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    Default ext size Heres a recent Danish headline: Plans to make Denmark a Down syndrome-free

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    MARGARET SOMERVILLE
    Deselecting our children
    MARGARET SOMERVILLE
    From Monday's Globe and Mail
    Published Monday, Aug. 22, 2011 2:00AM EDT
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    Heres a recent Danish headline: Plans to make Denmark a Down syndrome-free perfect society. The Danes want to promote aborting fetuses with Down syndrome, so their society will be free of such people around 2030. One bioethicist describes it as a fantastic achievement.

    MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY
    Rate of aborted female fetuses increases in India
    Behind Harpers reluctance to revisit abortion issue
    At least the Danes are raising this issue. In North America, its estimated that more than 90 per cent of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted.

    The ethics issues that prenatal screening raises will only increase as the range of tests expands, theyre safer for the woman, cheaper, easier to use and presented as routine medical precautions. But not all tests have medical goals. The latest identification of a babys gender at seven weeks of pregnancy raises fears of sex selection, which has resulted in millions of missing girls in India and China. These deselection decisions affect society itself. Many young men, for instance, cant find a wife.

    The British riots provide insight regarding actions by individuals that cumulatively threaten society: Unlawful assembly and rioting are such crimes. The same can be true of individuals choosing their children. So what limits should we place on their doing so in the interests of society?

    Widespread, publicly endorsed and paid for prenatal screening to eliminate people with Down syndrome implicates values of respect for both individual human life and human life in general, and respect for disabled people. Collectively, these decisions implement negative eugenics regarding disabled people. Its a search and destroy mission to wipe them out.

    What kind of society might result from endorsing a belief that a society without disabled people is perfect? The use of science in the search for human perfection has been at the root of some of the greatest atrocities.

    Offering routine prenatal screening sends a message that a woman is conditionally pregnant, until shes told theres nothing wrong with the baby the fetus is certified as normal or, even, is the right sex. This contravenes the value that parental love is unconditional we love our children just because theyre our children.

    A societal-level message is: We dont want you in our society unless you measure up to a certain standard. Youre only a potential member, until youve passed the admission test well pay for with our tax dollars.

    And what about the everyday ethics of screening? Many physicians are not competent to obtain informed consent to all prenatal tests and carry out follow-up genetic counselling. Physicians also tend to be very pessimistic in predicting the impact, for instance, of Down syndrome on the child, and usually see no possible benefits from having such a child.

    People who could inform them otherwise are often silenced. Audrey Cole, the mother of a 47-year-old man with Down syndrome, writes: Our voice will, inevitably, be dismissed as the whinings of a special interest group. I have never been able to understand why my feelings as a parent of a wonderful, caring, gentle man can be so easily dismissed as special interest. I am frightened of the times that seem to be coming.

    And how will women who refuse screening be regarded? Will families who choose not to abort when abnormalities are discovered be seen as socially irresponsible?

    In deciding about the ethics of prenatal screening, we should recall that, for all of us, the well are only the undiagnosed sick.

    Margaret Somerville is the founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University.

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    ... I'm not sure how I feel about this one.

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    I am on the fence about this.

    people with "disabilities" can be a huge drain on professional and financial resources, not just on the health care system, but on families and communities as well. On the other hand, life is precious, no matter what, or that is what modern society wants us to think.

    Thinking back in history, in some cultures, if a newborn was found to be disabled or disfigured, they were killed. It has only been in recent history where this did not happen, even in north america.

    Western society and science are all about prolonging life and doing everything possible no matter what to achieve that goal, when for millenia, it was survival of the fittest. It is because of this that I see the world's gene pool becoming diluted and these "defects" becoming more common and prevalent.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not one for having state sponsored genetic screening and such, however, having said that, I also like the idea of creating a stronger gene pool, and being able to direct resources elsewhere.

