The rapid growth of prenatal testing has had some undeniably positive effects: A woman who knows she will bear a child with a handicap can plan to deliver in a hospital equipped for risky births. And many couples prefer the opportunity to prepare psychologically for the work of raising a disabled child.

By far the most profound effect of prenatal testing, however, has been a staggering increase in the number of abortions.

The trend is clear: More testing invariably leads to more — many more — abortions of Down Syndrome children….

Far fewer than 90 percent of women support abortion, at least in the abstract, so there is some question as to why so many are choosing it when they find they are carrying children with Down Syndrome. A number of studies have attempted to provide an answer. One, conducted by the Canadian Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, found that, because of pressure from hospital staff, one in four pregnant women “felt obliged” to undergo amniocentesis. Of those who tested positive for a birth defect, one in three believed she was “more or less forced” to have an abortion.

~ Tucker Carlson, in Slate’s reprint of his 1996 Weekly Standard article on the eugenic nature of prenatal testing, February 21

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum came under fire this week for his comments against Obamacare’s free prenatal testing provisions, stating that it “ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.”

[Photo via genethique.org]