Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2020-106218 (forthcoming)

Asking pregnant women to pay for non-invasive prenatal testing out of pocket leads to unequal access across socioeconomic strata. To avoid these social justice issues, first-trimester prenatal screening should be publicly funded in countries such as the Netherlands, with universal coverage healthcare systems that offer all other antenatal care services and screening programmes free of charge. In this reply, we offer three additional reasons for public funding of NIPT. First, NIPT may not primarily have medical utility for women and children, but rather offers relevant information and reproductive options, and thus serves important autonomy interests of women. Second, public funding of NIPT can be justified because it results in a reduction of collectively borne costs associated with care and support for children with chromosomal abnormalities. It is important to note that this is not an argument for individual women to take part in screening or to terminate an affected pregnancy. However, it is a legitimate argument in policy making regarding funding arrangements for screening programmes. Finally, public funding would help to amend current misunderstandings among pregnant women, and thus to support informed consent for first-trimester prenatal screening.
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2020-106218
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