Thursday, September 20, 2007

Genetic screening increases abortions, education reduces them

Study: Genetic Screening Prompts Abortions, Proper Counseling Cuts Them

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked into the responses of parents whose unborn children were screened for Gaucher Disease, a lipid-storage disorder affecting Jewish people of Eastern European ancestry. The disease is caused by a genetic mutation which causes an enzyme deficiency. The effects may range from no symptoms at all to severe disability or death if untreated. Half of children who have the abnormality will have no symptoms at all. The other half can live normal lives with proper medical treatment.

A study over an 8-year period found that of parents who were simply told that their unborn child tested positive for the disorder, 100 percent of them opted for abortion. But among parents who met with an expert who explained treatment options for the disease, only 8 percent chose abortion. This means that 92% of the parents who aborted their unborn children would have chosen to continue the pregnancy had they been given relevant information about their child's prognosis.

This should be an area where the prochoice and the prolife are in 100% agreement -- that there is no excuse for simply telling parents their unborn child has a potentially fatal genetic disorder without telling them that the disorder is completely treatable. This is utterly unconscionable and I hope the doctors who just let their patients abort in frightened ignorance get sued out of house and home. And get their medical licenses yanked for failing to provide even rudimentary informed consent to their patients.


Molly Marie said...

This just makes me mad. It's not the first time I've heard of this happening.

Christina Dunigan said...

Sadly, a lot of the proponents of screening are not just ordinary docs who think parents ought to be given information so they can make choices. They're genetic supremecists (a term we need to start using) who want to be able to weed what they consider "bad genes" out of the gene pool entirely. They believe that people with these genes have no right to reproduce, and that fetuses with these genes have no right to be brought to birth.

And these people wrap themselves in the rhetoric of "choice" and take a "divide and conquor" approach to the rest of the world. And they're succeeding, sadly enough. Very few prochoicers question the motives of people who do prenatal testing and then counsel the parents. Which they should do, vociferously.