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Abortions in Argentina Predicted to Increase With Down Syndrome Tests (3190)

An Argentinian pro-life group fears new procedure will lead to more abortions and fewer persons born with Down syndrome.

08/12/2013 Comment

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BUENOS AIRES —  A new test to detect Down syndrome in unborn children after nine weeks of pregnancy could lead to an increase in abortions in Argentina, warns the pro-life group ArgentinosAlerta.

While the test could help parents and doctors be better prepared to care for a newborn child with a genetic condition, the organization warned that prenatal genetic testing has “regressed” to the point that it is usually used not to help the baby, but to end his life.

The test requires a small blood sample from the mother in order to reveal the baby’s sex and the presence of any genetic disorders, including Down syndrome.

“Scientific studies show that, far from aiming to ‘protect the baby,’ prenatal tests are really aimed at detecting unwanted or undesirable human beings,” ArgentinosAlerta said. The group pointed to the British Medical Journal, which published a study showing that, in Great Britain, between 1989 and 2008, more than 90% of babies who were diagnosed with Down syndrome through prenatal testing were aborted.

A similar study in the European Journal of Human Genetics found that more than 90% of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted in France and Spain.

“This means we have a generation of doctors who, rather than seeking to cure or alleviate the patient, seek instead to destroy him before birth,” ArgentinosAlerta said.

Dr. Gador Joya, spokeswoman for the Spanish organization Right to Life, told Catholic News Agency on March 21 (World Down Syndrome Day) that Spain’s abortion policies have resulted in putting “persons with Down syndrome in danger of extinction, as well as those who have spina bifida or other handicaps.”

In an article for the Linacre Quarterly, the official journal of the Catholic Medical Association, Spanish gynecologist Esteban Rodriguez wrote that “thousands of lives around the world would be saved if there were not a rush to diagnose Down syndrome.”

Rodriguez suggested postponing a diagnosis until an unborn child had developed to the point where his life was “guaranteed by law.”

Filed under abortion, argentina, catholic faith, down syndrome, pope francis, right to life