To: House Judiciary Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: House Bill 1494 (Funding for Prenatal Genetic Testing)
Date: January 22, 2007

The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports House Bill 1494.

It is the long-standing policy of North Dakota not to compel its citizens to fund abortion through taxpayer or insurance premium dollars. House Bill 1494 would extend that policy to prenatal genetic tests which serve no purpose other than provide information to be used for deciding whether or not to abort an unborn child.

The bill does not prohibit prenatal genetic testing. Nor does it prohibit state or insurance coverage for prenatal genetic tests that are used as a precursor to treating the woman or the unborn child. It only restricts funding for prenatal testing for diseases for which there is no treatment.

Like abortion itself, prenatal genetic testing for conditions that cannot be treated is highly controversial. In addition to implicitly encouraging abortion, the practice raises serious moral and social issues concerning eugenics, discrimination against the disabled, cultural attitudes towards parents who chose not to abort, and society’s commitment to those who are different.

As it has with abortion, the state should ensure that people are not forced to financially support this practice with tax or insurance premium dollars.

We ask for a
Do Pass recommendation on House Bill 1494.