Monday, October 24, 2005

The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have

"Prenatal testing is making your right to abort a disabled child more like 'your duty' to abort a disabled child."

A remarkable editorial in the Washington Post, written by a mother of a child with Down syndrome.
Whenever I am out with Margaret, I'm conscious that she represents a group whose ranks are shrinking because of the wide availability of prenatal testing and abortion. I don't know how many pregnancies are terminated because of prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome, but some studies estimate 80 to 90 percent.

Imagine. As Margaret bounces through life, especially out here in the land of the perfect body [California], I see the way people look at her: curious, surprised, sometimes wary, occasionally disapproving or alarmed. I know that most women of childbearing age that we may encounter have judged her and her cohort, and have found their lives to be not worth living.

To them, Margaret falls into the category of avoidable human suffering. At best, a tragic mistake. At worst, a living embodiment of the pro-life movement. Less than human. A drain on society. That someone I love is regarded this way is unspeakably painful to me.
"People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on." To put it bluntly, many pro-choicers "while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families."

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