The worst statistic that is floating around these days is the one that upwards of 90% or more of Down Syndrome children are aborted after prenatal testing. I am convinced that this is because parents are pressured into abortion by their health care providers.
In a totally backwards world, parents are told that they are selfish and evil if they DO NOT kill their special needs child. And with a new, early, non-invasive genetic test on the horizon, the pressure on parents to “get rid of” their Down Syndrome child will only increase. I refer to this quote more often than I should, but I believe it is so important to understand what is being said in doctor’s offices about those with Down Syndrome:
“A woman I know was told by her obstetrician that her fetus had Down syndrome. The doctor ordered her to abort, she refused…. Another woman was similarly coerced. Her doctor told her that her baby would be more like a fish than a human and would only be as smart as a baboon.” — From Lori B. Andrews book The Clone Age
In the face of such discouraging numbers, I found some that are not only encouraging, but depict a more accurate picture of life with Down Syndrome. Researchers at Children’s Hospital in Boston surveyed families where a member had Down Syndrome and found that Down Syndrome is a positive. From MSNBC.com:
The Reillys represent some of the experiences reported in three surveys conducted by doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston that suggest the reality of Down syndrome is positive for a vast majority of parents, siblings and people with Down syndrome themselves.
Among 2,044 parents or guardians surveyed, 79 percent reported their outlook on life was more positive because of their child with Down syndrome….
Skotko also found that among siblings ages 12 and older, 97 percent expressed feelings of pride about their brother or sister with Down syndrome and 88 percent were convinced they were better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome. A third study evaluating how adults with Down syndrome felt about themselves reports 99 percent responded they were happy with their lives, 97 percent liked who they are, and 96 percent liked how they looked. [my emphasis]
So once again the culture of death distorts the truth by suggesting that parents are doing the right thing by killing their Down Syndrome child. The culture of death says, “Better dead than have Downs.” But 99% of adults with Down Syndrome report they are happy with their lives. I doubt you would find anything close to that percentage in the “healthy” adult population. And yet it is these very happy adults that are being targeted for destruction in the womb.
Instead of calling people with Down Syndrome “baboons,” I suggest doctors give the news of a Down Syndrome diagnosis with a smile saying, “There will be challenges but your child is nearly guaranteed to be a happy adult!”
And really that is the price of embracing the culture of death, of using death as a “medical treatment” – it is quite literally the elimination of happiness.
LifeNews.com Note: Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for five years and has been interviewed on EWTN radio on topics from stem cell research and cloning to voting pro-life. Taylor has a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of San Francisco with a national certification in clinical Molecular Biology MB (ASCP).