Skip to comments.Wesley J. Smith: Mothers Refusing Prenatal Testing to Protect Babies with Down
Posted on 09/19/2010 9:54:59 AM PDT by wagglebee
It seems indisputable to me that the medical elites and many in bioethics wish to wipe people with Down syndrome off the face of the earth using the killing tool of eugenic abortionor if that doesnt work, infanticide or medical neglect. This has led to a counter movement to value our brothers and sisters with Down into the human community. For example, as I reported here, the late Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Sam Brownback passed a law through Congress, signed by President Bush, requiring that genetic counseling for mothers whose fetuses have tested positive for Down, dwarfism, and other genetic anomolies, not be directed to any particular outcome. The senators believed the law was necessary because studies showed that women were often pushed toward the abortion option.
Another method of push back is for women to refuse testing altogether. Their thinking is that they are going to love their baby come what maygee, unconditional love, what a concept!and they worry about being tested because of the pressure they will come under to abort.
One such mother has written a story in the NYT about her decision not to receive such testing, even though she already gave birth to one child with Down and the chances are greatly increased that she will do so again. From Why Prenatal Testing Harms as Much as it Helps, by Amy Julia Becker:
For this pregnancy, I have had two ultrasounds, and I have agreed to a fetal echocardiogram. But I declined the blood tests that screen for chromosomal abnormalities. I declined the amniocentesis. I didnt return my insurance companys calls when they wanted to assign a nurse to guide me through this pregnancy. Im not opposed to having information about our baby ahead of time. I want to know everything we could know in order to care for this child well. If there is a physical problem, if I need to deliver with specialists on hand, if our baby is at high risk of complications, I want to know about it, and the tests we have chosen should provide that information. And although I declined, Im not opposed to prenatal testing. There are benefits to knowledge. According to Dr. Brian Skotko of Harvard Medical School, studies have demonstrated the helpfulness of prenatal diagnosis. Women who know ahead of time that their babies have Down syndrome are able to celebrate their arrival into the world, and often these women feel better prepared for the challenges they might face as a parent.
Thats what happened with Sarah Palin. She says knowing ahead of time helped her prepare to welcome Trig with open arms (which, as I have written, is one reason why I think she generates so much hate from certain quarters). But pre natal testing, which could be so beneficial, clearly has a darker sidethe targeting of those deemed deficient:
On the other hand, the way these tests are administered, the way information is provided to women and the way our culture talks about and conceives of individuals with chromosomal abnormalities contribute to my concern that prenatal testing more often serves to devalue all human life and to offer parents and doctors an illusion of control. When a friend of mine, who has a daughter with Down syndrome, declined amniocentesis for her next pregnancy, her doctor shrugged and said, Well, if it happens again, dont blame me. Another friend, upon receiving the results of her amniocentesis, was asked, When would you like to schedule the procedure to terminate? Peter and I have participated in a program through the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in which medical students meet families with a child with a disability. These doctors in training have told me that before they met Penny, they thought Down syndrome was the worst possible thing that could happen to a child. A medical-school professor at the University of North Carolina offered validation to their report when he said to his class, In my opinion, the moral thing for older women to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome 21, and abort the fetus if it does.
That last bit reminded me of a speech I once gave at a medical school about the urgency of seeing all human beings as possessing equal moral worth in the medical system. Afterwards, a soon to be doctor said to me, I do genetic counseling. What should I do when a fetus has tested positive for Down? his implication being that there only is one right decision. I suggested that perhaps he should bring in families of people with Down to help explain to the woman or couple what life is really like for families with such children. He looked at me as if I were from Mars.
Even as maternal age increases, the incidence of children born with Down syndrome is decreasing. Studies show that 85 percent to 90 percent of women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. We declined prenatal testing not because we assume this baby in my womb has the typical 46 chromosomes. We declined prenatal testing because we would welcome another child with Down syndrome.
We hear so often, as in AIDS, about how prejudicial attitudes of medical professionals hurt patients. That problem is clearly true with regard to Down and other genetic conditions that can be diagnosed prenatally. Because women know that they would be expected to abort, they are instead of opting out of beneficial testing. Thats not their fault. Its that of the medical professionaland of a culture that too often rejects human exceptionalism. We all have a lot of work to do cleaning up our prejudicial act.
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Imho, the medical professional has an unacceptable number of members who do not value life.
That is hard for many to accept I know. We got an "up close & personal" confirmation of the truth of that assertion in the ER, when a snot nosed intern was trying to push a DNR for our elderly father (i/l)
I quote, "Well. He doesn't have much of a life."
Needless to say, he did not get his precious DNR. However, the head of that hospital did get a full report and a proper dressing down. I forget the detail of what we said to the youngster playing God, at the time.
But, how many families just go with "doctor knows best."?
I would guess many more than we might even imagine. How intimidating are hospitals and doctors, particularly in the ER?
