Rampant misuse of prenatal screening endangers preborn lives

In the current session of the Texas Legislature, Texas Right to Life is working to protect the lives of disabled babies.  The Preborn Non-Discrimination Act (PreNDA) would ensure that preborn babies who may have a disability are protected from abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, as all other preborn babies are under the historic Pro-Life Omnibus Bill of 2013, House Bill 2.

Ending deadly discrimination in the womb is an important way to advance the Right to Life of all people.  However, the PreNDA is also a vital means of ensuring that the abortion industry is held to the standards of informed consent.  Women who choose to end the Life of a child through abortion must have access to complete and accurate information.  Women and their families are often pressured to choose abortion when there is some indication of disability.  Anti-Life medical professionals claim the child is “incompatible with Life,” and parents are given little information about the many life-affirming options available.  Since the widespread implementation of non-invasive prenatal screening tests, more potential disabilities are detected and more parents face pressure to abort their preborn babies.

In a disturbing study by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, researchers found that prenatal screenings are unregulated, prone to alarming rates of error, and, tragically, prompting women to end their children’s lives in abortion based on faulty diagnoses.  The results of the study are detailed in the New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s article, “Oversold and misunderstood.”  Reporter Beth Daley writes about Stacie Chapman’s story of receiving what she thought was a fatal diagnosis for her preborn son.  Stacie and her husband were so distraught that they immediately scheduled an abortion.  Thankfully the Chapmans’ doctor recommended further testing, which revealed their son did not have Trisomy 18.  At the time of the interview, the Chapmans’ perfectly healthy baby boy was almost a year old.  The family is still haunted by the fact that they almost ended their son’s life.

Although the Chapman story has a happy ending, Ms. Daley’s article reveals that some families are not so fortunate.  Daley writes that “companies are overselling the accuracy of their tests and doing little to educate expecting parents or their doctors about the significant risks of false alarms.”  With a growing number documented cases of women making an abortion decision based on faulty or misunderstood information, an examination of genetic screening is long overdue.  As the Texas Legislature considers the PreNDA in the coming months, information about the misuse of prenatal screening is an important consideration.

Texas Right to Life holds that the taking of an innocent preborn child’s life is always tragic.  There is further grave injustice in the culture of discriminatory abortions sanctioned under current law.  In no other arena of life—education, healthcare, employment—would we accept blatant discrimination against people who may have a disability.

Last legislative session, Pro-Life hero Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) stood in defense of all preborn lives.  Powerful Republicans-In-Name-Only in the statehouse stalled Schaefer’s legislation that would have closed the deadly loophole that allows for the late abortions of babies who may have disabilities.  This legislative session, we cannot afford to fall prey to these political games again.  We must protect the preborn and the disabled with the passage of the PreNDA.  Studies such as the one from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting reveal the disturbing predatory culture of discriminatory abortion.  Contact your legislators to urge their support for the life-saving Preborn Non-Discrimination Act this legislative session.