CP Politics

Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

Ob-Gyn: Santorum Was Right, Prenatal Testing Used to Abort Disabled

February 20, 2012|5:41 pm

An obstetrician-gynecologist confirmed on Monday Rick Santorum's claim that amniocentesis, a type of prenatal test used to detect Down syndrome, most often leads to aborting the fetus if the genetic disorder is detected.

"What prenatal care has developed into is a search and destroy mission," said Dr. Gene Rudd, who is also senior vice president of Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

Santorum, who is leading among GOP presidential candidates in the latest national poll by Gallup, made the statements concerning prenatal tests in a speech on Saturday and an interview on Sunday.

Amniocentesis, which takes amniotic fluid from a pregnant woman's uterus, is usually a second line test, Rudd explained. Ob-gyns will typically offer a blood screen first. The results of that test can show if there is a chance that the fetus has Down syndrome or a spinal cord defect. The sensitivity of that test is set low, though, so there is a high rate of false positives. If the blood test suggests there may be a problem, an amniocentesis is typically used to get a definitive answer.

As Santorum noted, the procedure carries some risk. About one in 200 amniocenteses will result in a miscarriage, according to Rudd.

A 1999 study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 92 percent of amniocenteses that diagnosed Down syndrome resulted in an abortion. That rate was stable over the previous 20 years.

Rudd said that ob-gyns typically present the blood test and amniocentesis as if it is a routine procedure and without fully explaining the implications of the test.

"We know that the overwhelming majority of prenatal diagnosed babies with Down syndrome are aborted in this country because people are expected to abort prenatal diagnosed Down syndrome babies," Rudd said. "But, if you do a survey of families who have raised a Down syndrome individual, the overwhelming majority, over 90 percent plus, will say, 'yes, it's been challenging, but it's been rewarding.'

"If you do a survey of Down syndrome individuals, who have the capacity to respond, 100 percent of them will tell you life is worth living. So, we have this problem, in which, we have a deception thinking we need to prevent our society from getting exposed to this type of disability when people who have lived it say, it's a pretty good life."

Santorum also argued that the Obama administration is mandating free coverage of the procedure because it saves health care costs by reducing the number of disabled in the country.

"Why don't we do that to your grandmother?" Rudd asked rhetorically. "Why don't we do it to other disabled people in our society? They cost us more. Cost determines whether we live or not? What kind of society is that?"

Amniocentesis, he said, should be an option. He might suggest it to a patient if it could help improve the health of the mother and her fetus.

Rudd has concerns, though, about mandating free coverage because it means that everyone who has health insurance is paying for, through higher premiums, a procedure used to mark a fetus for termination.

"If we're all paying and everyone is expected to get it ... do you want to be paying for a test that determines whether some baby is going to be killed or not?" Rudd asked.

He compared the situation to the eugenics movement of the late 1800s. Eugenics taught that the least able and healthy in society should be reduced either by discouraging breeding, sterilization or (in the case of Nazi Germany) elimination.

Prenatal testing may soon become routine, not just to test for deformities, but to test for traits, Rudd believes. If the fetus does not have the types of traits the parents desire, such as gender, hair color or certain racial traits, they might opt to abort the fetus.

This possibility has already come to the attention of Congress. Last Friday, a committee in the U.S. House passed the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. It would ban abortions performed on the basis of race or sex.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/ob-gyn-santorum-was-right-prenatal-testing-used-to-abort-disabled-69887/