Every mother knows in her heart that she is not guaranteed a “perfect specimen.” Believe me: We torture ourselves throughout our pregnancies, imagining every possible horrific outcome. Even without the “benefit” of these invasive and risky tests, we are prepared. A healthy baby is a relief, a gift, a blessing from God. Refusing tests is nothing new. My doctor insisted on testing for Downs 25 years ago, with my first baby. I refused - because the result would not cause me to make the so-called choice I obviously was being offered. I also refused because amnio could damage a healthy unborn BABY. The doctor warned of other looming tragedies. A cyst that would require surgery immeidately upon delivery - without anasthetic, because “babies don’t feel pain.” I refused that one, too. The alleged cyst was not life threatening. Of course, the cyst was a phantom - probably a speck on the sonogram screen. And oh, yes, the boy I was told to expect is named Erin Marie, and she is now a mother herself. She didn’t have amnio, either. My grandson is the picture of health.
Having spent a lot of time recently in hospitals and having procedures done, I have noticed more things that disturb me. For instance, I was given a med before a recent minor surgical procedure that I was told would *relax* me before I was given anesthesia. Later, when I realized I didn’t even recall going into the OR I looked the drug up, and discovered that what it did was give me amnesia! So, I was awake but was unable to process memories for that time period. How is this beneficial to ME? I can see how it’s beneficial to the medical profession, but not the patient. I will certainly ask not to be given that drug again (and feel that I was not given it with informed consent at the time). You really need to have someone you trust advocating for you at all times now days because I don’t think you can always trust your doctors and others.
Good for these mothers!!! And may God bless them.
My wife was 40 when our last child was born, and the doctor wanted to perfor amniocentesis. We declined because there is a slight risk to the fetus involved, and we were going to welcome it whatever the resutls.
But why the pressure to terminate a less than perfect child? only a belief that Satan actually exists explains it satisfactorily to me.
“Testing” is FAR from accurate!
I worked with a couple who’s baby tested positive for Downs Syndrome.
The Father wanted to abort, the Mother refused.
The Baby was PERFECT!
Imagine what must go through that Father’s mind, every time he sees that beautiful young lady. (She’s an adult now)
Imagine the strain on that marriage.....!
That's called referring the case to a specialist.
I turned down the AFP test for my pregnancies and told them that there was no point because abortion wasn’t an option.
The nurse practioner who was evaluating me, looked me in the eye and said, “I wish more people felt that way”.
And that was the last I heard of it.
“The Father wanted to abort, the Mother refused.”
The “father” should be harassed and tormented every day of his worthless existence. If he wasn’t necessary as a breadwinner then he should have been executed.
It is amazing how many disgustingly evil monsters infect this world and how easily they can conceive an innocent beautiful little creature.
There is absolutely no justice in this world. Nothing is right.
Are you for real.Kill the Father.
I turned it down.Had her at 41 years of age.
When Mrs SV was pregnant with our youngest a few years ago the doctors asked if we wanted the testing done. We refused but they went ahead and did it anyway.
Some of these OBs are obsessed with playing God.
Well you treat it.Your posts are scary.Do you really want to kill people?
If somehow, the evil that is Obamacare survives, I wonder if it will become completely coercive, when confronted by “black market” medical care, that is actually in the interest of the patient and doctor.
That is, requiring people to go to the government doctor at intervals, and to get blood tests to make sure they aren’t getting any “underground” medications or medical care. With, of course, civil or criminal penalties for concealing medical conditions from government doctors, or rejecting their prescribed course of treatment, including abortion and euthanasia.
This could be followed by stripping non-government doctors of their medical licenses, requiring membership of all health care workers in the government union, and nationalizing all hospitals, clinics and medical offices.
No but there doesn’t seem to be any other choice. Hopefully it will never come to this.
When I was pregnant with our third child, the midwife said, “I have to offer you this test and tell you what it does.” I think she said it was the law that she had to offer it. But, after telling me about the test, she immediately began talking against it. I told her I wouldn’t have agreed to it, anyway, having read all about it myself.
Thank you for your response Soothesayer.
“The Tentative Pregnancy” by Barbara Katz Rothman is a very good book on this subject.
Did you just let it drop after they did that?
If we had been a little better informed beforehand, we would have refused even the AFP, since it's a screening test with notoriously ambiguous results (producing both falses positive and false negatives). Who needs a maximum dose of anxiety injected straight into the pregnant mother's mind and heart?
I have heard that going overseas to India, for example, is very cost effective for people who don’t have great medical insurance.
Matter of fact, I’ve heard that there’s a doctor who wants to start a hospital in the Caribbean which specializes in just heart surgery. It’s already happening in some places and putting it close off shore to the US would get them a lot of business. I understand that they already have great success rates because of the specialization.
I see that as a option should obamacare take off. I don’t see your scenarios unrealistic or improbable at all.
I had heard that there was only a 1:80 chance that the test would actually reveal any potential problem and that it could indicate nothing more than twins or a miscalculated due date.
The Nurse practioner confirmed that. Those are way too low probabilities.
