Science and medicine do a lot of wonderful things for our modern world, and often, even the most die-hard religious fanatics are still more than happy to embrace new medications and procedures that can help improve and prolong life. Sometimes the lines between morality and science can get a little blurry, though, and a report making the rounds on the Internet is one of those times when medicine finds itself inevitably pitted against religion.
The story is simple. Scientists are rapidly gaining the technology and expertise to be able to scan unborn babies for as many as 3,500 genetic flaws. Previously, this seemed to be impossible because of the development process of the fetus. By the time scientists could get a real look at a baby’s genetic code, it was pretty much too late to do anything about it. But new technological advances are allowing scientists to predict a fetus’s genetic code even before it is fully developed enough to be observed. They are able to predict the baby’s code by taking blood from the mother and a swab of the saliva of the father. From this, they are able to look at the projected code and see what genetic flaws the fetus is destined for. With time and getting more proficient at the process, scientists anticipate being able to test fetuses for as many as 3,500 disorders.
Now, as stated above, almost everyone out there is all for medical advances, but this is one that has serious repercussions. The more you look at it, the more problems you see with this. Think back just a moderate amount of time ago… say thirty or forty years. People still went into labor with no idea whether they were having a boy or a girl. In 2012, it’s almost insane for anyone to not know the sex of their child beforehand. It used to be a romantic and fun part…wondering whether the family was about to blessed with a boy or a girl. Now, science quashes the mystery quickly. Now, we’re not insinuating that there is something wrong with this. Knowing the sex has a lot of practical applications. For one thing, the family is able to make ready for the child and friends and relatives are able to purchase gifts that are appropriate. Put simply, it makes sense to know rather than not know. But what if as a routine part of the pregnancy, these prospective tests were run. Imagine the doctors showing the fetus on ultrasound, and then pulling out a file and informing the parents that their child is going to have Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, autism, or any of the dozens of diseases caused by genetic disorders. And with excellent accuracy. Not percentages. Not a “go-home-and-pray-about-it” situation. Medical certainty that the unborn fetus will suffer from one of these disorders.
The moral question here is obvious. In the current climate, people have babies that suffer from these disorders, and generally, the families accept it and learn to live with it. They love these children just like they do their normal, healthy babies. That is a beautiful thing, and countless families find that living with a special-needs child enriches their lives in ways they never could have imagined. But does anyone really plan it out that way? Does anyone visualize starting a family and see a child in a wheelchair in their mind? Of course not. Everyone envisions a healthy child, playing, crawling, and being ridiculously cute while they learn the ropes of hanging out on Planet Earth. How many people out there would abort a child based on the idea that they know in advance that the child will suffer from a serious disease?
The idea is not a new one. There are noted events in history where the concept was propagated that those with disorders such as the ones listed above should be controlled so as not to further these into the population. Basically, survival of the fittest. Don’t allow people with genetic diseases to reproduce, and over time, those disorders will be eliminated from the gene pool. Now, in 2012, they are talking about not even having to worry about the gene pool. Run the tests. If the baby isn’t up to standard, abort it. Try again. Wait for the right one. It’s like fishing. You don’t like the one you caught, throw it back. Only in that scenario, the fish don’t die. They swim off and count their lucky stars for getting off the hook this time. Aborted fetuses die. And they miss out on decades of life that was theirs.
Those that are against abortion want to believe that no one would abort their child because they found out that the child would not be perfect in development. The reality is that we have people that are willing to abort perfectly healthy babies because they “aren’t ready” or think that it will change their life too much. If people out there will abort children for these reasons, there is little doubt that they would abort a child because it was going to be autistic or have Down’s Syndrome. There wouldn’t even be a question. They would pull the trigger in a heartbeat, as ironic as that cliche is in this case. Because a heartbeat is exactly what they are taking.
So, it’s an epic case of medicine versus morality. Religion versus progress. However you want to put it, but the end result is a situation where abortion might become even more prevalent. It might even one day many years in the future become so commonplace that it is no longer even an issue. Responsible families would reproduce, run the tests, and make sure they have a good apple and not a deformed one. No brown spots. If not, it’s a do-over. Until perfection is achieved.
Common Sense Conspiracy does try to stay somewhat impartial on issues like this, but we aren’t naive enough to try to sell you that our own personal views don’t shine through our article, here. We are against abortion, and while we always salute the progress of medicine, we tend to think that these tests might cause more harm than good. But as always, we want to see what you, our readers, think. So, vote in the poll and let us know how you feel in the comments. We can’t wait to see an intelligent discussion on this issue.