Recently I was asked to interview for a Christian magazine called World Mag. I was excited at the opportunity to share our story and show others just how typical our life really is.
With the new MaterniT 21 test and others like it, women have earlier access to the genetic makeup of their almost brand new pregnancies.
I’ve written and spoken about this topic before: it’s controversial and honestly scary.
What disturbs me the most about these new tests is how soon they can be performed and how society views abortions for genetic reasons.
Because a family can know as early as 11-12 weeks gestation whether their unborn child has T13, T18 or T21, there is the possibility that they will not only feel more detached from their pregnancy but that they will choose termination because their child isn’t “perfect”.
Worse? We see it as ok! We tell ourselves that they saved a child from a sad or “less than” life.
Eli isn’t sad and his life isn’t less than.
We tell ourselves we wouldn’t be able to “handle” that child’s “special needs” or that the child would suffer. We tell ourselves we did the child a favor. That the world is cruel and we saved them an unkindness.
Medical professionals and outdated resources reinforce these misguided notions and help us feel like we made the “right choice”. Support groups exist for parents who terminate for these and other undesirable traits.
I think, through my blog, I’ve made my stance very clear. We tested to be prepared for our child, not to end our child’s life. That is not something we get to decide- whether our child lives or dies. We tested because we want to know all we can about our child’s needs, not because we are scared of something being “wrong”.
With that being said, I’m disappointed in the article. I’m sad that there is no depth and blown away by the lack of a stance.
I was hoping the article would support a prolife viewpoint, since that is how I was approached for the interview and it is a Christian magazine. I anticipated an article that supported equality. One that showed Eli is worthy of life and that God created him exactly as he was intended to be.
Sadly, I feel the article lacks any substance and only touches on a topic that is over a year old.
These tests will become standard of care. These tests will be available to all expecting women. And these tests have the great potential to essentially end “undesirable” traits in our society.
Wake up, people of 2014! The world is changing. My son is a valuable human being. Equality is in. Hate is out.
I pray that this blog, and others like it, touch lives and educate people.
There are no guarantees in this life but I can promise you one thing: my children are amazing and worthy of every chance afforded them.
World Mag- thank you for the opportunity to reach others. I pray that people will find your magazine, find my article, and find my blog. As a Christian magazine, I implore you to shamelessly embrace what the Bible has to say about pregnancy, the unborn and abortion. As your magazine subtitle says: Real does matter.
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, NKJV).
World Mag Article:
“Will safer and more sophisticated prenatal tests give parents a helpful heads-up, or prompt abortions?
A new kind of prenatal testing is growing in popularity. It’s noninvasive, and checks for genetic disorders with minimal risk and high accuracy. Instead of collecting DNA from the womb with big needles, it sequences cell-free fetal DNA that floats in the mother’s bloodstream during pregnancy.
With just a simple blood sample from mom, tests using cell-free DNA (sold in the United States under brand names MaterniT21 Plus, Panorama, Verifi, and Harmony) can flag a variety of chromosomal conditions in a baby, such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), and trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome). They may also check for sex gene disorders like triple X and Klinefelter syndromes.
All this testing could bode well or ill for children, depending on their parents’ viewpoint.
Noninvasive tests are safer for the baby than amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, which may occasionally cause a miscarriage. Noninvasive tests can be performed early in the pregnancy, too, at nine or 10 weeks. They are advertised to be highly accurate, detecting Down syndrome, for example, in 99 out of 100 cases.
The potential problem is the motive for prenatal testing in the first place. Why offer testing for a disorder you can discover at birth? Often, the answer appears to be so women can make an “informed decision” whether to “continue” their pregnancy—or abort.
Donna Harrison, the executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, points out that when doctors test for a disease like strep throat, they normally have the goal of treating and curing the patient. “There is no drug or treatment that can modify the genome of the fetus, so the fetus receives no benefit,” she says of the prenatal testing trend. “And, what if the test is wrong?” (They do give false positives occasionally.)
Parents who discover their unborn child is positive for a chromosomal disorder often decide to abort. When they discover Down syndrome by prenatal diagnosis, up to nine out of 10 parents choose to terminate, according to some studies. As prenatal tests become less invasive, more convenient, and more common, it’s reasonable to think more parents will be prompted to abort an “imperfect” child.
Not everyone views the new tests negatively, though. In 2011 Ashley Newman of Spring, Texas, became one of the first women to use a noninvasive prenatal test. Halfway through her pregnancy, a MaterniT21 test showed Newman’s baby boy had Down syndrome.
Newman says it was important for her and her husband to know the diagnosis in advance. “Regardless, we weren’t going to end the pregnancy.” She grieved over lost expectations, but also spent time learning about Down syndrome, informing family members, and ensuring her hospital would provide extra fetal monitoring for heart defects or intestinal problems associated with the condition.
Being prepared made the birth less overwhelming, she says. “My son was born, and it was a celebration. We were ready.” Eli, whom she describes as a “perfect son” knit together by God, will turn 2 in April. A MaterniT21 test for Newman’s third child, due in April, came back normal and revealed the baby’s gender (a boy) at just 12½ weeks gestation (more at barryandashley.wordpress.com).
The provider of MaterniT21 expected to sell 150,000 tests last year. Other brands are selling tens of thousands more. Whether used to improve a birth or prevent one, noninvasive prenatal tests are coming to an ob-gyn office near you.”
COPYRIGHT © 2014 GOD’S WORLD PUBLICATIONS, FEB. 8, 2014, VOL. 29, NO. 3