Pre-Natal DiagnosisFR. FRANK PAVONE
The push for pre-natal diagnostic tests for pregnant mothers just became stronger.
Secondly, ACOG points out that new methods of testing have been developed that are less invasive. Their top recommendation simply involves ultrasound and a blood test.
Aside from the medical questions, however, many moral questions arise. Are such tests morally permissible? What are they meant to accomplish? Is undue pressure being placed on pregnant mothers to have these tests? Is pressure being put on them to abort?
Pope John Paul II addressed the issue of pre-natal diagnosis with these words in "The Gospel of Life" (Evangelium Vitae):
The Church's approach is quite balanced. Diagnosis, not immoral in itself, must have a proper purpose and motive. In some ways, diagnosis advances a culture of life, because the unborn child is medical science's newest patient. I have been privileged to participate in conferences of fetal surgeons, and this branch of medicine can serve life in increasingly effective ways.
Yet every tool can be used for good or for harm. Dr. Jerome Lejeune, a strongly pro-life geneticist who discovered the origins of Down's Syndrome, lamented the fact that this knowledge was sometimes being used for a "search-and-destroy" mission. And it is no secret that there is a bias among medical professionals to recommend abortion when test results even a hint (often mistakenly) of Down's Syndrome, as Brian Skotko of the National Down's Syndrome Congress found out when he surveyed 2,945 mothers of children with this condition.
Let's stand both for the advancement of the treatment of the unborn, and against the deadly mentality that pushes to kill the less than perfect.
Fr. Frank Pavone. "Pre-Natal Diagnosis." Priests for Life (February, 2007).
This article is courtesy of the Priests for Life newsletter. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; call 1-888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; fax 718-980-6515; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.priestsforlife.org.
Fr. Frank Pavone was born in Port Chester, New York and has been active in the pro-life movement since 1976. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York by Cardinal John O'Connor in 1988. In 1999, the Daily Catholic named Fr. Pavone among the Top 100 Catholics of the Century. He is the recipient, for the year 2001, of the Proudly Pro-life Award of the National Right to Life Committee. In 2002, in recognition of his pro-life work, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. In 2003, Fr. Pavone was elected to be the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, a coalition of groups from many different denominations working to end abortion.
Copyright © 2007 Priests for Life
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