Switzerland approves controversial pre-natal test for Down’s Syndrome

Bern, Switzerland, Jul 31, 2012 / 04:05 pm (CNA).- The government of Switzerland has sparked controversy by legalizing a new prenatal test that detects the presence of Down’s Syndrome – a move that could lead to an increase of abortions in the country.

Called “Prenatest,” the procedure will be made available in the country starting in August, according to Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag. It uses blood samples from the mother to detect the presence of Trisomy 21 or Down’s Syndrome in her unborn child.

The German company LifeCodexx, which developed the test, calls it a “safe alternative to traditional invasive methods.”

According to data from the United Nations, each year between three and five thousand children are born with Down’s Syndrome throughout the world.

In a June interview, Spain-based physician Dr. Esteban Rodriguez Martin told CNA that prenatal tests for Down’s Syndrome result “in abortion in more than 85 percent of the babies who have the condition in the countries where unborn human life does not enjoy legal protection.”

Martin said that in countries like Spain, as soon as Down’s Syndrome is detected, the parents are informed “so they can decide whether or not to request an abortion, which would be performed in a public health care facility.”

In response, Martin said there are numerous foundations in Spain working to gain traction across Europe in raising awareness on the dignity of those suffering from Down’s Syndrome.  

“In Spain, through Right to Life and HazteOir, we hope that the new regulations on abortion announced by the Mariano Rajoy administration will protect the lives of those who might be born with a handicap and penalize those practices intended to facilitate their intentional destruction.”

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