For those of you who prefer listening to books to reading them (or for your friends in this camp), you can now pre-order A Good and Perfect Gift as an Audiobook. It will be released next Tuesday. I haven't heard the whole recording yet, but I listened to the sample and she did a good job with the opening chapter. Let me know what you think about the rest of it! (Incidentally, if you subscribe to Audible for the first time, you can get the book for free.)
The "Voldemort" of prenatal testing is abortion. Pursuant to practice guidelines, obstetricians are instructed that they should counsel their patients about termination following a prenatal diagnosis. Despite this professional requirement, women typically are not counseled that in accepting prenatal testing, they will ultimately be confronted with a decision on whether to continue their pregnancy. This practice creates what has been called the "gradual trap"
The mother accepts prenatal screening, seeking reassurance that their pregnancy is unaffected;
She receives a higher probability result and accepts diagnostic testing, again to make sure "everything is okay;" and,
Only after a diagnostic result does she then realize this process leads to the decision of whether she wants to abort.
Becker, instead, includes a quote from Rayna Rapp, which makes plain the purpose of prenatal testing:
The technology of prenatal diagnosis was developed explicitly to allow the selective abortion of fetuses facing serious disabilities because of atypical chromosomes and genes.
Knowing this up-front informs the decision then to either accept or forgo prenatal testing. For, as Becker, further explains, besides diagnosing whether a pregnancy is positive for Down syndrome (or Edwards or Pateau syndrome) prenatal genetic testing does not, by itself, tell the expectant mother anything else about their developing child or whether there are associated medical complications. Only through high-level ultrasound typically performed in the second trimester would structural, i.e. heart or intestinal, issues be revealed which would need to be dealt with near or after birth.