    I can say this though. When my ex was pregnant with our daughter, my biggest worry was for down syndrome or something of the like, and when we were told she was 100% healthy in our ultrasound that screened for this, I can't tell you the sigh of relief I let out. I for one don't think I would have the patience or the will power to raise a child like that.

    overall, I am on the fence about it, and it does raise a very big ethical debate on the issue.
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    So, abortion of regular fetus' is ok, but if they have a disability, it's a crime?

    L0L.

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    Reminds me of the movie Gattaca

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    Creating a master race eh? Selective breeding? I think I've heard this story before from some crazy bastard with funny looking moustache.
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    I think it's a slippery slope. Where does it end? Start aborting because your fetus is 'homosexual'?
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    Originally posted by zipdoa
    I think it's a slippery slope. Where does it end?
    That's the only reason I'm against it. I'd 100% agree that aborting unborn with severe defects isn't a horrible idea, but it wouldn't stop with down syndrome and would end up, just as mentioned, with a Gattaca scenario.

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    This isn't new news unfortunately. Here in Calgary and all over Canada they HEAVILY promote aborting fetus' with DS. Especially if you're through one of the assisted reproduction programs.

    If they're looking for a DS free society they're going to need to get a LOT better at screening and testing for it (and even terminating when there's multiples involved etc.) before trying to sway parents one way or the other.

    Both of my babies screened positive for DS, my son is perfectly healthy and the next one we'll find out in a few weeks, but I won't be surprised at all if he's perfectly healthy as well.
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    My girlfriend is an O.T. and deals a lot with children with autism, downs syndrome, etc. I guess a lot of them are very sweet and tend to be happy if the family accepts it and works with it, instead of seeing it as a problem. Some are reportedly aware of almost nothing.

    I don't know if these conditions are hereditary - there are stats pointing to women 35 or older having an exponentially higher chance of having a child (it increases every year but at 35 it might jump like crazy). Women in the developed world tend to have children much later in life. If the conditions are also hereditary then there are probably at leats 2 factors contributing to higher rates of Downs and such. Maybe chemicals in the environment as well? Increased rates may very well be a product of our overall lifestyle.

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    Interesting.

    As long as MY option to have my woman abort is stable, I could care less.

    Although this isn't the first time something like this has happened.

    Greeks did that shit 3000 years ago. Along with a lot of others.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Originally posted by Darkane

    As long as MY option to have my woman abort is stable, I could care less.
    Shouldn't it be her option?

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    ^You... clearly have much to learn.

    j/k hahaha

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    Originally posted by Tik-Tok


    Shouldn't it be her option?
    No.. I'd hope before a long serious relationship enables offspring that you would BOTH be on the same page?

    Lol we see this shit way to much.

    What do you mean you're anti-abortion?!


    Hahah. Christ
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Originally posted by abyss
    Both of my babies screened positive for DS, my son is perfectly healthy and the next one we'll find out in a few weeks, but I won't be surprised at all if he's perfectly healthy as well.
    WTF.. So does that mean the screening process is a total failure? Would totally make all the parents who aborted a DS fetus question their original decision.
    You have a couple of photos that are great... you must be very good at photoshop!

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    Originally posted by clem24


    WTF.. So does that mean the screening process is a total failure? Would totally make all the parents who aborted a DS fetus question their original decision.
    If you ask me and many others, yes, the screening process is a total failure and there are MANY more false positives than children who actually have a trisomy condition.

    However, I suppose my post might be easy to misunderstand. The screen is just your initial risk based on age, blood tests and fetal nuchal fold measurement, if you screen positive you're offered more aggressive genetic testing like CVS or Amniocentesis. Unfortunately both of those can also be false positives in the case of vanishing twin syndrome etc. And there is a risk of losing the pregnancy with both of those procedures so many women (like myself) opt out of the further testing.
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    Originally posted by zipdoa
    I think it's a slippery slope. Where does it end?

    John Spartan: Look, Huxley, why don't we just do it the old-fashioned way?
    Lenina Huxley: [stands up, shocked] Eeewww, disgusting! You mean... *fluid transfer*?

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