A Glenhope woman, Marie Pascoe, has raised serious objections against the antenatal screening for Down syndrome as she believes that in the absence of an education program, the screening gives parents an unfair representation of the genetic condition.
Reports suggest that causing a range of intellectual and physical disabilities, this genetic condition affects one baby born every week in New Zealand.
In the wake of this alarming situation, Pascoe is of the opinion that parents are not being educated properly about this condition and its implications.
A Quality Improvements Program for antenatal screening for Down syndrome was introduced by the government last year which focused on all pregnant women in the first trimester. Initial treatments included a blood test and an ultrasound of the fetus and later they were given more invasive testing to determine the risk of Down syndrome.
Health Ministry child and youth health Chief Adviser Dr. Pat Touchy said, “It is government policy that all pregnant women should be offered the choice to participate in antenatal screening for Down syndrome and other conditions. Women will choose to participate in screening, or not, based on their own values, beliefs and experiences”.