Mom horrified to see photo of daughter with Down syndrome on ad for prenatal testing
A mother of a young daughter with Down syndrome said she was “infuriated” when she unwittingly discovered that her daughter’s image was being used by a Swiss genetics testing company advertising an “early” and “accurate” prenatal testing kit. About 90 percent of parents who discover their pre-born baby has the non life-threatening genetic abnormality of Down syndrome choose abortion.
“To know that this happened infuriated me, but when I saw with my own eyes… her sweet face on that ugly banner, it broke my heart. While my girl courageously fights for her life, this company questions whether she has a life worth living. How dare they,” the mother Christie Hoos wrote on her blog.
Christie said she often writes on her blog about life with a Down syndrome child, but never uses her child’s name, and rarely posts photos.
“But once was all it took. Her photo was stolen. A beautiful shot of her face – one of my favourites, posted on a stock photo website and distributed for free,” she wrote.
The image of Christie’s daughter was then used by Genoma, a Swiss bio-medical company that specializes in genetic analysis and diagnostic testing. The company’s new test called Tranquility offers “detection of Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders” in an “accurate” and “early” method involving screening a blood sample from the mother.
According to Christie, the image appeared on the front page of the company’s website as well as in a building-sized banner in Spain. “There’s her face, larger than life,” the mother said. “My daughter has been made the poster child for a prenatal testing kit,” she wrote.
“Tranquility helps pregnant women to avoid unnecessary amniocentesis which has a risk of harming the unborn child,” he wrote.
But Genoma’s website featuring Tranquility boasts that the test can be taken as early as 10 weeks, which also happens to be a stage in the baby’s development where obtaining an abortion is easier for the mother and less costly. If the test happens to be positive, the company advises women to follow up with their health provider “in order to obtain more information.”
Pro-life activists have long decried the existence of an entrenched medical bias against pre-born babies with chromosomal abnormalities, which they say usually results in doctors advising parents to choose abortion as a ‘medical treatment’ for their baby instead of life.
Christie said that it’s no secret that genetic testing of unborn babies is carried out primarily for eugenic purposes, not for altruistic reasons or ‘parental preparedness’.
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