Time to Quit Pressuring Parents to Abort Disabled Babies

Opinion   |   Kristan Hawkins   |   Jan 19, 2012   |   6:08PM   |   Washington, DC

Earlier this week, I came across an article that has since become viral.

Appropriately called “Brick Walls”, it chronicles the journey of two young parents as they try to vie for a kidney transplant for their mentally handicapped young daughter, Amelia. Written by Amelia’s mother, the article is written with the perfect balance of vulnerability, strength, and passion for her daughter as she graciously allows us to enter into an incredibly private portion of their lives.

The gist of the story lies here: Amelia needs a kidney transplant to survive but is denied one because of her disability. In the article, her mother describes in detail the agonizing wait for the doctor, the words “Mentally Retarded” and “Brain Damage” in bright pink highlighter on Amelia’s medical papers, and, later, her own impassioned plea to Amelia’s doctor to rethink the death wish he had just stamped on her little girl.

All because Amelia learns differently than most people.

Coming from a standpoint where I am both blessed and pained to see personal accounts from inside the pro-life movement, I’m shocked and enraged by this story. I want to grab the doctor by the shoulders and shake sense into him. I want him and everyone else who thinks that persons with mental or physical handicaps are somehow a lesser degree of a person to wake up and realize how jaded they are.

But this is also not the first time I and many others have heard a story like this. And that’s what angers me the most.

Because Amelia has a mental disability, a medical doctor has denied her the right to receive a life-saving transplant. Because she may need a few extra hours to learn simple tasks every day, a trusted health professional has deemed her unfit to live.

Not only is child killing legal in our country, it has now become acceptable to stamp a death warrant on a young girl because she reads slower than the average student.

Today, take 3 minutes to look at our new video and read the stories at www.turnthetide2012.com, when you get a chance. This past fall, we were blessed to work with a number of “abortion survivors” on our new video released just today, many of whom escaped the abortion recommended to their mothers by doctors who misdiagnosed them with mental disabilities.

In the process of recruiting folks to appear in the video, I was shocked by how many of my friends and peers e-mailed to tell me that their doctors had recommend abortion for their children because of poor-prenatal diagnoses, a majority of which were false. I was just shocked.

But then I realized I shouldn’t be. I hear this all the time from the pro-life students we work with in medical schools who are told that recommending and pressuring a woman to abort is the “ethical” thing to do. One medical student even told me that in his first week of class this year, a professor said that there was a cure for Down Syndrome… abortion.

Wow, there’s our problem.

Med Students for Life is hosting the 1st Annual Conference on Medical Advances in Prenatal Diagnoses this Saturday to combat cases exactly like this. We need to open our eyes to the prevalence of this prejudice and discrimination that results in the murder of innocent lives every single day.