HALIFAX, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - While advances in genetic science can hold
promises of improved treatments for genetic conditions; in the case of Down
syndrome it is sadly leading to the disappearance of an entire population.
Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration. Statistics show that well over
90% of pregnancies are terminated if the fetus is diagnosed with Down
syndrome. Women who receive a prenatal diagnosis often receive biased or no
counseling, and incomplete information.
Many health professionals describe only the possible medical problems
children with Down syndrome might encounter, without mentioning any of the
positive aspects, such as: how a child with Down syndrome might lead a healthy
and rich life, often times not that much different than a child who does not
have Down syndrome. The one-sided picture presented can leave parents with a
sense of despair.
So why, is an expansion of prenatal screening programs, that affect our
whole society, been implemented without a social debate and relevant insights
from people living with Down syndrome or advocacy groups? And why are these
tests offered to women without appropriate counseling, and complete and
If used without appropriate awareness, education and regulation, the
immense potential of genetic science, easily leads to developments that are
morally indefensible. This is not science fiction anymore, but today's
While Down syndrome is the first condition that is massively screened for
in Canada, it will certainly not be the last.
Do we continue to leave it to the experts and scientists to make these
decisions for us?
To kick off Down Syndrome Awareness Week (November 1-7) and to draw
attention to the crisis people with Down syndrome are facing, the Nova Scotia
Down Syndrome Society has started 'Campaign for Down Syndrome'
More information can be found on the Campaign, and a panel discussion on
genetic screening on www.campaignfordownsyndrome.blogspot.com
For further information:
For further information: Renate Lindeman, Nova Scotia Down Syndrome
Society, President, (902) 434-0234