80 percent of women who test positive for Down syndrome choose abortion

But there has been shift

downs-syndrome-boyThe following comes from a March 27 story on theAtlantic.com.

When I was six, my friend Tom died. My Mum took me aside when I got home from school and explained that he had gone into the hospital for routine surgery but something had gone wrong. She said it was just as well that he had died. You see, Tom had Down syndrome.

I don’t mean to slander my mother. Like my father, she thought this was humane and rational — that we should not cling to life if that life is one of terrible suffering. She was repeating the conventional wisdom of the day, and that wisdom said that if you had Down syndrome, your life was not worth living. Others who ought to have known better were often worse. In the eyes of many doctors, children with Down syndrome were burdens that would bring only disappointment to their families and they pressed parents to put their children in institutions and tell everyone that the baby had died. These children, it was believed, would never be any use to anyone, and their birth was treated as a tragedy.

This is not intended as an argument against abortion. It is an argument for giving prospective parents of children with Down syndrome a full picture of what their life will be like.

My daughter Hazel was born with Down syndrome five years ago. I found myself thinking of Tom a lot in the months that followed her birth. My wife and I, and especially Hazel, are lucky that things have changed since Tom died. Hazel has had an array of specialists who have helped her learn to walk and talk and she goes to a regular elementary school with other ‘normal’ kids. She still has challenges. We haven’t got her potty-trained yet. On the other hand, she knows her alphabet and she can count better than some of her classmates. She likes learning and she is enthusiastic about going to school. Much more than I ever was. I hated school.

We were also lucky that the head of the pediatric intensive care unit where Hazel spent her first month of life had a positive outlook on children with Down Syndrome. I remember him telling us not to place limits on what she could do, his relief when it became clear we were committed to our daughter. You see, old attitudes persist. Some people still believe that children with Down syndrome are a burden, their lives not worth living. A lot of people, to judge by message boards under articles about pregnancy screening. The problem is compounded by the doctors who present prospective parents with a uniformly gloomy outlook.

Many parents of kids with Down syndrome can attest to this. In some cases, rather than congratulations new parents get a barrage of health statistics and there is still often an assumption by medical professionals that women carrying a child with Down syndrome will terminate the pregnancy. Around 80 percent of women who get a positive test for Down syndrome still choose to have an abortion. Yet I cannot think of any parents of a child with Down syndrome who would give them up for anything.

Love has a way of making statistics irrelevant, and it brings its own kind of knowing. I do not love my daughter any less because she has Down syndrome. Her diagnosis says very little about who she is. She is not a disease or a syndrome but an individual: affectionate, naughty, infuriating at times, stubborn, self-willed and utterly charming. Certainly she has medical problems and developmental challenges not faced by other children. I’m not saying those don’t exist. But they’re one part of a much bigger picture….

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Comments

  1. Tom Byrne says:

    Should this not say: 80% of women are lied to, cajoled, pressured and bully-ragged into aborting Downs syndrome babies?

    Wait until Obamacare really gets going, and the government mandates 100% abortion of all “defectives”.

    • My daughter is soon to give birth. She has twins and we know this only by the Holy Spirit because she has been to 3 doctors who all told her she was not pregnant. They base their belief on negative tests of both urine and blood.
      This is not as uncommon as you would think.
      Both her and her sister have had a pregnancy where the protein test was such that the doctors believed they had Downs babies which turned out false but they would not have aborted anyway so all the doctors did was torment bully them ragged as you mentioned. Yes people, it is as the days of Moses where babies must be hidden (this time from the doctors).

    • Scary!

  2. good cause says:

    Good point made here. There will be some limiattaions but if the parents are on board with his/her life the child has a better chance of improving his/her life as they grow.

  3. On Good Friday I saw a little boy with Down Syndrome look curiously at the purple covered statues and try to understand. I saw him look into the empty tabernacle and ask his Dad why it was empty. I saw them say a short prayer together before he bounded off to greet the Pastor, who gave him a hug. Who could say this boy is not loved by Jesus and his whole family. Who could deny the joy he gives to everyone he meets. Maybe that is his job in God’s kingdom to give simple joy and love in return for life.

  4. Steve Seitz says:

    Compounding the sadness of this issue is that a diagnosis for Down Syndrome is only a statistic: The likelihood of having the illness. So parents who abort are aborting based on a statistic and not on a definitive diagnosis, which means that healthy babies are being killed under the assumption that they have Down Syndrome.

    To view human beings as things to be manipulated, used, and even killed is what brought us the rivers of blood [the mass murders] of the 20th century. Why has man in the 21st century still not learned from this? The Church has much more work to do. Please volunteer at your Church, pray, and get involved.

  5. I’m not surprised by this statistic. I’m an older mom and the first thing the doctor did is sit me down and give me the statistics of having a baby with Downs Syndrome at my age. They then go ahead and tell me the earliest stage of my pregnancy in which I can have the amniocentesis test to insure that the baby doesn’t have Downs. They’re disappointed when I tell them I’m not interested in having the amniocentesis test because I’m not terminating the pregnancy. They still try to push the test under the guise of “it will help you to prepare.” I asked them how is caring for a Downs syndrome baby different than a “normal” baby. They both eat, sleep, and need diaper changes. She agreed and finally dropped it. It’s just crazy. It’s as if the doctors are trying to be like God and determine who should be born. Only perfect babies should be born in their eyes. What a shame. I should have changed doctors.

  6. Hi! I have a son who is almost four who happens to have Down Syndrome. I was told at a recent conference that with the new blood screening you can do in the first trimester for Trisomy 21 had increased the abortion rate to a staggering 92%! So incredibly sad that these children have no chance in this sick world we live in!

  7. As the brother of someone who has Down Syndrome, all I can say is that I am a better man because of him. I’m a firm believer that God gives us handicapped children to teach us how to love unconditionally. Danny, who is in his 40′s now and still lives with my parents, has influenced thousands of people with his love. He is truly a special gift. Oh, and my parents look years younger than their peers since they stay very active with him in their lives!

    • Tom Byrne says:

      Rob:
      My “special gifts” were two little sisters with ALS, who died before they reached their first year. I was only 10 and 12 years old when they passed, but I remember them and the love of God they taught me.

      • Tom, isn’t it amazing how much they teach us? I’ve know many families with handicapped kids who were so blessed despite only having them in their lives for a short time.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Downs people rule!

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