Prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome has been shown to lead to abortion in 84 to 91% of cases in recent U.S. studies. An estimated 70% of U.S. women choose to have prenatal screening tests.
Health care providers tend to assume that if a woman consents to prenatal screening, she is open to the option of abortion. And so it is often encouraged that she choose to avoid this “burden.”
But a Harvard study of those who chose to continue their pregnancy (mostly on the basis of conscience and religion, but also on the basis of information about Down syndrome from printed materials or from a parent of a child with Down syndrome) indicated that “most of these mothers felt that their doctors did not explain DS adequately or in a balanced fashion.”
These mothers “suggested that doctors and genetic counselors should convey consistent, accurate, and sensitive messages about life with a child with DS, and that doctors, nurses, and hospitals should provide contacts with local DS support organizations.”
But the trouble is, the March of Dimes, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the National Down Syndrome Congress all take a neutral stance on abortion. This neutral stance, in effect, implies that the abortion of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome is in the best interests of society, that it is justifiable.
Would it not be better if these organizations stand in defense of the inherent value to society of persons with Down syndrome?
(from “Down Syndrome And Abortion,” by Susan W. Enouen, P.E. in Life Issues Connector, January 2007)
As St. Paul writes, “On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable.” (1 Corinthians 12:21) This verse is often quoted on this site, for it is a truth that must be upheld, in the Church, and by extension, in all of our life.