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The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation alerts the French authorities on the new diagnostic test for Down syndrome

Published on 08/27/2013 in Press releases

 

Jean-Marie Le Méné, President of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation launches an alert in an article published on the website Atlantico, “New technique for the diagnosis of Down syndrome: the interest of laboratories is not that of the patient!”

Jean-Marie Le Méné, President of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation launches an alert in an article published on the website Atlantico, “New technique for the diagnosis of Down syndrome: the interest of laboratories is not that of the patient!”

A new technique for the diagnosis of Down syndrome – made directly from the blood of the mother – now spreading throughout Europe and soon to be released in France. Presented as progress, it actually entails serious human and ethical consequences.

In European countries where this new technique is already in use (Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland), policy makers and public health organisations, associations for the defence of the rights of persons with disabilities have expressed their deep concern on this issue. France must take note of the problem.

This new technique is the subject of a particularly lucrative strategic market, since it concerns the whole of the female population wishing to procreate. However a distorted communication has a tendency to confuse marketing of laboratory with scientific information.

The first sales argument is based on the 100% reliability of the new technique, which would have the advantage of targeting only the abnormal babies. Actually it would save on amniocentesis, which account for 1% of miscarriages. In other words, the progress cited is based on a principle of discrimination, which holds that the lives of the normal are worth more than those of the abnormal. Claiming that screening for Down syndrome will soon be "less dangerous" signifies that death is only dangerous for healthy babies. For those who are imperfect, it is their destiny!

The second sales argument is to say that freedom of choice of the mother will always be guaranteed. But for fifteen years, the curve of interruptions of Down syndrome pregnancies follows precisely that of the screening. The more there is screening, the fewer Down syndrome births there are. Today 96% of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are already eliminated. This percentage is not a symbol of freedom. The incentive effect of the offer of screening and the pressure it entails are obvious. Its economy also: we do not track if one wants to keep their baby. Why would we want to further improve a "performance" of 96%?

The combination of these two arguments leads to the following result: we only eliminate abnormal babies, but we eliminate them all.

Added to this result is an absolutely new situation related to the early stage of the diagnosis. It may be performed at a time when abortion is still possible. Since women do not have to provide a reason, the causes for these selective abortions remain unknown, which is not the case of medical abortions today. Added to the extermination of babies with Down syndrome is the assassination of their memory. They will be victims of silent undetectable eugenics.

The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, recognised as a public interest entity, has created the largest study of those affected by Down syndrome and is the leading funder of research on Down syndrome from a therapeutic perspective. It urges the health authorities who will have to decide on this new screening to consider several questions:

  • How many hundreds of millions of Euros / year has the cost of widespread screening for Down syndrome already cost and by how much will it continue to cost in the future for Social Security? Why has therapeutic research for this condition not been funded at the same level?
  • The unreliability (serum markers and ultrasound) and the risks inherent in the practice of invasive procedures (amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling) current screenings are used to promote the new test. But what were the health warnings on these risks, known for fifteen years?
  • The CPDPN (multidisciplinary prenatal diagnosis centres) automatically issue permits for interruption of pregnancy in cases of Down syndrome. This systematisation does not match their own mission. Why are they still licensed by the biomedicine Agency? What control do they assume in this area?
  • Some practitioners belonging to the public service will be both proponents of the new screening and advisers of the participating laboratories that manufacture and market the new test. Where is the transparency of remuneration and independence of judgment?

Read online in Atlantico

 


 

Press contact : Guenièvre Brandely - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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