Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Will Babies with Down Syndrome Just Disappear?"

That's a question asked in a sad and thoughtful piece posted by Albert Mohler on Friday.  In its lead paragraph, Mohler writes:

"The development of prenatal diagnostic technologies presents a constellation of moral issues -- with the diagnosis of Down syndrome front and center.  Over the past several years, a marked decrease in the number of babies born with Down syndrome has been both observed and widely reported.  This decrease can be traced directly to the decision to abort after prenatal diagnosis."

(Emphasis added.  Link to read Mohler's piece here.)

Screening babies for various diseases, including many that cannot be treated - like Down syndrome - has become the norm these days.  But why screen for something that can't be treated?  What's the point?

A legitimate point could be to prepare the parents for the challenges of raising a child with special needs.  But, I fear, the point of most of this testing is to cull the herd - to weed out and kill the children society deems not good enough.  And that fear, it seems, is being realized in modern America.

Before my first child was born, he was given standard screening tests.  The results were scary.  There was a high risk for Down syndrome.  We cried.  We worried.  And we were told that an amniocentesis would give us certainty.  We declined that procedure because it posed a risk to the baby (a low one, but a risk nonetheless) and because certainty would not change anything.  There would be no change in prenatal care and no way to "treat" the genetic abnormality, if there was one.  And we already loved our baby.  Our baby may or may not have had Down syndrome but he was our baby - a baby - a human life - a miracle as all babies are miracles.

Does anyone really believe that all the men and women, boys and girls living their lives today with Down syndrome would rather be dead?  Would the world be a better place without "those people?"

Aborting children because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is appalling, disgusting, horrid.  

Killing these babies before they can be born is morally equivalent to rounding up all the toddlers in the country with Down syndrome and drowning them in a lake.  (Or, I should say, immorally equivalent.)  If the first is an okay choice, wouldn't the second be?

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