All sorts of uncomfortable, painful, and angry feelings rise up in me when I think about this issue. It really has no argument against it. My child WILL cost more money to keep alive then the average born human, both out of my pocket and out of our tax payers pockets. When I hear doctors and government officials and educated people handing out reasons for abortion after a prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome who try to convince people that this child will be a burden on a family, I see the bull written all over their face. I know they are smart enough to have seen the statistics... statistics such as couples with a child with Down syndrome have a lower divorce rate then the national average, that people with Down syndrome love their lives, that siblings claim to be better people because of their sibling with Ds, that people with Ds live long lives, that many people with Ds graduate from high school, attend college course, have fulfilling jobs and are contributing members to society ( too many links to prove this then I could possibly account for). No, when they say burden, its dollar signs they are seeing. Even the healthiest of healthy children with Down syndrome require higher medical care just to make sure they are healthy. The therapy, the special classes and tutors and helpers the schools put in place. That's what they are talking about when they say burden... except they coat it with how bad life will be for you, you unlucky parent who is going to have an awesome kid you love more then your own life.
But how can I expect our government, which has no moral bone in its body ( don't let them fool you, its all a show for power and money) do anything for the good of human kind? Eugenics is a slippery slope, but I do not think we will ever let it get to the point of getting rid of people who are already "living" by the definition of our government. Remember, they like to be perceived as moral. No Spartianistic future here if we continue to act like a moral country. But as long as we can falsely make a fetus' life not real life, morally, we feel we are justified. And we are told we are justified because this fetus, if we let it live, it will have a miserable, pathetic life as well as you and your family. The reality is that with time and money, that fetus can live a long, healthy, fulfilling life. It all boils down to the money.
I do strongly feel that if we keep pushing for genetic testing, and if we keep believing that a fetus is not real life, that that slippery slope will get steeper. As of right now, there is a bill trying, but failing, to be passed to outlaw gender-selection abortion. As in terminating the pregnancy because you wanted a boy but got a girl. This is not just happening in China, its happening right here. Right now we are pretty limited to what we can find out prenatally about a baby. Sex, chromosomal syndromes, genetic disorders, physical deformities are some of them. Eugenics is being used in all of these areas. But what happens when technology, surely, advances? What if we can determine other things about their physical appearance such as eye and hair color, or height? What if we can determine later in life diseases such as Alzheimer's, clinical depression, Diabetes. What if we can determine the probability of having obesity issues or a higher risk for cancer? Now we are into probabilities.... terminating life on a chance. What I want to be understood, is ALL life is a chance. Even if we can test for every health or mental related issue prenatally, life throws curve ball after curve ball. Playing God, whether you believe in Him or not- the expression simply meaning trying to control life, is impossible. If you get rid of one "problem", another will takes its place. Whats that called, evolution? And whether your faith is in God or your belief is in evolution, babies that are not healthy enough for life take care of themselves through miscarriage. There is a high rate of miscarriage with babies with Down syndrome and other birth abnormalities... they die because they truly were not compatible with life. We terminate because we proclaim they are not worthy of life. Why do we feel empowered to proclaim this?
It's always interested me in, for a large majority, how different people are that are born disabled and those that become disabled during their out-of-utero life. For the majority, those that are born into this world with a disadvantage come out swinging. They take their one precious life by the horns and ride it with all they got. They tend to be positive people, content, and a pleasure to be around. They notice their differences, and at times struggle with them, but on the most part they just live and enjoy what they can do. On the other hand, the majority of people I know when they become disabled through an illness or an unfortunate accident, really struggle keeping their head above water. Life is now unfair, they lost their drive, they tend to be more negative and to not be this way takes a lot of fighting and counseling. Life is now harder for them, their personal dreams have been lost or pushed farther away, and they have a before and after comparison. I think this is important to remember when you are given a prenatal diagnosis. WE may think our child's life is going to be bad, because WE have experienced life differently. But we tend to forget that different life is going to be the only life our child knows. To say we are saving our child from a pain we have never experienced to know for sure if it truly is painful by means of then to prevent their life, its not only hypocritical, but plain ignorant. Our children are not supposed to carry our wishes, our dreams, our hopes, but rather they are individual minds with their own aspirations. Our issue of acceptance has to start with an open heart. Letting our children define themselves, and not a text book.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
I do not think our government will ever be on the moral side of this argument. No, instead of cutting back on our prison systems, which are billion dollar industries, it is easier to just keep convincing parents that their unborn baby will be nothing but heartache once born. (They seem to forget that heartache involved with finding out your disparately wanted baby has a health issue, or the heartache involved with having to make a decision with that disparately wanted baby's life). If its money you want to talk about, I can tell you lots of things that our government blows money on over the life of a human being. Even with things like the state of Massachusetts passing a law saying that accurate and up to date information has to be presented at a prenatal diagnosis, I would be hard pressed to believe doctors and those who give the news do not emphasize the negative. But I do have faith that our country, at least for a while longer, will be a free-choice country. Meaning, I may not be able to tell you that you can't have an abortion, but you also can't tell me that I have to have one. And as long as we have that choice, then I will help spread awareness and speak up for the amazing lives those with Down syndrome have. Because I count it a blessing if just one family welcomes a baby and gets to experience the joy I have with my Fiona.
This is not meant to start a Pro-life/Pro-choice debate, not attacking either side, nor do any of the generalizations meant to imply that everyone born disabled rocks their life and everyone who becomes disabled doesn't. That was simply my personal experience with those that I know. Any other point of discussion is welcome below.