In an article in The Guardian, pro-choice mother Rachel Nolan explains that she did not get the prenatal test for Down syndrome even though she is considered high risk because she’s over 40-years-old. Although Nolan supports abortion, she believes there needs to be more conversations regarding why people abort disabled unborn children.
Nolan begins her op-ed by citing a few reasons for not getting testing for her own child, with the main reason being she has decided to keep her baby regardless of if he or she has Down syndrome. Then Nolan explains that she knows people with the condition bring a lot of joy and love into the world because she has spent part of her life working with people with disabilities.
She writes, “There is no doubt that people with Down’s syndrome, like those with other disabilities, can have lives that are incredibly hard. The disability field is racked with the dilemma of how to manage the young people exhibiting what are euphemistically called “challenging behaviours” – violence and aggression brought about by the frustration of their physical limitations and of their inability to communicate. Beyond that, there is a frightening and hard-to-manage vulnerability to abuse.
But on the other side, there’s the inescapable fact that people with disabilities bring great love and joy. There is a challenge to our mainstream values to be found among those who are dancing to an entirely different tune.”
Additionally, Nolan says she is concerned about prenatal testing for Down syndrome because of the risk it carries for miscarriage and statistics that show the majority of women who find out that their child will have the condition chooses abortion. She says, “I understand that continuing with a pregnancy of a likely disabled child is as difficult a decision as most people will ever make. I do not believe it should be regulated – I am decidedly pro choice – but that it happens without discussion is shocking to me.”
Ultimately, Nolan finds it disheartening that we live in a world where women abort children with disabilities without pause and without considering the ramifications of their decision. While most pro-life activists agree that abortion for any reason is morally unacceptable, killing children in utero because they might have a disability raises serious concerns about the state of our society. In fact, many would argue that it is discriminatory and points to a culture that puts more value on perfection and convenience than anything else.
As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013, North Dakota was the first state in the U.S. to make it illegal for a doctor to abort a baby due to a genetic fetal abnormality, such as Down syndrome. Then, earlier this year, the Ohio Legislature introduced legislation that would do the same and it is expected to pass.