In an article published by The Washington Times, TCA’s Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie outlines the dangers of prenatal testing and how it discriminates against “undesirable” traits. Christie writes:

“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.”

Read more of Dr. Christie’s piece at