She was the sweetest young woman you'd ever want to meet. Her condition was mild, and she had a wonderful way about herself and her abilities. She would often stay after class and ask me to look over her lecture notes to see if she got everything down. She wrote a perfectly fine news analysis notebook - the term-paper assignmnent for the course - and she wound up doing better in the class than a number of the coolsters and hip-hoppers who would drag their tails to class every day 20 minutes past the hour.
I never really thought much of it. My young student was more conscientious and polite than most young people I meet. It was my pleasure to have her in the class.
Thus, I was very disturbed to read this story on the new screening tests available for expecting mothers, tests that have pro-life adocates worried that even more Downs syndrome babies will be terminated:
Beth Allard was recovering from labor, waiting for a hospital photographer to capture her newborn son's first day in the world, when a pediatrician walked into her room and told Allard her life was ruined. Allard might have expected as much from a doctor, given what she'd already heard from others in the previous few months: little Ben, who had tested positive in utero for Down syndrome, would be mute and illiterate, they said; he would spend his life hanging off her, drooling. The pediatrician was harsher: "You should consider putting him up for adoption," she said. "You're going to end up divorced. Don't even bother having any other children. Didn't you have the option to terminate?" Finally, the pediatrician left, and Allard resumed her wait for the photographer. He never came.Read the whole thing, here.
Ben Allard is now 9, and it's hard to understand why doctors were convinced he would be such a burden. He's a friendly, witty kid who's happily enrolled in third grade at a regular school. He does, says Beth, "all the things they told us he wouldn't be doing, and more." She shudders when she thinks about how wrong the doctors turned out to be: she almost took their advice and ended her pregnancy.
I have to confess I get a little emotional reading stories like this, which seem to be way too frequent amid this growing culture of death that's taken over today's Democratic left. The article cites a 2000 survey of pediatricians that found 1-of-4 doctors encouraging their patients to abort their pregnancies. This reminds me of Michael Barone's comments on why the media attacked Governor Sarah Palin so viciously: "The liberal media attacked Sarah Palin because she did not abort her Down syndrome baby ... They wanted her to kill that child ... "
One of my very best blogging buddies sent this website along, theupsideofdowns.org. Please take a moment to think more about families with this kind of love. I do not know the difficulties parents face raising a child with Downs syndrome. I do know that they should not be coerced into killing their babies.