The Surprising Way To Shift The Abortion Debate: Science

While in my life I am personally pro-life, I also have friends and family that I love who are not.  I do not spend my days believing I can’t love and cherish these people even though we don’t agree on abortion.

The upside for the pro life movement is that they should recognize they’re winning. 7 out of 10 people support restrictions on late term abortions.  Wendy Davis’s campaign appears to be spontaneously aborting.  New technology is making it evident that what you believed in your heart is very true in images that are undeniably human babies.

The downside for the pro-life movement is that they often miss shifting the argument because they prioritize complete mental alignment over convincing more people of their point of view by varying tactics to address each different person’s reason for being pro-choice.

I’d like to offer up that in many ways hard facts and scientific advancement have done more often than demanding that people see the world from your exact point of view.  I apologize ahead of time for this assertion but bear with me.

  • Sonogram advancements have revealed amazing photos of your child even before their first class picture.
  • Expansion of Plan B abortifacients happened in the absence of science.  The mean age of women tested for safety and efficacy was 27.  It’s an entirely political decision without the hard evidence of proven safety and efficacy necessary to expand this pill to children without adult consent.
  • Many Pro-Choice women never have an abortion but fear needing one. They aren’t monsters and don’t want to get an abortion but face it they don’t see the issue the way you do, if they did, they’d be pro life already.
  • The majority of laws in many modern EU countries effectively ban abortion after 12 weeks.
  • Genetic testing until recently didn’t provide effective results using non invasive methods for genetic testing of many chromosomal abnormalities.  In fact the standard blood test is not particularly accurate and requires an invasive amniocentesis to confirm which can also harm the baby.
  • New tests are available that have improved accuracy as early at 10weeks. “The MaterniT21 PLUS test sensitivity ranges from 99.1% for Trisomy 21; >99.9% for Trisomy 18; and 91.7% for Trisomy 13, while maintaining a very low false positive rate (95% CI – 96.3–99.8%; 92.4-100%; and 59.7-99.6% respectively).”
  • The false positive rate of these new tests are less than 1% compared to the 5% of the current standard and provide final results as early as 1o weeks.
  • To those that worry this will lead to more abortions for Down Syndrome children, keep in mind early detection is critical to scientific work by Doctors who are looking to cure or treat Down’s patients in the womb.

“Dr. Bianchi is now most excited by the prospect of treating a Down syndrome fetus before birth to minimize the disorder’s neurological effects. Studies have shown that giving pregnant mice medication that counters fetal oxidative stress results in more normal brain development of pups with Down syndrome.”

On this point, many women may not be aware that there are new blood tests on the market now that have real data pointing to their ability to confirm chromosomal abnormalities as early as 10 weeks.   Right now states like California are still mandating Doctors tell you about the California State blood test that is less effective but the State of California gets to do the testing  and therefore the billing.  Not to mention the subtle creepiness of the State collecting the blood of every pregnant woman in California. This is still the default care in California despite this new superior test being invented by a company in San Diego.  A patient has to waive her right to the other test and request the more accurate test despite medical superiority.  The way the conversation goes with the Doctor because of the legal requirements, most women if eligible would just end up having both tests and consume more healthcare dollars for no logical reason. Maternity21 blood test is noninvasive and can be used at 10 weeks to confirm genetic abnormalities in your child with a higher accuracy rate than the test the State pushed on pregnant women in California.

Directly from the manufacturer. These are the approved claims they can make based on the data provided to agencies and doctors.

The MaterniT21 PLUS test has the lowest published and commercial non-reportable results rates to date. The unmatched performance of the MaterniT21 PLUS test means your patients can avoid retesting or potentially an unnecessary invasive procedure due to non-reportable results rates.

Clinical indications for testing.

Consistent with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists / Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine joint committee opinion, noninvasive prenatal testing is indicated for pregnant women at increased risk for fetal aneuploidy. The MaterniT21 PLUS test was validated with a population of pregnant women at increased risk for fetal chromosomal aneuploidies.

We offer this test for increased risk pregnancies with one or more of the following conditions:

Advanced maternal age

Personal or family history of chromosomal abnormalities

Fetal ultrasound abnormality suggestive of aneuploidy

Positive serum screening test

One could speculate about the conflict of interest when the state gets to mandate specific medical treatments and there happens to be money to be made whether women are being presented with fair choices.  Furthermore, one could look at the varying reimbursement guidance because this is a new test and argue that this is an actual war on women if access to this new test is being denied or simply not offered to women who are not of “advanced maternal age”.

There is no reason maternal age impacts the ability of the test to detect fetal DNA, yet that guidance persists. There are also reimbursement challenges that make no sense when you account for the true cost of an inferior blood test and an amnio needed to confirm likely is a higher cost and risk burden. It depends on what you think health care is for.

Rationing care based on cost often leads to a false preference for older, cheaper technology that is either less safe or less effective. There’s a lesson in there for people on a broader case for heath care but, lets talk about this war on women.

Fetal DNA tests “are not widely covered by insurance.” Prices for the tests range from about $800 to more than $2,000, although some companies offer “introductory pricing” specials at about $200.”

There is a nice meeting of a real war on women, access to medical care, state overreach in prescribing and limited health care access resulting in rationed care,  and the ability to shift risk determination in an earlier window in a pregnancy that would benefit the pro-life movement. It all depends on whether you want to find new ways to talk to Americans who aren’t aligned with your party or views.

Deep down, I truly believe there’s a conservative to wake up in almost everyone. The key is finding the language to jar recognition.

My question to the ardent pro–lifer who thinks by suggesting alternate ways to shift the baseline of support to the pro-life side, you are undermining the cause:

Is it more important that people see the world exactly your way or is it more important that one more person chooses to give life to her baby?

To those who insist it’s not a baby till it’s born despite all of the scientific evidence:

If it’s not human, what species is it?  Because…

In fairness to free markets and competition there are many companies working on offering fetal DNA tests. If you are interested, Verinata is also an option.

The author is in no way endorsing Maternity21 over any other alternative fetal DNA screening test.