Saturday, June 21, 2008

More genocidal scientists

New Testing of Fetuses for Down's Could Pose Ethical Dilemmas

A test that can detect Down’s syndrome from the blood of pregnant women, which would be the first reliable noninvasive prenatal test for the chromosomal disorder, has raised the prospect of routine screening for the condition for every expectant mother who wants it.

The experimental procedure, developed in Hong Kong, has been shown to diagnose 90 percent of Down’s syndrome cases in a small trial, while also correctly identifying 97 percent of fetuses that do not have the condition.

If its accuracy can be improved and it is validated in larger patient trials, which scientists believe should take three to five years, it would transform prenatal testing for Down’s.

This is what we've come to, where we're so bigoted as a society that scientists have no qualms about delveoping tests designed purely to try to exterminate people based on their genome.

This is genocide in its purest form -- working to kill off everbody whose freaking GENES you don't approve of!

It's ironic that people with Down syndrome tend to be very loving, accepting, and affectionate, yet they somehow attract such animosity.

Intolerance, bigotry, and hatred are okay, it seems, as long as they're being used to promote abortion or attack children whose only crime is being different.

Love doesn't count chromosomes.

  • National Down Syndrome Congress
  • Down Syndrome Education International
  • Band of Angels
  • Downi Creations

    trailer park said...

    Down syndrome patients are not a national, ethnic, religious or racial group, so I don't know what definition of "genocide" you're using. Down syndrome is not even an inherited trait; it is a chromosomal abnormality, so it can NEVER be eliminated from humanity. We will ALWAYS have Down syndrome babies. There's nothing genocidal about new technology to detect it prenatally. No one is forced to have an abortion or even test for Down syndrome if they don't want to.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    My friend's sister had to travel two hours each way to get an obstetrician who would provide care when she refused aminio. There are plenty of eugenecists out there eager to put as much pressure as possible on women to have the tests and kill any babies identified as -- in the tester's eyes -- "defective".

    And what can be more GENOcide than killing off people based on their GENES?

    The whole idea of "screening" for DS is bigoted, intolerant, and based on ignorance and hatred of people who are different. Imagine the outcry if the screening were for a "gay gene" and you'll see it. But becaues so many people consider kids with DS to be "defective" rather than just different, they're oblivious of their own horrid bigotry.

    Why should being different carry a death sentence? How is that reflective of even rudimentary human decency?

    trailer park said...

    Maybe your sister's friend should move to a city. I didn't have an amnio and my OB was fine with it.

    Perhaps you should look up the definition of "genocide." It's generally defined as the purposeful extermination of a national, ethnic, cultural, religious or racial group. Diagnosing a disease is not genocide.

    There's nothing bigoted about screening for Down syndrome. Down syndrome is an illness, and diagnosing illnesses is what doctors do. Down syndrome babies typically suffer from health problems and mental retardation. Even if someone doesn't want to have an abortion, Down syndrome screening provides valuable information, so specialists can be on hand for the birth to ensure the baby has the best chance.

    If a woman decides to take that information and have an abortion instead, that is her own personal choice for her own personal situation, not a systematic attempt to rid the world of all people with Down syndrome.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    People with Down syndrome are NOT a disease, and do not need to be irradicated.

    trailer park said...

    Down syndrome IS a disease. And no one is trying to eradicate it.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Nobody's trying to eradicate it? You think it's just by pure chance that 90% of kid diagnosed with DS in-utero get snuffed?

    And it's NOT a disease. It's a duplication of genetic material that leads the person with it to have a set of particular recognizable traits -- traits that society deems to be undesirable because of bigotry against people who are different. You can't "cure" or "treat" DS; it's an integral part of who that person is.

    Again, people with DS are not some blight that we need to identify and eliminate. They're our fellow human beings and they are just as worthy of life as anybody else, regardless of what bigots think to the contrary.

    trailer park said...

    Nobody's trying to eradicate it? You think it's just by pure chance...

    Obviously there's a huge gray area between "eradication" and "pure chance." Screening allows more women to learn about fetal abnormalities earlier, and individual freedom takes care of the rest. There is no plot to eradicate people with Down syndrome. If we improve outreach and support for pregnant women diagnosed with fetal abnormalities, I bet we could reduce that 90% figure considerably.

    It's a duplication of genetic material that leads the person with it to have a set of particular recognizable traits

    Down syndrome is far from a harmless collection of "traits." It is a disorder that can cause serious health problems (like heart defects), and doctors are absolutely right to screen for it. The sooner a woman learns about her special needs pregnancy, the more time she has to prepare for it.

    Again, people with DS are not some blight that we need to identify and eliminate.

    You keep repeating this, but nobody said they were. Who are you trying to convince? Yourself?

    Nobody is trying to eliminate people with Down syndrome. Anyone who wants to have a baby with Down syndrome is perfectly free to do so.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    How oblivous can you be? The very fact that it is considered a reason for abortion is PROOF that there are people wanting to eliminate people with DS. The Brownback/Kennedy Bill was drafted as a response to research that found medical professionals pressuring families to abort after a DS diagnosis.

    See Aborting the Disabled.

    Pressure to Abort Intense for Expectant Moms Carrying Down Syndrome Babies

    trailer park said...

    The very fact that it is considered a reason for abortion is PROOF that there are people wanting to eliminate people with DS.

    Abortion is legal for ANY reason. This proves nothing of the sort.

