U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) celebrated Senate passage of the Pre-natally and Post-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, legislation which would require that families who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other condition, pre-natally or up until a year after birth, be given up-to-date information about the nature of the condition and connection with support services and networks that could offer assistance.
"I am very pleased that the legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Kennedy and me passed the Senate," said Brownback. "This bill will greatly benefit expecting parents who receive the sometimes overwhelming news that their unborn child may be born with a disability. This legislation will provide parents with current and reliable information about the many options available for caring for children with disabilities." The Pre-natally and Post-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act would provide for the expansion and further development of a national clearinghouse on information for parents of children with disabilities, so that the clearinghouse would be better equipped to assist parents whose children have recently been pre- or post-natally diagnosed. The bill also provides for the expansion and further development of national and local peer-support programs. The bill also calls for the creation of a national registry of families willing to adopt children with pre- or post-natally diagnosed conditions.
"One of the hardest moments in the life of an expectant mother is when she receives news that she is going to have a child with special needs," said Melissa Wagoner, spokeswoman for Senator Kennedy. "Access to the best support and information about the condition, and the quality of life for a child born with that condition, can make all the difference to a woman trying to make an informed and difficult decision. Senator Kennedy believes this kind of support is a vital element to strengthening a true culture of life in America."
Currently, 90 percent of children pre-natally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. That percentage is similar for children pre-natally diagnosed with other conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism.