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The Pre-natally and Post-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act (PPDCAA), which proposes to offer information and services for expectant and young mothers of handicapped children, was signed into US federal law in October.

The law is an attempt to address the dramatic plunge in births of children with genetic defects, since widespread access to pre-birth genetic screening has encouraged abortions of babies with Down syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, and other conditions.

Among Down syndrome babies the abortion rate is estimated to be as high as 90 percent.

The law requires that expectant mothers be provided with adequate prognoses of their babies’ life expectancies, possible medical conditions resulting from their primary condition, and adoption options.

Follow up care is also required, following the births of babies with genetic abnormalities.

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Sam Brownback and Ted Kennedy, a most unlikely coalition. Brownback is known for his strong pro-life stance, while Kennedy has long been a leading advocate of abortion rights.

However, the two ideological opponents united to pass the law, says prominent bioethicist Wesley Smith, “to prevent parents from being subtly or expressly pushed in making decisions about their genetically disabled child.”

Some pro-abortion activists, however, are skeptical about the benefits of the law. Diana Gray, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University Medical School, told that providing un-requested information about adoption to pregnant women might make the doctor appear “biased” and “judgmental.” Gray also suggests that there are not many families who would want to adopt children with genetic conditions.

However, the evidence suggests otherwise.

As STLtoday reports, there are currently more families trying to adopt children with Down syndrome than there are babies with the condition to be adopted.

[Jonquil Frankham, 11Nov08,]