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A quick look at the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act

Posted in Politics, Support services by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on September 20, 2008

Patricia Bauer is reporting that the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, which is designed to provide information to prospective parents of children with disabilities, has failed to gain the consent of the Senate.

There seems a good chance that this Act will come again (unless my knowledge of the US political system has failed me), so it’s a good time to review what it’s all about. I’ve been meaning to do that for ages anyway.

The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act is also known as S.1810 and Kennedy-Brownback is designed to “require that families who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other condition, pre-natally or up until a year after birth, will be given up-to-date information about the nature of the condition and connection with support services and networks that could offer assistance.”

I have seen it described as a Pro-Life bill, although I think that is misleading. It seems to me to be pro-information and doesn’t seek to influence how that information should be acted on, as far as I can tell. The purposes are:

“(1) increase patient referrals to providers of key support services for women who have received a positive diagnosis for Down syndrome, or other prenatally or postnatally diagnosed conditions, as well as to provide up-to-date information on the range of outcomes for individuals living with the diagnosed condition, including physical, developmental, educational, and psychosocial outcomes;

(2) strengthen existing networks of support through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and other patient and provider outreach programs; and

(3) ensure that patients receive up-to-date, evidence-based information about the accuracy of the test.”

It’s also worth noting that the version that was put forward in April is a lot less strident than the one put forward in 2007.

The bill failed this week to get the unanimous support of the Senate it required. Patricia Bauer reports that “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), speaking on behalf of the Senate leadership, raised objections to the bill being brought up alone rather than with other bills that were blocked in July.”

The bill is caught up in some political maneuvering that I can’t be bothered to go into but it seems the powers that be don’t want it considered on its own. Bauer explains it here and links to news of a potential breakthrough here.

It would certainly be unfortunate if this bill was to get completely derailed by political power-plays. I’ve looked at it as cynically as I can and I can’t see anything controversial about it. It’s a shame we don’t have a similar bill going through the motions here in the UK.

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One Response

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  1. […] For more details on the act, which is designed to “require that families who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other condition, pre-natally or up until a year after birth, will be given up-to-date information about the nature of the condition and connection with support services and networks that could offer assistance.”, see this recent post. […]


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