Prenatal testing leads to row in the Netherlands

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 04 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1187
  1. TONY SHELDON, freelance journalist
  1. Utrecht

    A public debate has erupted in the Netherlands over the ethics of prenatal diagnostic testing since it was reported that two abortions were carried out last year after tests showed a hereditary disorder causing blindness.

    In an interview for the evangelical broadcasting company a clinical geneticist at the prestigious Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre, Professor Liesbeth Bleeker-Wagemakers, explained that in the past two years 10 parents had had prenatal tests because of the possibility of serious hereditary eye disorders.

    Two parents had chosen abortions after positive results of tests for retinitis pigmentosa, a disorder in which adults are likely to become blind in middle age. One woman, from a family in which half her uncles and nephews became …

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