    The study you linked to also falls short of proving your claim. Doctors tend to give negative information in many cases, because that is what they know. They are in the business of identifying and treating illness. This is not proof that doctors intend to eliminate people with Down syndrome.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Abortion is Primary Direction for Obstetricians After Down's Diagnosis Study Finds

    Mothers: Doctors Too Negative When Diagnosing Down Syndrome

    Dr. Snuff, I Presume?: Jocelyn Elders, just prior to being named Bill Clinton's surgeon general, famously proclaimed that abortion "has had an important and positive public-health effect" because it reduced "the number of children afflicted with severe defects." She pointed out that "the number of Down Syndrome infants in Washington state in 1976 was 64 percent lower than it would have been without legal abortion."

    Christina Dunigan said...


    Abortion call decried: Last week Professor Albert Harris' class notes read: "In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers 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."

    trailer park said...

    Um, you've already shown me one story about that study. Like I said, it does not prove your claim.

    Look, I can post links, too:

    "It’s not just a question of whether to continue the pregnancy. Prenatal diagnosis also is important for those who wouldn’t consider abortion, because babies with Down syndrome can need specialized care at delivery that affects hospital selection, he added."

    Why would you want to stop doctors from providing Down syndrome babies with the specialized care they need right from birth?

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Confronting the Distortions:

    "There is an implicit message within the goals of prenatal testing that society believes that raising a child with disability, is such a grave burden that it is both morally correct and medically appropriate to take expensive measures to ensure that such children are not born. (Murray 1996:132). ....

    Early testing is sought to avoid the difficulties of late terminations. However, earlier testing and multiple, periodic forms of testing also emphasize the importance of detecting all affected pregnancies and further entrench a consensus that the rational response to a positive prenatal diagnosis is termination. ....

    One mother in my study had revealing discussions with a geneticist shortly after her son's birth:

    "One thing the genetic counsellor said was, you know, when you have a child with Down syndrome you do need to consider the impact socially that the child has on society, that they will never be a wage earner and that they draw from society and I thought, I remember thinking at the time that's one very odd sort of statement!" ....

    It is the common wisdom of parents of children with Down syndrome that the first days are the hardest and the time when it is most difficult to think calmly and realistically. Some doctors push women to make decisions quickly while still reeling from the diagnosis. Julie was strongly encouraged to terminate her pregnancy the same afternoon she received the diagnosis.

    "They were ready to take us up there straight away and do it. There was no, oh here's the number for the Down syndrome association or anything, give them a call...there was no, no information. They were just thinking, Down syndrome - get rid of it."

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Aborting kids with DS presented as a positive public health goal:

    Non-invasive Early Pregnancy Screening: Can Reduce Down Syndrome Births?

    In Denmark, non-invasive screening of pregnant women (early in the pregnancy, 11 to 14 weeks of gestation) with ultrasound combined with maternal blood analysis, has reduced the number of children born with Down syndrome by 50%.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Reducing Birth Defects in Populations -- Birth defects occur in population in 3-5% of births. All those birth defects due to chromosomal errors, hundreds of those due to single genes and many of those due to unknown or multifactoral cause can be detected prenatally. However, it is not feasible to test all pregnancies for all of these causes, and it cannot be predicted which pregnant women are more likely to be carrying a fetus with a birth defect except in a few instances, namely: -Down syndrome, -neural tube defect, -a previous history in the family of a particular defect and - a history in sub-population of a high birth incidence of a particular gene-caused defect. Carefully developed programs focused on these four situations may bring benefits to a population, because it allows families to avoid the suffering involved in having a severely handicapped child.

    That doesn't sound like the authors intend to ease the transitions for parents facing the birth of a handicapped child, does it?

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Figures on screening for Down's syndrome are inaccurate

    Thirdly, contrary to Steer's statement, we know that screening has had a considerable effect on reducing the birth prevalence of Down's syndrome. In the absence of screening and at a time of increasing maternal age, the birth prevalence of Down's syndrome would have increased from 1.41/1000 in 1989 to 1.47/1000 in 1993,3 assuming a natural fetal loss rate of 27% among the women who had terminations. In fact it has decreased from 1.11/1000 in 1989 to 0.92/1000 in 1993. This is equivalent to an increase in the percentage of affected births avoided through screening from about 21% to 37%.

    Clearly this author views the reduction of births of kids with DS -- via identifying and aborting them -- to be a public health benefit to be pursued.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Here is another abstract in which the authors clearly view the purpose of prenatal screening to be aborting, thus preventing the births of, kids with DS.

    Purpose: to help reduce the incidence of Down syndrome

    Christina Dunigan said...

    trailerpark, if 90% of babies identified with DS are aborted, then clearly THE INTENTION OF THE PRENATAL TESTING ISN"T TO PREPARE FOR BIRTH. It's to spot them and eliminate them. 90% of them. To decimate is to kill only 10%. Kids with DS would be better off if they were merely being decimated.

    trailer park said...

    I'm still not seeing the proof that there is some conspiracy to eliminate people with Down syndrome. Do you have any?

    Certainly, there are plenty of people who are uneducated about Down syndrome. And certainly, there are many people who wouldn't want to have a physically disabled and mentally retarded child themselves.

    But where is your proof that anyone wants to "kill off" all people with Down syndrome? (Which would be impossible to do, by the way.)

    trailer park said...

    if 90% of babies identified with DS are aborted, then clearly THE INTENTION OF THE PRENATAL TESTING ISN"T TO PREPARE FOR BIRTH.

    Wrong. The intent of screening is to give women and doctors information about the fetus, so they can make the best decision for themselves. Prenatal testing is valuable both for women who would abort and women who would never abort.

    Anonymous said...

    trailer park is my idol. You are so smart.