Babies could be tested for 3,500 genetic faults Scientists could soon be able to routinely screen unborn babies for thousands of genetic conditions, raising concerns the breakthrough could lead to more abortions.
A team has been able to predict the whole genetic code of a foetus by taking a blood sample from a woman who was 18 weeks pregnant, and a swab of saliva from the father.
They believe that, in time, the test will become widely available, enabling doctors to screen unborn babies for some 3,500 genetic disorders.
At the moment the only genetic disorder routinely tested for on the NHS is Down’s syndrome.
This is a large-scale genetic defect caused by having an extra copy of a bundle of DNA, called a chromosome.
Other such faults are sometimes tested for, but usually only when there is a risk of inheriting them from a parent
By contrast, the scientists say their new test would identify far more conditions, caused by genetic errors.
However, they warned it raised “many ethical questions” because the results could be used as a basis for abortion.
These concerns were last night amplified by pro-life campaigners, who said widespread use of such a test would “inevitably lead to more abortions”.
Well, duh! That's kind of the point -- to prevent unnecessary suffering by aborting a fetus before it can feel pain or have sentience. If a baby is going to suffer and die, how is it ethical to force it to be born?
I deleted most of my reply, and decided just to post just this much, because curiously this anti-abortion nutter never seems to post anything about taking care of living people:
Let's see some posts about orphan drugs, adoption agencies that specialize in disabled children & crack babies, charity hospitals, and programs that help families with non-medical expenses of caring for disabled children, and programs to help the older children of families with disabled children who have been basically abandonned by their parents' attention to a severely ill baby
Waiting... So far there's been no spate of posts on these topics. Apparently the anti-abortion network that sends links around to scare the Christian saps who are "pro-life" for fetuses doesn't send around links that deal with quality of life for the living. One of the other responders to this post has a child with Down Syndrome. She wrote:
We have a daughter born with Down Syndrome. Now read this part very very carefully.......I WOULD NOT CHANGE AN SINGLE SOLITARY THING...
Oh boo hoo. How is Down Syndrome comparable to the other diseases a family would want to know about? So I replied:
Nobody would force you to change a thing. But, you would force a family that had lost 4 children to Tay-Sachs disease to lose more children to it rather than aborting a child that's doomed to die. How ethical is that? Seems rather Fascist actually, since it doesn't leave the decision to the individual & family
I wonder what kind of Reality Show it would be if the Duggars had that gene. Wouldn't that be a hoot? Instead of Stepford children traveling the world we'd have a funeral a year and instead of nail-biting ultrasounds we'd have parents getting the bad news that their latest cooing baby is doomed to die. Now that would be some good TV!
At the end of the article they mention schizophrenia & autism as being de novo DNA boo-boos, but they are also genetic disorders. I've been reading up on schizophrenia & DNA lately (this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Origins-Schizophrenia-Alan-Brown/dp/0231151241). The promise of whoever is touting this test is highly overblown. It's as if they tried to whip up panic in the anti-abortion camp. "In the [near?] future we'll be able to tell ifyour baby has the wrong color eyes! Eugenics to the rescue!"
One of the posters at the original article claims that Stephen Hawking's accomplishments are proof that this test should never be done and abortions should never be done for any disorder. We atheists now should genuflect... [go ahead, I'll wait] ... and think about how all of his findings in science would never have happened if he'd never have been born.
*sniff* Pretend you don't know that every scientific discovery has had its genius and its also-rans who came to the same conclusions or virtually the same conclusions at about the same time because all of them read and studied the same things at the same time.... Just pretend... Now imagine that of all the 7 billion people on the planet, nobody, NOT ONE ... is a genius scientist.
Now, imagine a family finding out that their baby would have a dread disease that would strike when that baby is in his 30s.... and imagine the family having an abortion because of that.
Uh oh my brain just exploded. How many people who want children would really do that? Wouldn't most bet on science coming up with a cure or better treatment by the time the disease hits?
Now imagine a family that finds out their fetus won't survive to tern and their choice is between having an easy abortion now or digging out the stillborn fetus some way later (because a normal labor would be impossible) and that family actually choosing to wait until the fetus dies on its own.
Well, I believe in choice so I think it would be okay to allow them to make the more painful choice especially because they can be such great martyrs. I bet it would be a real tear jerker to waddle up to the podium to tell people how their big belly is harboring a dying baby. Hallelujah. *sniff*
*sigh* Fascists. They only believe in choice when it's their choice.