Monday, January 29, 2007

I Missed Blog for Choice Day



But that won't stop me from writing about it!

I first heard about it on Daring Young Mom's blog and felt like I had a lot to say, almost too much. Then when I saw Owlhaven's post, with it's simple and heart-felt message that cuts right to the heart of things I figured out how to say what I wanted.

There are countries in this world that are thrilled to announce that their Down syndrome birthrates are declining. Sadly, the reason these rates are declining is not because they have found a cure -- unless you call very early prenatal testing and abortions a cure. I don't.

I found 2 articles (so far) that share my view that people with Down syndrome are worth giving birth to. Their lives are not so short and empty that they should be aborted. And since there is no cure, what else can early testing lead to?

The first is by Patricia E. Bauer and was in The Washington Post.

The second article is by George F. Will and appeared in Newsweek.

My husband and I were lucky, I guess. My OB/Gyn asked us if we wanted amniocentesis and we asked back weren't the risks of miscarriage great at my "advanced maternal age"? He said yes and then asked the big question: Is there any reason that you would want to terminate the pregnancy? We both said no, so he agreed that the increased risk of miscarriage wasn't worth it. What if we hadn't been so sure of ourselves? I wonder now if his advice would have been different. As I sit here typing this and listening to The Biscuit through the baby monitor, I thank God that we didn't know so that we didn't have to deal with medical professionals that might have prodded us towards not having him.

It seems like the Choice debate always centers around women and their right to choose or the child's right to be born. We are missing out on something and it is quietly slipping by: doctors give pregnant women advice. When the doctors' information is not up-to-date, women get out-dated advice and then make life and death decisions based upon that old way of thinking. The doctors MUST be taught that the best advice is to talk to someone who is living in the situation, whether it be an adult with Down syndrome or the parent of a child who has Down syndrome or whatever. A doctor, just like any other human being, cannot know what it is like to live with something unless they are actually living with it. And we have to learn to be self-advocates and ask to be referred to support groups. Maybe after meeting some adults with Down syndrome and learning about the wonderful things that are happening today it wouldn't be so scary. And maybe then, with this better advice, 85% of these children wouldn't get aborted.

4 comments:

  1. My Biscuit's Daddy30 January, 2007 02:01

    Well stated. You are awesome! :)

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  2. VERY good food for thought! I have a beautiful, wonderful niece with Down's. She's amazing and I'm so grateful we have her- and we had no idea about the Down's until she was born.
    But you make very good points about information and advice. We induced the stillbirth of our Turner's Syndrome girl this past year who had basically zero chance of living. But we had EXCELLENT information and advice from good caregivers. They never pushed us either way, but they were honest and had us talk to other parents, etc. etc.
    I know we were lucky in that regard- many families don't have all the information when making those awful heart-wrenching decisions.

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  3. Good thoughtful post. Thanks for linking to me.

    Mary, mom to many

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