Unborn babies are aborted at astronomic rates after prenatal screening tests come back positive for genetic disorders like Down syndrome.
But new research indicates these tests are highly inaccurate and many aborted babies actually may have been healthy.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned parents not to put their faith in non-invasive prenatal screening tests because they often produce “false results.” These screenings look for signs of genetic abnormalities in an unborn baby by testing a sample of the mother’s blood.
The new FDA announcement came months after a New York Times report exposed an average false positive rate of 85 percent among the five different tests it examined.
“While genetic non-invasive prenatal screening tests are widely used today, these tests have not been reviewed by the FDA and may be making claims about their performance and use that are not based on sound science,” said Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement.
Though Shuren did not mention abortion specifically, he hinted at the likelihood that healthy unborn babies have been aborted based on false positives, saying, “Without proper understanding of how these tests should be used, people may make inappropriate health care decisions regarding their pregnancy.”
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The FDA emphasized that the tests are for screening purposes only; they are not an actual diagnosis of a disorder.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a pro-life Republican from Texas, was encouraged to see the new FDA warning. Speaking with The Daily Wire, Roy said doctors recommended that his godson be aborted due to a false positive on a prenatal screening test.
“His parents chose life,” Roy said. “The test was wrong. He was born perfectly healthy, and to this day, we are all grateful for the joy he has brought with him into this world.
“Parents deserve complete information when making complicated medical decisions for their children – especially when these tests can be a matter of life or death,” he continued, adding that he prays “for those not as lucky as my godson.”
In January, Roy and other Republican lawmakers urged the FDA to take action after the New York Times exposed the high false positive rate on prenatal screening tests.
“While breakthroughs in genetic sequencing have provided Americans and their health care providers with new tools, there must be proper oversight of these new technologies to protect vulnerable populations like persons with disabilities, pregnant mothers, and their unborn children,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in a letter to the FDA.
According to the New York Times, the tests often are marketed as “reliable” and “accurate,” even though most have not been approved by the FDA.
The test companies do recommend follow-up testing to confirm the results, but parents do not always do this. More accurate tests come with a risk of miscarriage and can be expensive, so some parents go on the early, unreliable results alone to make a decision about their unborn baby’s life.
One geneticist told the newspaper about a recent case where an early prenatal test came back positive for a rare disorder, so the parents aborted their unborn baby. Later, however, a follow-up test after the abortion showed that the unborn baby had been healthy, the geneticist said.
The report continues: “A 2014 study found that 6 percent of patients who screened positive obtained an abortion without getting another test to confirm the result. That same year The Boston Globe quoted a doctor describing three terminations following unconfirmed positive results.”
The expanded use of prenatal testing has led to more unborn babies with disabilities being targeted for abortions. Recent reports in The Atlantic and CBS News found that nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland, 95 percent in Denmark, 77 percent in France and 67 percent in the United States.
The deadly discrimination is getting worse with the increasing use of prenatal testing. The Telegraph reports a recent article in the European Journal of Human Genetics found that the number of babies with Down syndrome born in the United Kingdom dropped 54 percent since non-invasive prenatal screening tests became available about a decade ago.
What’s more, parents frequently report feeling pressured to abort unborn babies with disabilities. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the moment of her baby’s birth. Another mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.
Lately, prominent pro-abortion groups, including NARAL and Planned Parenthood, have been arguing openly that abortions are ok for any reason, including discrimination against unborn babies with Down syndrome.
Parents often face pressure to abort their unborn babies after a positive test. Many say they did not receive adequate counseling about the disorder or the support available to families of children with disabilities.