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Local Obstetrician Takes On Santorum's Claims About Pre-Natal Testing

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some Philadelphia area obstetricians are disturbed by statements about pre-natal testing made over the weekend by presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Santorum said that amniocentesis results in abortion "more often than not." But physicians say otherwise.

"Amniocentesis is offered for a variety of reasons," said Doctor Jane Porcelan, president of the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, the country's oldest ob-gyn professional group.

She found Santorum's remarks about pre-natal testing, ill-informed, to say the least.

"I think Mr. Santorum is sorely misguided when he makes such generalizations," she said. "It's really an ignorant thing to say."

According to Porcelan, amniocentesis may actually improve infant health. It detects conditions that can be treated in utero or immediately upon delivery. But more often than not, she said, it detects a perfectly normal pregnancy.

"For many couples based on age they want additional reassurance and amnio is the only way they're going to get that reassurance," she added.

Porcelan said there are many factors to consider when getting amnio but it's a decision best left to doctor and patient.

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