Is Down Syndrome Doomed? How State Statutes Can Help Expectant Parents Make Informed Decisions about Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnoses*

Teresa Santin

Abstract


Giving birth to a child with Down syndrome is a choice and one that should be well-informed. It has become a trend for expectant parents to abort fetuses with Down syndrome before fully weighing their options.[1] Expectant parents may automatically assume that an individual with Down syndrome will not lead a worthwhile life and that raising the child will pose too many challenges for them.[2] In order to minimize the number of fetuses with Down syndrome that are being aborted (which may be greater than 90%),[3] expectant parents need access to up-to-date, comprehensive information about all aspects of raising a child with Down syndrome, including the many positive aspects. Whatever decision a parent makes regarding raising a child with Giving birth to a child with Down syndrome is a choice and one that should be well-informed. It has become a trend for expectant parents to abort fetuses with Down syndrome before fully weighing their options.[1] Expectant parents may automatically assume that an individual with Down syndrome will not lead a worthwhile life and that raising the child will pose too many challenges for them.[2] In order to minimize the number of fetuses with Down syndrome that are being aborted (which may be greater than 90%),[3] expectant parents need access to up-to-date, comprehensive information about all aspects of raising a child with Down syndrome, including the many positive aspects. Whatever decision a parent makes regarding raising a child with consent. Part IV examines current state and federal laws that require healthcare providers to give information to expectant mothers who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. Part IV also addresses why a law requiring post-Down syndrome diagnosis information is not unduly burdensome. Specifically, Part IV looks closely at the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act and state statutes in Missouri, New Jersey, Alabama, and Virginia.

 

Part V discusses why laws already enacted on this issue are inadequate and proposes a model statute that all states can follow in crafting their own similar laws. Finally, Part V addresses potential concerns related to the proposed law like cost, enforcement, and First Amendment rights, and how those issues may be resolved.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/pjephl.2012.33

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