There is a new test for Down’s syndrome in the news again today. You can read about it here. It is non-invasive, so it will reduce the numbers of miscarriages following a screening test for Down’s syndrome. That’s a good thing, right?
We tell ourselves that screening is all about information. It’s about preparing ourselves for the future, going into it with our eyes open. I would normally go all around the houses to make a pinprick point, but not today.
Today there is no room for that. Today is a day for the truth.
It’s not about preparation at all. If it was, the numbers of babies screened away would be lower. Wouldn’t it? Expectant mothers carrying a baby with an extra chromosome wouldn’t be offered a termination after 30 weeks’ pregnancy, would they? Doctors wouldn’t come to visit you with faces of tragedy when they give you a diagnosis, and they wouldn’t tell you what they would do under the same circumstances. Midwives wouldn’t hurry to your home, clutching results and talking about decisions.
Children and young people who die young wouldn’t have Down’s syndrome written down as the unquestioned cause of their death.
It isn’t, you know. It’s part of life.