Should we be screening for Down Syndrome pregnancies?
Sun, 12 Jun 2011 8:00p.m.
Faced with a positive test in pregnancy for Down Syndrome, what would you do?
Last year, New Zealand introduced a new blood test as part of an improved screening programme for Down Syndrome.
However, a group of parents provocatively calls it eugenics; the practice of selective breeding of the human race - because worldwide data shows the better the testing programme, the more Down Syndrome pregnancies are terminated.
60 Minutes reporter Paula Penfold meets those who live with Down Syndrome to see what kind of lives they do lead, and asks the question at the heart of the issue: should they, or shouldn't they have been born?
Watch the video.
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3/09/2012 3:03:58 p.m.
Why are we arguing whether better testing would increase the rate of Down's Syndrome fetus' to be aborted, when it is currently perfectly legal to abort a healthy fetus for no other reason than it is 'unwanted'. Should that not be an even bigger issue?
22/06/2011 7:16:34 p.m.
Already, in New Zealand, we have legislation which permits termination in the case of a serious threat to the child's health. Down's Syndrome is a genetic condition, but NOT a threat to the childs health. To use the diagnosis of Down's syndrome as a justification for termination is illegal in terms of current New Zealand law. Seen any gynaecologists prosecuted for it lately?
The New Zealand law also, by limiting the reasons for a termination, implicitly recognises a right to life of the fetus. If a fetus with Down's Syndrome is able to be terminated, but a fetue deemed "normal" is not, this represents an abrogation of the legislation outlawing discrimination on the basis of disability.
The legislation in New Zealand is OK, what is not is the dismal record of Government in implementing the laws it passes.
21/06/2011 3:35:46 p.m.
Elaine Renall wrote:
We have a 38 year old down syndrome boy and he is the joy of our life , he has 3 brothers and a sister nieces nephews who love him to bits He is the most kind loving son any one could ask for.Pleased I did not have to decide to terminate as I would not have.If you have not meet a D/S person you are missing out on a lot of joy.
16/06/2011 4:16:36 p.m.
I have really found the anti-abortionist drivel on this issue totally offensive, as I am both pro-choice and cousin to a (sadly deceased) person with an intellectual disability. It's all very well trotting out cute children who live with Downs Syndrome, but let's face facts. Parenting is a tremendous responsibility as it is. Parenting a person with an intellectual disability is a life-long responsibility. And one of the things that scares many elderly parents of adults with Downs Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities is what will happen to their precious loved one after they pass away.Therefore, making that decision should involve deliberation, choice and careful consideration of the future. If there is a decline in the number of people with Downs Syndrome, I would argue that it is because of destructive New Right social and economic policies that have penalised bringing people with intellectual disabilities into the world. Can you blame women and their partners if they don't choose to do so?It is sad. I wish we lived in a society that didn't threaten people with intellectual disabilities in later life, but we don't.
16/06/2011 10:41:47 a.m.
@Anon you are a moron. I completely agree with Katie who drew parallels between your beliefs and the Nazis. You do realize that nearly all Down syndrome people are infertile and it is not inheritable and thus has nothing to do with evolution. Second of all do you really think that gene evolution has anything to do with the human race surviving? If you put a 14 year old in the wild right now it wouldn't last. We survive because of our cultural evolution (our memes not our genes), this is one where we care for all individuals not just the strong ones. I really hope that Anon's beliefs are that of a minority. I do think it should be the mothers choice, however, I'd hope that most mothers would choose to let any beautiful person with a chance of happiness live.
14/06/2011 10:07:22 p.m.
Nathan Moore wrote:
This screening procedure, is simply another method to attaining the perfect child. Free of deformities, gender selection etc.
The next step would be the 'quick and easy' abortion. Leaving the mother with scarred with mental health issues for the rest of her life.
can this be moral?
14/06/2011 9:18:37 p.m.
well if we are going to be supporting the use of eugenics, perhaps we should also be screening for any child who might have ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, lower than average iqs, cleft palate or any type of physical problem? obviously the only thing worth any value is perfection and therefore why bother with any other children? because we are all just so perfect and have the right to decide whether babies with ds get to live or not.
14/06/2011 2:01:16 p.m.
ihad a daughter born with D/S and the hardest day we ever had was the day we lost her at aged 15, my whole life ripped apart . our family and that of the extended family loved and accepted our daughter. My life was full and rich with 2 beautiful daughters.
14/06/2011 1:08:36 a.m.
Marta Cullen wrote:
Lest we forget, visit the site of Regent University - go to the presentation called "useless eaters."
Then as now, it seems, economics is driving decisions on who shall live and who not.
Pre-natal testing does not do a whole lot for supporting life of people with Down Syndrome, or any other disability/special need for that matter.
13/06/2011 9:00:03 p.m.
In reply to Anon on your opinion that evolution is stopped when we as humans care for the less intelligent and less strong. In saying that you are also saying that what Nazi Germany did, in getting rid of the less able (down syndrome, blind, deaf, mentally retarded, elderly etc) and all those that didn't agree with their evolutionary forward thinking, was good and that we should never have stopped them. Even taking over other countries, or the whole world, was good because it was them that were worthy of life, and all the resources the world has to offer, because they would be the most intelligent and strong (they wouldn't be passing on unfavorable traits nor be burdened financial by the less able) and would be helping evolution along the best!
I completely disagree with your cruel, inhumane thinking. And another thing, evolution is fiction.
One of our sons has Downs and that has not decreased the value of my life, nor that of my other children. He will enrich their life in making them better humans.
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