Page 6, 1st May 1998

1st May 1998
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Page 6, 1st May 1998 — If you scan the baby: be aware
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If you scan the baby: be aware

I WOULD LUCE TO congratulate Bess Twiston Davies on her excellent article "Antenatal tests used to bully women" (3 April). She is right to say that scans are offered as part of routine ante-natal care and that most women are unaware that they could refuse this test.

In September, 1996, I attended a symposium on ante-natal screening organised by the Birth Control trust, at which doctors openly admitted that while the use of ultrasound is near universal, formal consent to use it as a method of screening is rarely sought. Most women are enthusiastic about scans because they do not realise that they are not screening in the way that, for example, blood tests do.

I was horrified when I heard this, as I had had an ultrasound scan myself in 1995

during my first pregnancy, not realising it could have been the first step towards pressure to have an abortion.

During my current pregnancy I again opted to have an ultrasound scan at 19 weeks in order to see my baby and to reassure myself about his or her development. But this time I was aware of the possibilities of the hidden agenda.

Mrs Katherine Hampton 7imbridge Wells, Kent

THE ANTE—NATAL tests that Bess Twiston Davies so ably described are, as she said, designed largely to enable handicapped pre-born babies to be aborted. They also enable a mother to be reassured that her baby is healthy, or, if not, to prepare herself to give birth to a child who may need special help for years to come.

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