Thursday 23 December 2010

Sarah Palin gave one of the most important political speeches of the 21st century

Technology Review reports that mapping the genome* of an unborn child using DNA from his mother's blood may have the potential for "broad genetic testing without risk to the foetus".

I've deliberately highlighted "without risk" because, in reality, we know that the risk of the development of this technique to the unborn child, in the present social, political and legal environment, is lethal and it's huge.

Mapping the genome for disabilities is praised for being "non-invasive" - unlike amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling which are currently used to test for conditions such as Down Syndrome.

It's also praised because it does not carry "a small risk of miscarriage" as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling do.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states that about 1 in every 100 women who have amniocentesis under ultrasound guidance after 15 weeks will miscarry.(If my child had about a 1% of being murdered at school, I wouldn't send my child to school. The pressure these days on couples who may be expecting a disabled child is so great, and society's regard for the disabled child is so low, that people are actually seriously prepared to risk killing their child in order to find out whether he or she is disabled. And when the child is thought to be disabled the overwhelming majority are killed)

However, Dr Greg Pike, Director of the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute in Adelaide, South Australia, points out:
"Given that we already know that couples will often abort for major foetal genetic defects and sometimes even for suspected minor ones, this development could lead to significantly greater numbers of abortions on the grounds of foetal disability in search for a child as free of disability possible – fed by what seems to be an almost inherent eugenic mentality.

"While it is difficult to predict where people will draw the line when deciding to abort or not based upon the genetic information, at the very least the broader detection of genetic problems will expand the choices. Some of those genetic problems will be predispositions for certain disorders, so that couples will be making choices based upon probabilities of disorders arising in their offspring’s middle age.

"One of the arguments that often comes up in favour of genetic screening is that it helps the couple prepare for a child with a disability. I think it is likely that such cases are very few in number and by far the majority end up in abortion, at least where the disability is major."
Dr Pike takes the view that this work represents a very significant step towards the eventual routine mapping of the entire genome of the foetus from a maternal blood sample. He tells me that an affordable complete genome test may be 5, 10 or even 20 years away, and this work is a major step towards that end. In that case, genetic screening for a wide range of disorders could be routinely offered. Cost, he says, would likely be the inhibiting factor.

This is chilling. How barbaric does society have to become in its wholesale slaughter of unborn children and of disabled unborn children in particular before it wakes up and challenges eugenic policies and practices?

Sarah Palin, the US politician who ran for the vice-presidency in 2008, is constantly mocked by the British media. In my view she gave one of the most important political speeches of the 21st century so far when she said:
"I believe the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves. And who is more vulnerable, or more innocent, than a child?

"When I learned that my son Trig would have special needs, I had to prepare my heart for the challenges to come. At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding. But I can tell you a few things I’ve learned already.

"Yes, every innocent life matters. Everyone belongs in the circle of protection. Every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. There are the world’s standards of perfection … and then there are God’s, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake.

"As for our beautiful baby boy, for Todd and me, he is only more precious because he is vulnerable."
*all the unborn child's inheritable traits

If you would like to have a summary, prepared by Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, on the research done on mapping the genome of the unborn child, write to me and I will send it to you.

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