1. Dangers of prenatal testing, Fetal blood tests are wrong more than 80% of the time, By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, The Washington Times, February 2, 2022, Pg. B2, Opinion A disturbing report from The New York Times on the unreliability of prenatal blood testing for genetic abnormalities should do more than make us wish that the testing companies were better regulated. It ought to make us question the assumptions underlying prenatal testing for fetal disability and the broader societal effects of a practice that is becoming more widespread.  It is this hard experience with ultrasound screening that made me especially sensitive to the Times’ recent report on the gross inaccuracy of prenatal blood tests. These tests, unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and performed on up to a third of pregnant American women, are marketed as “highly accurate” and “reliable,” but turn out to be wrong more than 80% of the time. The Times interviewed several couples who got false positive results indicating a high probability for devastating chromosomal abnormalities like Cri du Chat and Prader-Willi syndromes. These results are heavy on fear but light on important balancing information like how frequently false positives occur.   The ethical considerations of prenatal screening for disability should go well beyond those considered by the Times, though. Prenatal diagnosis is a medical procedure when it serves to improve the management of mother and child and works toward a safe delivery for both. But as a means of screening for the presence of a disability, or a characteristic like female sex, prenatal testing is used to identify “undesirable” traits so the people who carry these traits can be eliminated. Used in this way, we risk falling into the mistake made by Iceland, a country that celebrated the end of Down syndrome when it perfected the identification and elimination through abortion of children who happen to have an extra chromosome.  Perhaps the discrimination faced by people who have disabilities before birth substantially contributes to the difficulties they later encounter. We can do better as a society by becoming more inclusive and accepting of those with disabilities, understanding that — even from the very beginning — the person is so much more than the disability they happen to have. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/feb/1/the-dangers-of-prenatal-testing/___________________________________________________________ 2. Our Prenatal Testing System Is Broken, By Amy Julia Becker, The New York Times, February 2, 2022, Pg. A19, Opinion Our 16-year-old daughter, Penny, wakes up to the beeping of her alarm. On her way downstairs, she picks up her iPhone to check her texts. She eats breakfast, gathers her sneakers and pompoms for cheerleading and heads to school. When Penny was diagnosed with Down syndrome a few hours after she was born, I didn’t expect our mornings to feel so ordinary.  Many women whose prenatal tests looked similar to mine are counseled by medical professionals to pursue further diagnostic testing, and, with a confirmation of Down syndrome, to consider abortion. Every day, I’m glad I didn’t.  Done right, prenatal testing could allow parents to prepare well for the birth of their children. But without broad social acceptance of people with disabilities, without a medical establishment that conveys the positive social situations of many people with disabilities, and without funding for accurate and up-to-date information in the face of a prenatal diagnosis, more and more women will face decisions about their pregnancies without the support they deserve. And the more we assume that prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome will result in abortion, the more we will send a message to all our children that their worth depends on their ability to achieve. Instead of reinforcing structures that welcome only homogeneous bodies and minds as units of production, we need a system that supports and welcomes a diverse range of humans with their particular limits and struggles and gifts. Amy Julia Becker is the author of “A Good and Perfect Gift,” “White Picket Fences” and the forthcoming “To Be Made Well.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/opinion/prenatal-testing.html___________________________________________________________ 3. ‘Papa’ steps in: Francis to decide personally on Order of Malta reforms, By The Pillar, February 1, 2022 Pope Francis has suspended talks between the Vatican and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, after weeks of tense negotiations over a new constitution for the order. The pope notified members that he has decided to settle the question of future reform for the Order of Malta himself. The pope’s decision was communicated Sunday to the order’s senior members in an email from Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, the pope’s special delegate to the order, and in a Monday letter from the order’s Grand Chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager. The papal intervention suspends the constitutional reform talks which were set to resume later this month, and will require both sides of the negotiation to https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/papa-steps-in-francis-to-decide-personally___________________________________________________________ 4. Las Vegas bishop asks pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to present themselves for Holy Communion, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, February 1, 2022, 3:33 PM The Bishop of Las Vegas, responding to a pro-abortion column written by a Catholic politician, has asked all Catholic politicians who do not agree with the Church’s teaching on abortion not to present themselves for Holy Communion.  “It is my sincere hope that Catholic politicians and Catholics at large take this moment to look deeply into their own hearts, and re-examine the church’s moral conviction on the inviolability and dignity of human life,” Bishop George Thomas wrote Jan. 24 “If a politician from the Diocese of Las Vegas finds himself or herself at odds with the church’s teaching on the sacredness of human life, I ask him or her voluntarily to refrain from the reception of Holy Communion while holding public office.” “I place the onus of that decision upon the individual politician’s shoulders, and not on the backs of Pastors or Eucharistic Ministers,” he added. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250274/las-vegas-bishop-asks-pro-abortion-catholic-politicians-not-to-present-themselves-for-holy-communion___________________________________________________________ 5. Pope to meet Canadian indigenous delegation in March, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, February 1, 2022 Delegations of Canadian bishops and indigenous communities will meet with Pope Francis at the end of March, after an initial December visit was cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant. According to a joint statement from the Canadian bishops’ conference and the indigenous communities who will participate, “the delegation to Rome to meet with Pope Francis, originally planned for December 2021, is now scheduled to take place at the end of March and early April of this year.” https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/02/pope-to-meet-canadian-indigenous-delegation-in-march___________________________________________________________ 6. Spain: Clergy abuse victims hopeful at signs to end impunity, By Aritz Parra, Associated Press, February 1, 2022, 12:11 PM After decades of neglect, victims of sexual abuse by the Spanish clergy say that they are finally seeing momentum building in their quest for real accountability and reparations. On Tuesday, Spanish lawmakers took the first step toward opening a parliamentary inquiry on the issue, a move that victims hail as a potential game-changer. Prosecutors are also stepping up efforts to dig deeper into existing and new allegations. And Spain’s left-to-center government is gauging whether to back the parliamentary probe or to launch another independent effort. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/spain-clergy-abuse-victims-hopeful-at-signs-to-end-impunity/2022/02/01/d743f2d2-837b-11ec-951c-1e0cc3723e53_story.html?___________________________________________________________

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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