President Bush Signs Law to Reduce Abortion of Down Syndrome Babies

November 6, 2008

george-bush30.jpgPresident Bush has signed into law a measure that may help to curtail
the number of abortions of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome and
other conditions.

The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act
requires parents whose children receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or
another malady to be provided with the latest information on the
condition and be informed of support services available. This would
apply to a diagnosis on a child before birth or until a year after
birth. The measure also would establish a registry of families willing
to adopt special needs children.

The measure seeks to address
the reported lack of information and support given to parents whose
unborn children test positive for conditions such as Down syndrome.

has been estimated about 90 percent of American children diagnosed in
the womb with Down syndrome are aborted, sometimes after their parents
have been given hopeless descriptions of their offsprings’ futures. A
similar abortion percentage exists for unborn babies diagnosed with
spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism, the bill’s sponsor, Sen.
Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., has reported.

“This is a great victory
for the culture of life we should all seek to promote,” Brownback said
in a written statement after Bush signed the bill Oct. 8. “[The 90
percent abortion rate for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome]
is much too high and suggests that we as a society are not doing
everything we can to protect every human life, at every stage.”

new law means parents “will be more likely to receive up-to-date,
scientific information about life expectancy, clinical course,
intellectual and functional development, and prenatal and postnatal
treatment options,” the National Down Syndrome Society and National
Down Syndrome Congress said in a joint release after Congress approved
the legislation.

Currently, “the information that is all too
often being provided … is outdated and inaccurate,” the organizations
said. “The treatment options, functional development, opportunities and
accomplishments of individuals with Down syndrome have improved
dramatically over the years, yet decades old stereotypes still persist.”

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) made a
recommendation in January 2007 that pro-life advocates said would
likely increase the number of abortions of Down syndrome-diagnosed
babies. ACOG recommended all pregnant women, no matter their age, be
offered testing for the condition. Previously, women 35 years and older
were automatically offered testing for the condition, according to ACOG.

bill’s enactment came less than six weeks after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
and her family, which includes a son with Down syndrome, came into the
national spotlight. The Republican nominee for vice president learned
through prenatal testing that her fifth child, Trig, would be born with
Down syndrome. Palin, a pro-lifer, gave birth to Trig in April.

The House of Representatives passed the bill by voice vote Sept. 25, two days after the Senate approved it by unanimous consent.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D.-Mass., was the lead cosponsor of the Brownback-authored bill.

Source: Baptist Press

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