Monday, April 30, 2007

Jerome LeJeune: discovered of Trisomy 21

On Jerome LeJeune,the man who discovered Trisomy 21:

Indeed, he is as likely to be recognised by the Church as much for his verbal defence of the human being -- in whatever condition -- as for his scientific work, since the one quickly became as necessary as the other. As he and colleagues turned his surgery at the Necker Hospital for Sick Children (Paris) into one of the largest cytogenetics centres in the world, studying more than 30,000 chromosomic cases and treating more than 9000 patients with genetically-linked intellectual disabilities, the medical profession became involved in a great betrayal, using the new science for prenatal diagnosis leading to abortion. By the 1990s as many as 90 per cent of Down's syndrome babies in Britain were deliberately aborted. Since 2003 every pregnant woman in Britain is offered a screening test whose main purpose is to make abortion possible.

This trend was a source of tremendous anguish for Lejeune and drove him to defend his patients publicly from what he called "chromosomic racism". This put him in demand as a speaker and expert witness for the pro-life movement -- adding to his already enormous workload of teaching, research and clinical work -- but led to his being ostracised by many of his peers. "Medicine has become mad," he said, "when it attacks the patient instead of fighting the disease. We must be on the patient's side, always."

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