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Priests Group Comments on New Prenatal Testing Recommendation

Contact:  Jerry Horn, Priests for Life, 540-220-0095


WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 /Christian Newswire/ -- Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented today on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' recommendation this week that all pregnant women, not just those over 35, be offered a choice of tests for Down syndrome.


"In the light of this recommendation, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the words Pope John Paul II wrote about prenatal diagnostic techniques," said Fr. Pavone.  "Moreover, Priests for Life will defend the rights of parents against pressure to abort children with anomalies, and wants to hear from those who experience such pressure upon having diagnostic tests."


Pope John Paul II on prenatal diagnostic testing:


"Special attention must be given to evaluating the morality of prenatal diagnostic techniques which enable the early detection of possible anomalies in the unborn child.  In view of the complexity of these techniques, an accurate and systematic moral judgment is necessary.  When they do not involve disproportionate risks for the child and the mother, and are meant to make possible early therapy or even to favour a serene and informed acceptance of the child not yet born, these techniques are morally licit.  But since the possibilities of prenatal therapy are today still limited, it not infrequently happens that these techniques are used with a eugenic intention which accepts selective abortion in order to prevent the birth of children affected by various types of anomalies.  Such an attitude is shameful and utterly reprehensible, since it presumes to measure the value of a human life only within the parameters of 'normality' and physical well-being, thus opening the way to legitimizing infanticide and euthanasia as well.


"And yet the courage and the serenity with which so many of our brothers and sisters suffering from serious disabilities lead their lives when they are shown acceptance and love bears eloquent witness to what gives authentic value to life, and makes it, even in difficult conditions, something precious for them and for others.  The Church is close to those married couples who, with great anguish and suffering, willingly accept gravely handicapped children.  She is also grateful to all those families which, through adoption, welcome children abandoned by their parents because of disabilities or illnesses."


- Evangelium Vitae, n. 63 (1995)


Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.