Recently the country of Iceland touted it had nearly eradicated Down syndrome from its population. The reason for this, however, isn’t because of some revolutionary type of treatment. Instead it’s because almost every baby in the womb diagnosed with Down syndrome gets aborted. Other countries like Australia and Denmark aren’t that far behind.
In the United States, 67 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Throughout the world, the statistic is between 90 and 92 percent. No matter what the numbers, many people believe it’s wrong to abort a baby just because they might be born with a defect of some kind, like Down syndrome. Thankfully, there are some pro-life politicians who agree that it is wrong to do so, and because of it, three states have now banned abortions on babies with Down syndrome.
Three days before Christmas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the Down syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (Senate Bill 164). This piece of legislation will help to protect unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome from being aborted. North Dakota and Indiana are the other two states with similar laws.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life says, “Now that the Down syndrome Non-Discrimination Act is law, unborn babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are given a shot at life. Ohio is and will continue to be a state that sees the lives of people with Down syndrome as lives worth living, thanks to this legislation.”
Many pro-abortion opponents, including Jaime Miracle, deputy director of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) Pro-Choice Ohio, says that the government shouldn’t get involved in women’s reproductive rights, especially when a woman is deciding whether or not to abort her baby. “It’s not our place to judge a woman and her decision on whether or not to continue a pregnancy for whatever reason it is,” he says.
Rep. Sarah LaTourette, a pro-life Republican disagrees. LaTourrette, who sponsored the House version of the bill says, “I continue to say that this bill is about so much more than abortion,” she continued. “I truly believe that it’s about discriminating against some of our most vulnerable, discriminating against an unborn child simply because they might have a Down syndrome diagnosis. That’s something that I find absolutely unacceptable.”
While prenatal testing can be a good thing and can help a mother know how best to prepare for a child with special needs, the prenatal test can be a death sentence for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Because older women have a slightly increased risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, it used to be recommended that only women 35 years and older have the prenatal testing done.
However, in recent years, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that every woman, regardless of age, get their baby tested for the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome. And if that test comes back positive, it’s completely normal for the woman’s doctor to pressure them into terminating the pregnancy.
Many doctors put such a negative spin on a diagnosis of Down syndrome that a mother ends up feeling she would be doing the best thing possible for her baby by terminating the pregnancy. One particular survey done at Boston Children’s Hospital showed that several women reported their doctor gave them “incomplete, inaccurate, or offensive” information when their child was diagnosed with Down syndrome during prenatal testing. They also said they were not connected to any resources that would have helped them better understand their child’s condition.
This was the case for Kelly Kuhns, an Ohio resident whose son has Down syndrome. She said that when her son was diagnosed with the condition, doctors suggested she abort the baby. Kuhns said that even though the diagnosis troubled her, she immediately refused to terminate the pregnancy.
“They tell you of these horrific things that can happen, the different anomalies, cardiac issues. So you plan for the worst, and I really feel like you’re given a death sentence,” she says.
Besides doctors pushing for abortion and putting a negative spin on the condition, there is also another factor. There are times that the prenatal testing is not accurate and the baby is misdiagnosed. The results of tests like chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS), are between 98 and 99 percent accurate. While that is a high accuracy rate, it is not 100 percent, which means it’s not absolutely guaranteed the baby will have Down syndrome.
This is all the more reason that every state should follow the lead of North Dakota, Indiana, and Ohio and put similar abortion bans in place.
~ Christian Patriot Daily