Thumbnail image for down-syndrome-child.jpgAn obstetrician told me excitedly about a new blood test that will allow pregnant women to discover if the child they are carrying has Down syndrome. The good news, he told me, is that we will no longer have to worry about “unfortunate births.”
This doctor intended no offense. But his comment reflects a prevailing attitude that presumes we would all be better off if these children are eliminated before they are born.
I’ll admit that my views are influenced by my 13-year-old daughter Molly, a vibrant child with her own dreams and personality. To us, she is not defined by her disability but by the joy she has brought into our lives.
I don’t presume to tell others what to do when they are faced with these difficult decisions. But I worry that women who find themselves pregnant with a child who has a physical or mental disability get only one message, which is all about the burden about to be dumped in their laps.
Today, 9 out of 10 American women who are told they have a child with Down syndrome choose to abort. I think it’s fair to say that if some of these potential parents had a glimpse of the other side they might have made a different decision.

~Lon Jacobs, attorney and self-described pro-choice Democrat, in his Wall Street Journal opinion column, November 27

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