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A Clarification on the Jerome Lejeune Foundation’s Position on Prenatal Screening

After a recent posting of an article on our Facebook page, some have questioned the Jerome Lejeune Foundation’s commitment to opposing the use of prenatal screening that leads to the elimination of people with Down syndrome. The post may have also led some to believe that the Jerome Lejeune Foundation has funded the development of cell-free DNA testing. 

The Jerome Lejeune has never funded the development of these tests, and consistently and vigorously opposes the development of prenatal tests and state sanctioned prenatal screening programs that have as their purpose the elimination of people with Down syndrome and any other disease or disability. We apologize if some were misled by the statement that accompanied the Facebook post.

The story we posted was published online by NPR on April 26 and presented the history of the development of cell-free DNA testing, or so-called noninvasive prenatal testing.

We posted this article mainly because it is a caricatural and horrific historical account of the development of a technology that continues to destroy the Down syndrome community, and knowledge of history makes us wiser in our mission to protect those we love.

When Dr. Jerome Lejeune realized that his discovery of the genetic origin of Down syndrome would be used to develop prenatal diagnosis leading to abortion, he was devastated. Dr. Lejeune described this eradication of unborn babies based on chromosomal abnormality as “chromosomal racism”. Following after Jerome Lejeune, the Lejeune Foundation has always vigorously opposed prenatal screening which in the present-day inevitably leads a eugenic elimination of people with Down syndrome. That is why in 2012 the Foundation led a European effort called Stop Eugenics Now to oppose the so-called ''right'' to abort a child with Down syndrome.

In a perfect world, prenatal screening would NEVER be used for the purpose of eliminating people with Down syndrome, but solely to welcome a child with disability. But, we are far from a perfect world. We are in a world where prenatal screening has been responsible for a 30% reduction in the population of those living with Down syndrome in the U.S. since the mid-1970s. That is why the Lejeune Foundation reiterates its position against prenatal screening.

Last February 2016 Jean Marie Le Méné published a book untitled “Les premières victimes du transhumanisme” to denounce NIPT. In this book, Jean-Marie Le Méné is demonstrating that the first stage of transhumanism is to eliminate babies with disabilities (firstly babies with Down syndrome). After this eradication of persons with disabilities, the second stage is to alter and “increase” human beings. Prenatal screening and abortion of babies with Down syndrome are the first stage of the transhumanist drift.

Jean-Marie Le Méné was especially stressing the financial and commercial interests of Down syndrome prenatal screening. Financial interest because abortion is less expensive for the State than taking care of persons with disabilities. Commercial interests because NIPT is a very lucrative worldwide market for pharmaceutical firms and labs.

Cell-free DNA screening tests are unique in that they are medical tests that provide no medical benefit. It can be argued, therefore, that their primary purpose is to identify babies with Down syndrome (and a growing list of other disabilities) so that their parents have to face a choice which leads most of the time to abortion. This is a horrific human tragedy that we are bound to oppose. Therefore, the Jerome Lejeune Foundation vigorously opposes and reiterates its position against the use of NIPT in our eugenic societies where the medicine is selective and women’s freedom is pressured. 

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