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Pro-Life News in Brief.

Prenatal Diagnoses Lead to More Abortions in Canada

A drop in infant mortality in Canada can be attributed in large part to a huge increase in abortions of unborn babies diagnosed with birth defects, according to a study published in the March 27 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Shiliang Liu, an epidemiologist with the Center for Healthy Human Development (a division of Health Canada in Ottawa), led the study. The team found that abortions taking place between the 20th and 21st week of pregnancy, the time when amniocentesis or other prenatal diagnostic tests are performed, rose 578 percent from 1991 to 1998. Overall abortion rates during this time were stable, and even showed slight declines, the CBC reported.

According to Dr. I. D. Rusen of Health Canada, the drop in infant deaths does not mean that fewer babies are conceived with disabilities. "They still were occurring for the most part," he told the CBC, "it's just that the pregnancies were ending once the diagnosis was made."

Parents of children born with disabilities said that they were saddened that so many special children were being killed before they had the chance to live. Bonetta Sanchez, mother of nine-year-old Eduardo, who has Down syndrome, told the CBC, "Raising a child with special needs has the same joys and challenges of the typically developing child."

Wisconsin Court Upholds Infant's Right to Live

The 1st District Court of Appeals in Wisconsin dismissed a "wrongful life" lawsuit filed by the parents of a five-year-old boy with multiple disabilities. The court's May 28 decision upheld the right of infants to receive lifesaving care, with the exception of infants in a "persistent vegetative state," UPI reported.

Nancy Montalvo and Brian Vila sued St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee in 1999, charging that Wisconsin's informed consent law required doctors to tell them about the risks of disability from performing an emergency Caesarean section to deliver their baby at 24 weeks' gestation. Their son Emanuel weighed less than 1.4 pounds at birth and has several neurological disorders, according to the court.

The appeals court, upholding a lower court decision, ruled that since Wisconsin law would not have allowed Emanuel's parents to order his treatment withheld, the doctors' only option was to treat the baby and save his life. Even if they had told Montalvo and Vila all the possible outcomes of the premature delivery, the doctors would still have given Emanuel the same treatment. "Failure to treat was tantamount to a death sentence," the appeals court wrote.

The court asserted that Wisconsin law usually considers life to be "in the best interests of a patient," and described the nightmare legal ramifications if Montalvo and Vila's lawsuit were upheld.

"If the parents' claim is allowed to proceed, courts will be required to decide which potential imperfections or disabilities are, as characterized in appellant's brief, `worse than death,'" the court wrote.>EN
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Article Details
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Author:Townsend, Liz
Publication:National Right to Life News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Words:486
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