The obsession of detecting Down's Syndrome in babies at the earliest possible stage is continuing with the news that a more accurate test has been developed.
Professor Nicolaides, who is leading the research, said "the test is nearly diagnostic. It tells you almost certainly your baby has Down's or almost certainly it does not."
He then states, "from a woman's perspective, that is a much more clear message about what to do next."
This last statement is rather worrying as it refers to the result of the test bringing with it a message. What can he mean by this? Well, firstly, there can only be two possible results of a Down's test; either the baby has Down's or it doesn't. Secondly, in most modern societies there are two options for women when pregnant; you either have the baby or abort it. Given that there are only two options, is the Professor suggesting that, dependent on the outcome of the test, the mother will then be better informed as to whether or not to deliver or abort the child?
This kind of research is a concern as it is suggestive that there is a difference between babies with Down's and those without. It is divisive and extremely unhelpful to mothers who, with the rhetoric of modern society, may feel increasingly pressured to abort a child diagnosed with Down's.
Children with Down's are no different to anyone else other than in the specific qualities given to them by God and those formed during their lifetime. While I may not be particularly good at swimming, a good friend of mine is excellent at it. And so is the difference between a person with Down's and one without.
While medical research in furtherance of life is to be respected and encouraged (provided it remains within the bounds of Church teaching) there can be no place for research which is of a mind to better inform a woman as to whether or not to willingly end the life of her child.
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