Political Issues Related to the New Science
(The following references to politics are a departure from the science-centered issues of the rest of this web site.)
Concerning Down Syndrome - What about the money, and fairness?
The choice to cary a Downs fetus to term is not exactly a private decision. It means also asking for a couple million dollars of tax payer money for support, and perhaps more given the recent doubling of Downs lifetimes that has been achieved by increased medical interventions. Politicians should be asked about the fairness of this in several ways. For instance:
1) Should all women be encouraged to have prenatal screening for Down syndrome? This would reduce cost to tax payers by some eight billion dollars per year, because most Downs deliveries are now by younger unscreened women, and because 80 % of women, if given a Downs diagnosis, have been choosing not to cary to term. The current rate of Down syndrome births is 1 in 800 amounting to nearly 6,000 new case per year and accruing promissory present value cost to government of about ten billion dollars each year.
2) Many mothers when given a Downs diagnosis of their fetus do choose to carry to term. There are no reports of any of them being pressured to change their decision, and more specifically, they are not threatened with removal of the federal funds they will need for support of their Down syndrome child. Those who do not want eugenic abortion get their wish, plus money. Wouldn't it be fair in return not to remove federal funds from US and world programs that support abortion for those who do want and need it?
3) Should some of the Downs support costs be shifted to private health insurance, as by requiring two levels of coverage in both public and in private plans? Premiums and coverage might be based on the answer of prospective customers for whether, if given early prenatal diagnosis, they would carry a highly defective fetuses to term.
4) Does predestined attrition and the 72% culling by nature of Down syndrome fetuses lend credence to those who choose not to cary a Down syndrome baby to term? Shouldn't voters know whether candidates agree or disagree with this new science morality and whether it would affect their legislative decisions?
Are There Other Non-Cary Conditions? What should be done about the following?:
1) High Multiple Pregnancies:
Triplets have a significant probability of malformation or disability. For quadruplets, likelihood that at least one will suffer blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy or mental retardation is up to 50 percent, and the chance of death or severe malformation is still higher for septuplets or octuplets. One mother chose to cary septuplets to term, the delivery cost alone being one million 2001 dollars. Should IVF clinics be required to cover most of the cost if they cause high multiple pregnancies?
Hermaphroditism is very rare, but when it does occur today's ultrasound can detect the presence of dual genitals. It is caused by the fusing of two separately fertilized embryos, the opposite of twinning. Hermaphrodites are likely to feel high emotional distress, a better known case that kept a diary committing suicide at age 25. It was not fun being able to have sex with either sex. // Hermophroditic twins reported recently in the medical literature were determined to have developed from the following sequence. First two separately fertilized embryos fused. Then this single embryo split. It was an IVF pregnancy being closely watched. The mother, when given prenatal ultrasound diagnosis, decided to cary to term.
3) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
Some 0.5 to 2 percent of pregnancies in the US involve fetal alcohol damage - a far higher incidence rate than high multiple pregnancies, Down syndrome and hermaphroditism combined. It can not be discerned in prenatal screening, so maternal random drug testing would have to be used to assess whether it is occurring or has occurred in the fetal stage. This would be opposed by many as invasion of privacy, but many mothers deny their alcohol or drug abuse and cary to term.
Birth Control Pills and Abortion:
Birth control pills are not designed to block implantation, but this might happen if a women is irregular about taking the pills, the same as being irregular with nursing. The science of birth control is often distorted in political political discussions.
Taxation Without Representation:
Can the social security payroll deduction be challenged by the younger generation as taxation without representation? The ones recently coming into the system or yet to enter it typically had nothing to do with passing the law that will be burdening them financially. Federal income tax is by now well established through the Supreme Court as constitutional, but the social security payroll deduction is not an income tax. It transfers wealth between age groups and pays for some of the above, with those to do the paying not represented in passage of the law.
References and Notes