Thursday, June 07, 2012

Information is Power

The Telegraph reported today that "Scientists could soon be able to routinely screen unborn babies for thousands of genetic conditions, raising concerns the breakthrough could lead to more abortions."  While that is obviously a concern, I think there is a deeper consequence at the bottom of the socialist Utopian slippery slope.

Ideally, couples would use this information to plan for the care of their child.  If you found out that your baby would be born with a genetic disorder you could educate yourself.  You could prepare your home, your finances, your employer and your friends and family.  You could find a doctor, a service provider, a support group or a charitable organization.  Most importantly you could prepare yourselves emotionally.

All this could be done ahead of time so that when your baby arrived you could focus on loving them and providing them with the best possible care.  You could know that everything is already in place and that you're as prepared as you can possibly be.  This would be so much better for you and your baby than finding out in the delivery room that your life is about to be turned upside down.

Unfortunately, many people would use this test to decide whether or not to terminate the pregnancy.  Some people would destroy their unborn children believing themselves to be merciful; but for people who don't consider an unborn baby to be a living individual, they wouldn't need a medical reason.  This test could tell you the gender of the baby, which the House couldn't ban as a reason for an abortion.  If there is no restriction on the reason for an abortion, what happens when we decode the genome and can use this test to determine the baby's eye color, hair color and which parent's nose, lips and cheek bones she will have?

As bad as that is, it's not even the bottom of the slope.  What happens when this test becomes mandatory?  What happens when the government decides insurance companies can deny coverage if the results show that your child has a disorder that will make her a burden on the healthcare system.

It's not that much of a stretch when you consider the liberty-squashing steps being taken right now to make us healthier and reduce healthcare costs for the good of society.  There's already an enormous tax on cigarettes.  Here in New York, you can't allow people to smoke in your privately owned establishment.  Soon, in New York City, you will no longer be able to sell large (over 16 fl. oz.) sugary drinks.  The only justification is that unhealthy people are a burden on society.

Add to that, if Obamacare is upheld by the Supreme Court, the Health and Human Services Secretary will have the power to decide what's covered and what isn't.  Keep in mind, also, that this test is relatively non-invasive - requiring only a blood sample from the mother and a saliva swab from the father.  (Then again, this requires that the father take responsibility which goes against liberal philosophy.)

Now, I'm sure charities would step forward to help if it ever came to this and I'd like to think it would never happen; but that's where this rabbit hole goes.  Information is power.  Just like the knowledge of radioactive material can be used to power a city or destroy one, this test provides information that could be used to give a child the best possible life or end it.

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