Notes

“Will Babies with Down Syndrome Just Disappear?” by Albert Mohler

Excerpted from Albert Mohler, “Will Babies with Down Syndrome Just Disappear?”.

The development of prenatal diagnostic technologies presents a constellation of moral issues — with the diagnosis of Down syndrome front and center. Over the past several years, a marked decrease in the number of babies born with Down syndrome has been both observed and widely reported. This decrease can be traced directly to the decision to abort after prenatal diagnosis.

The new research is based on work by Dr. Brian Skotko, a clinical genetics fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston. Skotko, who has a sister with Down syndrome, asks this haunting question: “As new tests become available, will babies with Down syndrome slowly disappear?”

The reason for the decrease in the number of babies born with Down syndrome comes into clearer focus when The Washington Post cites Skotko’s research indicating that 92 percent of women who learn they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome choose to abort the pregnancy. That is more than nine out of ten.

In his 2005 article, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Skotko explained that prenatal testing for Down syndrome presents expectant parents with a simple choice — continue the pregnancy or abort. He continued:

Knowing this, health care providers have historically operated under the assumption that if a woman consents to prenatal screening or diagnosing, she must believe that having a child with DS would be an undesired outcome and wish to terminate her pregnancy if such a diagnosis were made prenatally.

Expectant parents should read that sentence over and over again, and so should those who counsel them.

[My brother has Down syndrome and is such a loving and lovable guy. He makes friends easily, prays and sings his heart out to Jesus, and family and friends are grateful for his impact on our lives. Are you considering the value of the life of a person with Down syndrome? My brother is more worthy of life than me. Decline the prenatal screening — it can give false positives, anyway — and avoid the social pressure to abort. —C.M.H.]