Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Down Syndrome Tests May Increase Abortions

A couple of years back I had a young woman with Down syndrome in my American government class.

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.

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.
Read the whole thing, here.

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.

18 comments:

Trish said...

My younger sister is Down Syndrome. Probably the dearest person you will ever meet. My mother had her in 1965, and had no warning of her condition, other than the fact she was 48 at the time she gave birth to her. A nun who visited us to help us understand how to raise her said, "These children are living angels on earth."
When she was still a small child, a lady on Mom's bowling team said, "It's too bad you couldn't have had an abortion." The child was sitting there coloring quietly at the lanes, behaving better than any normal child would have done. My Mother said, "I don't think so at all. This little girl has brought so much joy to our home, and to any who have met her, I'd hate to think what the world would be like without her."
At 42 years old, that little girl, which she still is, still brings joy to the world. And I would hate to think what the world would be like without them, all of those living angels on earth.

Philippe Ohlund said...

You are a wonderful teacher, Donald! :-)

English is my third language, after Swedish and French.

I presently try to change employer.

So I had an appointment today at the beautiful city of Antwerp, Belgium, for language tests in English.

I got the excellent test result: "Very Advanced"! :-)

My father would never have believed this, when I still hanged in his nuts.

Without reading your blog everyday, I would never have got this excellent result.

Thanks, Donald! :-)

Tim said...

The liberal media wanted Palin to abort her child?

Who exactly?

Trish said...

Geez Tim, do you never give up?
In case you missed it in Donald's report of the events and the remark, here is what Barrone said when pressed about his comment "Sorry for that," Barone said. "I was trying to focus on press hostility to Palin. I agree with [Washington Post media reporter and CNN 'Reliable Sources' host] Howard Kurtz that the press was much more interested in tracking down negative information on Palin than Obama."

It was obviously meant as sarcasm, but one would have to wonder aloud, how many of the reporters, given their proclivity towards liberalism, would have been of a mind that Palin should have had an abortion? I would guess a high percentage think that she was foolish to have had a Down's baby, and that as her "choice", she was equally foolish in not aborting.

Donald Douglas said...

Trish: The fact that a bunch of reporters walked out is evidence to me that Barone was hitting way too close to home. It's well known that Trig Palin was major reason leftists attacked Palin. They'd abort a Downs baby, and the hate they fact that Palin chose life.

Tim said...

Donald: That is a gross exaggeration to say that the left would abort the baby. Abortion is something personal to everyone I've ever talked to. In fact, I would say that the majority opinion on the left is this: they support the right of choice, and to leave it to the individual. They may not do it themselves, but they don't agree with legislating a woman's choice away.

It's women's body, and her choice. I leave it at that. I am not "pro" abortion.

My only concern with Sarah Palin is that she is pretty ignorant in the ways of family planning/birth control. So ignorant, in fact, that she makes sure her teenage daughter only learns about reproductive choices through reality. Kind of like on the job training.

But to say that the left supports Palin aborting her baby, as a blanket statement, is wrong. The medical facts remain, if you are over 40, you have a much higher chance of Downs Syndrome baby. I know that Palin doesn't regret the decision to keep her kid, but she was also probably being a bit reckless and having unprotected sex.

I too have known some kids with Down syndrome and they are wonderful.

Jan said...

Donald..Trish is right in saying that these children are angels--there is something very special about them.

They are very loving, and trusting--totally without guile.

They are precious.

Thanks for this excellent piece.

JBW said...

As I've said before, looking into a candidate's past isn't attacking, it's due diligence. Obama ran for president for almost two years and was known on the national stage for at least twice as long; Palin ran for veep for about two months, and pretty much no one in the lower 48 had even heard of her prior to that. So yeah, there will be some looking into her past and life.

The left didn't dislike her because she had a Downs kid, and while making a blanket statement like "the leftists would abort a Downs baby" does indeed support your own narrative it smacks of the political hackery I wrote about in the comments of the previous post.

We dislike Palin because she's an incurious bimbo who used prejudice and anti-intellectualism to try to win this election; I direct you to a longer, more thought out diatribe to this effect here: http://brainrageblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/political-blinders.html

Donald Douglas said...

Tim:

"In fact, I would say that the majority opinion on the left is this: they support the right of choice, and to leave it to the individual."

