One of the main arguments in favor of the widespread application of prenatal testing, accompanied by termination of pregnancy, is the idea that this will decrease the economic burden of genetic disease by reducing the life time costs of care for people with Down Syndrome.
However, if the same amount of resources were being used to help those with Down’s as are being used to help endangered pandas, then perhaps this idea of economic burden wouldn’t be a problem.
The San Diego zoo has spent an estimated $30 million on its panda program. Further north and east, Toronto is raising $20 million to bring two pandas from China to their zoo, while philanthropist David M. Rubenstein recently made a $4.5 million gift to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to fund a panda reproduction program. The reason for this generosity? “Because pandas make people happy.”
In comparison, the National Institutes of Health spent 20 million on Down Syndrome research in 2011, which was an 8 million dollar reduction in what was spent the year before.
It seems a disturbing sign of the times that the life of a panda is more desirable and more protected then the life of an unborn human child.