Hope to see blood test abolished

Last summer, Japan was getting ready to introduce a new type of prenatal examination that requires only a blood test. Recently I read the March 5 article “Down syndrome blood test draws interests and ire,” which prompted some doubts about this test. The blood test is an easy way to know whether a baby has a disability. Many women want to undergo this test because they worry about the child’s future if it has a disability; it might be discriminated against.

Also, it costs a lot of money to bring up a disabled child. Because of the heavy burden, it would be natural to expect the number of abortions to increase. To prevent this awful result, I think the system of prenatal examination with the blood test needs to be re-examined and that the Japanese government should take action to decrease the number of these prenatal exams.

The government should support disabled children’s families. First, the government should send a counselor around periodically to listen to a mother’s troubles. Easing her mind is most important. Next, the government should compensate families for the extra expenses in bringing up disabled children. It would help the family have a more stable life. Everyone who is born has the right to life.

natsumi doi
kashiwa, chiba

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • JTCommentor

    Your heartfelt message misses the point – the quality of life of the person in question and their family. Depending on the type, living with a disability or supporting a child with a disability can be a heartbreaking and painful experience every day of life. If a mother has a child with a disability, or someone acquires one, of course everything should be done to support that child and the family, and what a great society if the government also helps.

    But when the parent chooses to continue a pregnancy where theyknow the child has a disability, or closes their eyes and refuses to test for the disability, why should the government and taxpayers pay for their choice (through your suggestion)? And are you really suggesting that parents shouldnt even be able to choose, in saying that you hope for the blood test to be abolished? Taking away that choice (by abolishing the test), and forcing your moral view on everyone (that it is wrong to end a pregnancy where the child has a disability), is almost as horrible as the flip side of that, forcing parents to take the test.

    In a free society there is only one logical approach – maintain the test, make sure people are aware that it exists, provide information so that they can make an informed choice and be supportive of that choice.

  • 151E

    “Everyone who is born has the right to life.” Fair enough (ideally speaking). But the test in question is a prenatal test. Do potential parents not have a right to make an informed decision? Why should others have their families and their lives subject to the peculiarities of your own personal moral precepts?

  • What everyone deserves is the right to make life-changing decisions based on the most complete information available to them. To deliberately withhold information from prospective parents by blocking access to a cheap, simple and accurate test, merely because you don’t want them to make a decision you disapprove of, is unconscionably ignorant and cruel.