According to research that was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, scientists will soon be able to screen pre-born babies for as many as 3,500 different genetic disorders.
Currently, the only conditions that are (occasionally) tested for prior to birth include Downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida.
News of this emerging technology raises a number of concerns, especially for anyone who respects and appreciates the sanctity and dignity of life. Case in point: 90% of pre-born babies who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.
Tragically, the more some people know about a preborn baby’s health, the more likely they are to abort a child who doesn’t meet their desired expectation. It’s also worth noting that babies are aborted as a result of false positives for prenatal screenings.
Exploring the human genome is at once fascinating and frightening. I have nothing against science. Like many other inventions and advancements, the morality of genetic research comes down to how the knowledge is utilized. Even the scientists involved in the new research see the potential pitfalls of testing for so many disorders:
“The less tangible implication of incorporating this level of information into pre-natal decision-making raises many ethical questions that must be considered carefully … as in other areas of clinical genetics, our capacity to generate data is outstripping our ability to interpret it in ways that are useful to physicians and patients.”
Is it possible that you can know too much about a preborn baby, especially since you may not even know what the implications of all the new-found information may mean?
Perhaps, but I don’t think knowledge is the problem, assuming you didn’t put the baby at risk in order to gather the information. The problem is one of authority, of assuming God’s seat in deciding who can live – and what “conditions” are acceptable or tolerable throughout that person’s life.
The terminology that’s tossed around regarding genetic “errors” is chilling to me.
When it comes down to genetics and biology, God makes people.
He doesn’t make mistakes.