Ask the Lab: Research ways to improve the lives of people with Autism
Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. And unfortunately, it is on the rise in the United states. To a family, a child’s autism diagnosis can be devastating. However, no matter how devastating or difficult a disability might be, the child who has autism is a valuable person created in the image of God with infinite worth.
Unfortunately, our culture today encourages women to abort children who are diagnosed in utero with disabilities. As we have reported, some countries in Europe claim to have eliminated Down syndrome people through abortion.
That is why the news that a lab has just received a patent for diagnosing autism in the womb and in very young children must be considered cautiously. Please join in asking the lab, LabCorp, to focus their research and methods on ways to improve the lives of people with Autism, not technologies which could lead to the abortion of children with Autism.
As reported by the Times News, “The method, invented by David Michael Margulies and Mark Firman Bear of Massachusetts, involves taking a tissue or body sample from a subject and then conducting a test to identify variant sequences in the subject’s genetic code, which may signify “the presence or an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorders.” Testing can be done on children and fetuses, according to the patent.”
Autism advocacy groups encourage children to be diagnosed early as early intervention can improve the quality of life of the child with autism. Thus, this patent could be very good news for people in the Autism community. However, the lab must focus their efforts on testing and treating children outside the womb as a test performed on babies not yet born could put them at risk for abortion. Disability should never be a reason for termination –but in our country, it is.
Tragically, 85 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome will be aborted. Some social scientists are even arguing parents who choose not to abort their child with Down syndrome should pay a fine. Tragically, 85 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome will be aborted.
Frank Stephens, a man with Down syndrome, testified before House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services. He stated, “Sadly, across the world, a notion is being sold that maybe we don’t need research concerning Down syndrome. Some people say prenatal screens will identify Down syndrome in the womb, and those pregnancies will just be terminated,” said Stephens. “Seriously, I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence. Is there really no place for us in the world?”
“Whatever you learn today, please remember this,” Mr. Stephens stated, “I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living.”
It’s tragic that we live in an age where people with disability are put at such great risk. We must be the advocates for the vulnerable –especially the disabled. Please join in asking the LabCorp to focus their efforts on improving lives, not developing tests to determine what lives have value and which don’t.
Sign this petition now!
Test for Autism