by Rev. Robert Fleischmann and Michael Klatt
March 15, 2008
LifeNews.com Note: This editorial is a combination of two pieces. One comes from Rev. Robert Fleischmann, the national director of Christian Life Resources. The second piece comes from Michael R. Klatt, the president and CEO of the Lutheran Home Association which provides residential programs for disabled people.
Prenatal testing, originally designed as a precautionary measure to identify potential problems in the early stages of pregnancy, allowed for corrective measures to be taken to ensure a healthier pregnancy and child. With the legalization of abortion in the United States in 1973, the testing took on a more sinister purpose.
Some of these prenatal tests were used to also encourage abortion. The pro-life community called these "search-and-destroy" tests. Specifically, the prenatal test is used to diagnose an unborn child’s potential malady and allow the mother the option to abort that child.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG) has led the medical community in the advocacy of abortion. For that reason, it did not come as a surprise to find ACOG’s wholehearted endorsement of "search-and-destroy" testing.
Recent action in the state of Minnesota prompted Mike Klatt of The Lutheran Home to issue a letter to area pastors warning about the aggressive actions of the medical community in the pursuit of search-and-destroy testing.
Mike did a great job articulating the concern about these developments. Rather than a repeat of what he said, Mike granted me permission to share the text of his letter. Please read it carefully and alert your members about this concern.
For more information you can also search the CLR website on this topic and all other life and family issues that we address.
Dear Pastors and Congregations,
Over the past year, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune newspaper reported that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends offering a new Down syndrome screening to every pregnant woman.
The Tribune also reported that many parents, once informed that their child would be born with this condition, selected to have an abortion. One article noted that in England and in some major U.S. cities, nearly 90 percent of parents who received this information aborted the child.
We have two concerns to address in regard to this alarming trend.
These test results are not always reliable.
We are aware of parents who have confirmed that although they were told that their child would have Down syndrome, the child was born with no disabilities. These "false positive" reports undergird our concern.
While testing may be of benefit in helping parents prepare for the birth of a child possibly having Down syndrome; clearly, the results from this new, routine test should be viewed with some reservation.
Using these results to abort a child is against God’s will.
We note with great sadness that our society continues to trample on the Bible’s teaching. It is especially disconcerting that the need of people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities to hear the Gospel of salvation is so blatantly denied.
The Lutheran Home Association (TLHA) provides residential programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, we offer Jesus Cares Ministries to help congregations reach out to persons with developmental disabilities who live in their communities.
As an advocate in our Synods for persons with developmental disabilities, we felt it is critical to address this emerging issue and to help you make your members more aware of it.
Included with this letter is a new Bible study that addresses the prenatal testing and abortion of persons with developmental disabilities. The Bible study is entitled Prenatal Genetic Screening: "How Does A Christian Respond? A Life Issues Bible Study." [Contact The Lutheran Home directly to obtain this Bible study. Their contact information can be found at www.tlha.org or in the WELS Yearbook.]
We encourage you to hold a special Bible study on this topic for your congregation. Please consider discussing this issue with your confirmation classes and high school youth groups. Please also consider addressing the topic in your congregational newsletter and bulletin. A guide for the discussion leader is available upon request.
If you call us, we will send it by return email in either a Word or RTF format, or we can send a paper copy. We also have a limited number of DVDs entitled "Celebrating Life with Down Syndrome" (produced by Band of Angels in partnership with Walt Disney Music Company). This 13-minute video is an excellent introduction to the Bible study or it could be shown at any time to promote discussion of this issue.
We cannot emphasize enough the growing societal acceptance of aborting a child who may have a disability. We ask that you and your congregation pray about this issue. We ask God to redirect parents and the medical community to turn to God’s Holy Word regarding the value God places on every life.
Thank you again for your time today in reading this letter. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact Pastor Dallas Miller, Director of Spiritual Services, or me.