Throwaway culture becomes easier with quicker pre-natal tests for Down Syndrome
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Thailand's Department of Medical Science (DMSC) has developed a test kit that makes it easier and faster to diagnose Down syndrome. The goal is to reduce the number of affected newborn.
The kit should be available six months from now. It will allow women who are between 5 and 12 week pregnant to carry out amniocentesis and have the results within 48 hours.
A source told AsiaNews that this new technique reinforces “the throwaway culture in Thailand where abortion is now easily accessible.”
Every year, some 45,000 Thai women apply for a Down Syndrome test. Because of staff shortages in the Thailand’s healthcare system, this can be done only on 25,000 patients, and results can take up to six months before they are available. The new test kit cuts down on the time and can thus meet demand.
DMSC Director Dr Apichai Mongkol said that parents do not have complete confidence in the results of the old method and are therefore reluctant to consider abortion. With the new kit, women will have fast and reliable results, and will be in the best position to decide whether to abort or not.
A Catholic source told AsiaNews that "abortion is becoming increasingly easy in Thailand. It is no longer even called abortion and even the fetus is called a 'blood clot', which one discard at will."
"In reality, the law officially allows abortion only in cases of severe fetal handicap or risk to the mother,” said two women. “However, many clinics perform illegal abortions."
In 2010, there were about 800,000 births in Thailand. Miscarriages range between 96,000 and 120,000, which leaves 120,000-144,000 abortions. Out of these, only some 10,000 or under 10 per cent are legal.
Last year, an Australian couple left baby Gammy with his surrogate Thai mother, because he had Down syndrome, instead of taking him with his sister, who was born without disabilities.
In 2011, the discovery of 2,002 aborted fetuses set for cremation near a Buddhist temple in central Bangkok sparked a major controversy.