Is genetic testing to blame for abortion spike in women over 40?
The abortion rate increased in Texas women over the age of 40 in 2009, and the reason for this spike may be due to an increased access to genetic screening. Women may be aborting innocent children simply because their child may be diagnosed with a disorder like Down syndrome.
Because any pregnancy over the age of 35 is seen as high-risk, women are immediately asked, and sometimes urged, by doctors to undergo newer, earlier screenings for possible birth defects and chromosomal anomalies. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, statistics show that one in 100 women over the age of 40 are at an increased risk of having a child diagnosed with Down syndrome; at 45 the risk increases to one in 30; at 49, one in 10.
Today, over 90 percent of children prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are killed before they have a chance to take a breath. Thirteen percent of doctors and the same percent of genetic testing professionals admit to stressing the negative aspects of Down syndrome in the hope of persuading a pregnant woman to have an abortion; 10 percent claim to have actively urged a woman to end her child’s life. The claim that these new genetic tests play no role in whether a child lives or dies is false.
An overwhelming majority of families surveyed who have a child with Down syndrome say they are perfectly happy with the life they gave their child. Yet, only four percent of doctors actively urge mothers to continue their pregnancy if the risk is increased. There seems to be a deep prejudice against these little ones who have done no wrong.
If abortions are increasing because of these new genetic tests, that would indicate that children are seen a possession to be disposed of when unsuited to the parents' lifestyle. It also shows that society no longer values life as a precious gift but a commodity that can be discarded. These children have done nothing to deserve this fate, and ending their life because they may have some disorder is cruel and selfish.
Tags: bioethics, culture, media