Actually, the majority opinion is we couldn't care less about life. Unless you and your allies will denounce and STOP the killing of innocents, I'm convince you will burn in the eternal flames of damnation. Seriously.

Grace Explosion said...
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JBW said...

Grace Explosion, if you had proven yourself to be any kind of sane and rational thinker prior to this comment thread I would have merely laughed off your accusations of sexism as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on political correctness running rampant in our society but alas you've failed miserably to achieve even that.

If you want to tell me to eat shit then say "eat shit". The fact that you're a religious nutball is only compounded by your inability to speak like an adult to other adults on a political blog but I'll play your "cursing makes baby Jesus cry!" word games if it makes you happy: I also have something you can eat, and it's swinging between my legs. Now you can call me sexist.

Tim said...

Donald: I'm not the one killing innocents. I said I'm not imposing my will on the life of another woman. Simple as that.

And don't worry about me burning in hell buddy. I will have some nice long chats with W. That is if I am let in past the velvet rope that keeps people like Dick Cheney and Richard Nixon in their special VIP section.

In other words, even if I believed in fairy tales, it's not myself I worry about.

If the thought of me burning in eternal flames makes you feel better, you hang on to that. Whatever keeps you sane.

Donald Douglas said...

Tim: Why don't you denounce the killings? Backing the murder of innocents is evil, I genuinely believe.

repsac3 said...

Is it better not to know that a child--perhaps your child--may have Down's Syndrome, so that no one can make the choice to abort for this reason? Would it in fact be best to avoid all prenatal testing that could tell you about any incurable disease or condition, for the same reason?

Somhow, I just don't think so...

But for any who are morally opposed to such tests, I would think that you're not required to have them... If you really want to show your support for the pro-life movement, perhaps you should refuse to have them, and explain why to those medical professionals suggesting them. (If you're really lucky, perhaps they'll agree, and refuse to administer them to anyone anymore, seeing as how they now have that nifty "right of conscience" executive order in their back pockets...)

As far as abortion, and the parents of kids with down's syndrome & the choices they make, and Sarah Palin and her kids, and the issues they face...

People like to judge others, and the decisions they make. Everyone feels THEY know best, and anyone who doesn't make the choice they would make is wrong, or immoral, or foolish, or... well, whatever.

The fact is, parents do make mistakes, but I believe that the vast majority of 'em are doing what they believe is best for their children most of the time, including when they do something you would not do, or that can legitimately be called a mistake.

If you're seeking clarity in your own mind by imagining yourself in someone else's shoes to determine how you think you'd react, that's one thing... But to impugn their motives for doing the things they do as immoral or foolish on the basis that your morality or intellect would steer you to make another choice ignores one aspect; you are not them. To pretend that you are--except that you would know more, be more moral, & thus do better--is itself, a bit immoral & foolish.

I have no doubt that parents who know they are going to have a down's syndrome (or otherwise less than healthy, & incurable) child seek the advice of medical professionals, friends & family, and/or their spiritual advisors before deciding what to do, and that whatever they decide, they are acting in what they believe to be the best interests of their prospective child and their family.

To me, a lot of this is no better than backyard fence gossip, whether the person being attacked is Sarah Palin for keeping her Down's Syndrome child, or some other mother, who when faced with that same situation, chose to abort or adopt away hers. Both mothers likely loved their unborn children, and did what they felt was best for them and for their families. Just as Sarah wasn't thinking of how good it would look to the voters if she kept her child, the mother who aborts isn't thinking how lucky she is she gets to kill her unborn child (not even if she's a liberal.)

The same goes for Palin's pregnant teen daughter (or anyone else's, wherever they fall on the political or religious spectrum); those who choose life (prenatal or incurably infirm) and those who choose to terminate the life of someone they love; or either side of any other personal "family" issue...

While I agree that one can infer character from the choices one makes in such situations, one can also go way too far in judging others and their family situations... Perhaps it would be best if we all lived according to our own morals & intellect, and tried to encourage others to do the same, but didn't judge other people based on them.

Above, I come out in favor of more knowledge, rather than less... But perhaps as concerns this kinda gossip about the private lives of others, a bit less knowledge might be a good thing, if it slows the harsh judgments we make about others... (Besides, isn't judging man God's job?)

((& yes, I do realize that in criticizing those who judge the lives of others, I am judging others, myself... Life is full of such contradictions...))

Grace Explosion said...
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