The on-going issue of antenatal screening and abortion came up again recently after the advocacy group Saving Downs launched an attack on a paper published in the New Zealand Medical Journal by Robert Cole and Gareth Jones titled (PDF) “Testing times: do new prenatal tests signal the end of Down syndrome?” As a result, last Sunday the Susan Wood did a segment on the issue, interviewing Mike Sullivan of Saving Downs and one of the paper’s authors Robert Cole.
There’s been a lot said about this issue, if your fingers want to do some googling, but there is a very interesting series of posts (titled “Some thoughts on pre-natal screening and disability”) from Otago prof Colin Gavaghan, the director of the New Zealand Law Foundation Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies. Among other things, in his third post of three, (here are one and two) Gavaghan makes the link between this issue and our current law in a way that a lot of people don’t. (On the Q and A show, for instance, while all three panelists who discussed the issue seemed to support something like a “right to choose” position on abortion, no-one pointed out that’s not what our law allows.)
We’ve had a few posts about this issue before on the site, including (from 10 December 2011) Choice and ante-natal screening and a guest post that touches on the issue titled (13 December 2011) Abortion as Society’s Mirror by Alison McCulloch.
It is amusing that this collection of white, aging, middle-class journalists spoke as if ‘the right to choose’ was enshrined in law.
‘Cos if you’re using private fertility services, through your excellent, expensive health insurance, the first thing they get you to agree to is termination of any test-tube foetus that will not be viable, before implantation, and then termination of any foetus that scans as ‘non-viable’ before 20 weeks.
This is so commonly known to nice, white, wealthy middle-class couples using IVF, that it never occurs to them that others don’t get ob/gyn specialists offering them terminations as a routine part of healthcare.
One more class/race divide in our medical provision, it seems.
Sorry anarkaytie, somehow didn’t see your comment waiting to be approved!