Funny thing is, with my food allergy problems, the nurse practioner I’m seeing wanted to do a urine test that the state of NY wouldn’t allow because the results were not reliable enough to make medical decisions on (allegedly). Well, first off, nobody makes serious medical decisions on the results of ONE test. But also, they’re requiring that doctors offer this AFP test and make major medical decisions on a test of that kind of unreliability.
Can you say *agenda*?
Sounds like you were dosed with Verced.
To each his own.
Some people love the property of “no memory” when having an invasive procedure.
My thought was perhaps the wife forgave the father and they had a strong life long marraige.
LOL Guess it depends on perspective.
Of course,my guess he was looking after the health of the mother .
That’s exactly what it was. Why would anyone not want to not recall? I don’t want them doing anything to me that is so unpleasant while I’m aware of it that I don’t want to remember it. How stupid would you have to be to agree with that??? But at the very least, if I agreed to that, I would require that they video tape it so I could see it later to see what the heck they didn’t want me to remember.
I’ve had surgery before and I’m not a wimp, I wasn’t at all afraid of the prep for surgery, I didn’t request that I be given something to make me relax, or suggest that I was afraid or anything else. I was totally surprised that the last thing I recalled was being wheeled down the hall having a conversation with the nurse. I have no idea what happened after that point. The experience was very disturbing to me and I was not prepared for that (it was NOT like waking up from normal anesthesia).
If you woke up after being anesthetized not feeling well it probably was not the verced.
So you have no problem going into a cold OR room and going under, that's you.
Others find it comforting to have the last memory before surg is the kind (hopefully) nurse comforting them with warm blankets and then waking up to a kind nurse.
Hopefully you will never have to be in a surg. situation again but next time just write Verced down as a decline to have drug on you paper work and tell the nurse. Problem solved.
It was verced because they told me it was verced. They told me it would relax me, which is a lie, it is NOT to relax you, it is to give you amnesia. Do you think adults are children who cannot deal with anything? Sheesh. I’m sorry, I’m not a child who needs comfort and lies. I can deal with the stresses of life. It wasn’t like they were cutting me open while I was awake. I can deal with a cold OR, I can deal with being put under, and frankly I would have liked to have met the team that was going to do my procedure. I’s not like I was hysterical or fearful. I was chatting with the nurse and joking before I suddenly have no more memory of anything until I awoke in the recovery room. Again, I am not a child, I am a fully functioning adult. Why do they need me not to recall what was done to me BEFORE THEY KNOCKED ME OUT? And why did they not explain to me what this drug would actually do? BTW are you a medical professional?
I believe that is changing “Doctor knows best”
The pro life education and self help care info is getting out there.
As a pro life advocate for KV sure I have had many docs not able to understand our pro life view but I have also had a few that get excited that KV is a survivor with a zest of life.
Pro Life medical care education still has a big job in educating families on how to be self advocates.
Our Catholic faith teaches that very well through media programs such as EWTN programming.
Some of us are just blessed with that knowledge.
Some families are ignorant but there are families that don’t want the “problem” of caring for a disabled loved one.
Then you have the socialist govt drivin cultural illness of a person who cannot be employeed is a useless life. What good is a human who can’t pay taxes and even worse 2 humans who can’t pay if a family member leaves the work force to care for a severely disabled loved on in the home.
I could say it is simplistic as how God values life and how Govt. views life. Polar oppisites.
Lastly it comes down to those who chose knowingly or not out of being selfish.
I heard (sorry if I dont quote it perfect) it said when the Pope was at the Angelican Mass or somewhere in that visit that God is not going to pull out our financial earnings for life when we come before him and that we put way to much importance on how much we earn then we do other aspects of our lives, the aspects that are Godly.
Your post is a great example of being a self advocate when it comes to health care.
Look at the upside turning down less tests that are not absolutely needed saves money.
Ya know I wish I had a dose of Verced before I ever thought of responding to your first post.
I knew I would regret it.
It has been my exp. in reading your posts that you hyper defend and hyper debate on just about every subject.
End of response.
I sent you a freepmail that probably explains better. Nice to know you have read every post I’ve ever posted tho (and that you don’t engage in hyperbole. ;)
I have not read every post.
Got the email. Thanks. It’s cool.
Just trying to explain, not start a fight. It was very recent, so I guess I’m still a little touchy. Sorry. :)
Perhaps Sarah Palin’s choosing life for her Downs baby has helped too.
My wife told the doctor in no uncertain terms that she had lost our trust. We saw another doctor afterwards.
Can you say *agenda*?
Sounds like it to me, too.
The problem with this, is if there is a problem for children with Down Syndrome, what other conditions make a child unfit to live? What’s next? I think that there’s the problem right there. People haven’t gotten over the kind of prejudice that send children who would today be considered simply mentally challenged, deaf, blind or dyslexic to a mental institution or the insane asylum, cut off from the world, only now they recommend killing them in the womb instead.
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