Canada: Towards a systematic genetic screening?

Source: FSSPX News


Following the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada made the recommendation in February that all pregnant Canadian women be offered genetic screening for Down’s Syndrome.

The Catholic Organization for Life and the Family (OCVF) condemned “a worrying step towards eugenics”: the test, offered to all expectant mothers – and no longer only to those over thirty-five – would thus allow a greater choice of terminating their pregnancy if a fetal abnormality is detected. The majority of genetic diseases, in particular, fetal aneuploidy and Down’s Syndrome, currently have no treatment or cure, only the option of aborting the “defective” babies, the Catholic group pointed out. “Parents are called on to make life or death decisions based on their preferences, fears and expectations concerning their own quality of life and that of their children.”

 This is why OCVF has appealed for the protection of the fundamental human rights of handicapped people, “including their principal right – to be born.” “Many Canadians who are suffering diseases or handicaps, bring a positive contribution to our lives. They remind us that happiness, friendship and love of life do not depend on perfect health or a normal I.Q. Instead of offering parents confronted with this situation the means of eliminating the child in their womb, we should rather offer them more resources and support. Research aimed at finding treatments and cures for persons affected by genetic diseases should be given priority rather than offering tests which are often tantamount to a death sentence.”