From last Friday’s San Jose Mercury News article, “Simply, early blood test offers insights into fetal health” by Lisa Krieger:
Raising the prospect of a world without birth defects, a Stanford-created blood test that can detect Down syndrome and two other major genetic defects very early in a woman’s pregnancy will be available next week.
The simple blood test spares women the risk and heartache of later and more invasive tests like amniocentesis.
But it has startling social implications – heralding a not-distant future when many fetal traits, from deadly disease to hair color, are known promptly after conception when abortion is safer and simpler.
The $1,200 test, which analyzes fetal DNA in a mother who is 10 weeks pregnant, is being offered to doctors March 1 by Verinata Health, a biotechnology company in Redwood City, Calif. It licensed a technique designed by Stanford biophysicist Stephen Quake.
“It’s a game changer,” said Stanford University law professor Hank Greely, who studies the legal and ethical implications of emerging technologies. The controversy over abortion “is about to be hit by a tsunami of new science.”
Actually, no, that isn’t true. There is nothing new here at all with regards to the controversy over abortion.
Science is not an enemy of unborn children with disabilities. Lots of mothers and fathers, upon learning their unborn child will have a genetic abnormality, continue to regard that child as a real human being and let the pregnancy continue to birth. They have exactly the same information as people who choose to abort a child with a similar diagnosis.
The problem is in people and a culture that decides which human beings have value and which do not. American culture has drawn the line at disability. In other cultures, the line is drawn at gender. Science didn’t draw that line.
So, March 1 brings a new, earlier opportunity for people to know something about their unborn children.
Let us pray that thousands of mothers and fathers choose to make it an opportunity to trust God above all things, including when the news breaks their hearts and enters them into this world of disability.