God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Breathtaking and Heartbreaking

90 percent of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion.

When I was in college I worked a couple of summers as a counselor at a camp for the developmentally disabled. My ex also has a sister, Karla, who was born with a mental handicap. I've seen, and heard from his parents, how hard it can be to raise a child with her needs. Of course I can't imagine what it would be like as a parent to find out your child was going to be born with such an affliction, but I also can't imagine not having known and loved the children at that camp or Karla.

There is a positive note in the article:
Convinced that more couples would choose to continue their pregnancies if they better appreciated what it meant to raise a child with Down syndrome, a growing group of parents are seeking to insert their own positive perspectives into a decision often dominated by daunting medical statistics and doctors who feel obligated to describe the difficulties of life with a disabled child.

They are pressing obstetricians to send them couples who have been given a prenatal diagnosis and inviting prospective parents into their homes to meet their children. In Massachusetts, for example, volunteers in a “first call” network linking veteran parents to new ones are now offering support to couples deciding whether to continue a pregnancy.

The parent evangelists are driven by a deep-seated fear for their children’s well-being in a world where there are fewer people like them. But as prenatal tests become available for a range of other perceived genetic imperfections, they may also be heralding a broader cultural skirmish over where to draw the line between preventing disability and accepting human diversity.
Have mercy on us God.

2 comments:

airforcewife 5/09/2007 07:41:00 AM  

This really is so sad. My niece was born with severe disabilities, and she was the most beautiful child.

Laura 5/10/2007 11:04:00 AM  

Unless the mother gets a genetic test, she should never, ever abort a child presumed to have Down Syndrome based on an ultrasound alone. My friend was told the kid had Down Syndrome based on the ultrasound and was encouraged by the doctor to abort her. The mother refused. The little girl was born and - guess what? - ABSOLUTELY FINE! NOTHING wrong with her! She looks exactly like the dad! My friend found out AFTER this that the ultrasound-only Down's diagnosis does not even have a FIFTY PERCENT reliability!

Unbelievable.

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