When a pregnancy is under way, doctors can detect certain kinds of disorders, but neither amniocentesis nor any other prenatal test can currently tell us whether a fetus will become autistic. Suppose that such a test did exist. “The best case use of a prenatal test at the moment would be if you could say to a parent, your child has got an 80 percent likelihood of autism and so once the baby's born, we would like to keep a close eye on that child in case they need extra support like speech therapy or social skills training or some sort of behavioral approach,” says leading autism scientist Simon Baron-Cohen. But would the “best case use” be the most common? When amniocentesis indicates Down Syndrome, most mothers choose abortion. A study of autism parents in Taiwan found that just over half would abort if a prenatal test indicated that their next child would be autistic. We cannot be sure what the figures would be if such tests were available in the United States, but it seems likely that a large share of autism pregnancies would end in abortion.At The Huffington Post, Kim Bellware reports on a ruling concerning an Indiana law that would have prevented such abortions.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky [PPINK] to prevent the regulation from taking effect Friday on the grounds the law was unconstitutional and invaded women’s privacy.
Pratt’s order cited Monday’s major U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down restrictions in a Texas abortion law.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) in March signed a controversial law that imposed new regulations and restrictions on abortion, including a so-called anti-discrimination clause. Indiana and North Dakota are the only states that have laws banning abortion for issues like genetic abnormality.
Indiana University joined the PPINK lawsuit over a provision of the law that sought to control how fetal tissue was transferred and disposed of.
The university, which conducts research on conditions like autism and Alzheimer’s using fetal tissue, argued that a professor transferring out of state with their research would be unable to do so without committing a felony under the law.