Aborting the "Imperfect" Seen as Cause for Less Research

Neonatologist Wonders Where the Children Are

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ROME, SEPT. 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- When we look around, we no longer see children with genetic diseases -- they are censured, sheltered or, most commonly, aborted, says a neonatologist in L'Osservatore Romano.

Carlo Bellieni wrote a report for the Vatican's semi-official daily last week called "The Elimination of the Imperfect."

"We note it by looking around us; we no longer see 'imperfect' children, marked by genetic diseases," observed Bellieni. "Censured by the media, sheltered by their families from a society that no longer accepts them (…) but above all aborted," these children "are systematically detected before being born and, once identified, they are often banned from being born."

"What is grave," the doctor stated, "is that this screening and selection no longer surprises us: it's the norm."

In France, 96% of babies with Down’s syndrome are aborted, noted the neonatologist. And he cited a Parisian official who recently said in Parliament: The real question I ask myself is why does the 4% remain?

Bellieni said the push to abort children with genetic conditions reflects a society that is unable to accept differences, as well as "families' sense of shame, feeling that they are outside the genetic law, and keep the sick child within domestic walls."

Spending unwisely

The specialist also pointed to another consequence of "prenatal selection and social marginalization."

"It impedes research on therapy," he said.

"If there was an economic investment to cure genetic diseases" as considerable as "the one established to prevent the birth of the sick, notable progress would be obtained," the doctor asserted.

Bellieni added that "diseases are certainly not desirable, but they must not make the sick person himself undesirable."

"And in a world marked by fear," he reflected, "the search for imperfection and elimination of the 'imperfect' patient becomes an ordinary social norm that everyone knows about, a trivializing of evil that no longer seems to bother anyone."