    That is why the March of Dimes is so insidious. Under the guise of preventing birth defects, they encourage and support abortion as a choice! No good Catholic should support them!

  • plowshare

    There is an organization, “99 Balloons, Inc.” which was founded to give help to “special needs children” and their families.
    http://www.ninetynineballoons.com/

    The founders had a baby with Trisomy 18 which, like Trisomy 13, is usually fatal in the first year. [Down's syndrome is the other condition that involves an extra chromosome and is compatible with some life outside the womb.]

    There is a very moving film about the life of this baby, who lived 99 days and from whom the organization got its name:
    http://vimeo.com/1992220

MENU