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Opinion | Sexuality

Eliminating Suffering or Eliminating People?

When genetic testing threatens our common humanity.

Imagine sitting in a doctor's office and receiving this news:

Good morning, Mrs. Santos. I have the results of the screening test you had last week, 12 weeks into your pregnancy. The test indicates a high likelihood that your baby will be a typically developing child, and I want to make sure you understand the implications of this diagnosis. Typically developing children are at risk for a number of physical, emotional, and mental complications throughout their lives.
Although the risks are many, I will mention a few of the most prevalent. Your child has a 30 percent risk of obesity, an 8 percent risk of diabetes, and a 10 percent risk of clinical depression. Each of these factors can result in premature death. One in 166 children in the United States develops autism, and one in 500 dies within the first few months of life from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
In addition to the potential physical and mental problems, I want to make sure you've considered the financial costs associated with a typically developing child. Do you think you can afford to raise this child, given the current economic environment, rising health care costs, and the rising cost of higher education?
The decision regarding this pregnancy is entirely up to you. I just want to make sure you have the information you deserve, based on the test results.

Advances in technology are offering women more information about their pregnancy than ever before. Marilynn Marchione, of the Associated Press, reported last week on ...

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