IF I KNEW MY DAUGHTER HAD DOWN SYNDROME….
September 6, 2015
Recently I read a Yahoo news article titled “If I Knew My Daughter Had Down Syndrome, I Would Have Aborted Her – All Women Should Have That Right” that broke my heart.
Beautiful pictures of this mom and her daughter accompanied her harsh words:
“Ohio is poised to become the second state in this country to ban abortion because of a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome this fall. As a pro-choice woman who has a 7-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, I find this absolutely appalling.”
“This is an issue that hits close to home for me: If I had had a prenatal diagnosis, I would have obtained an abortion. Today, I am beyond grateful that I didn’t. But I cannot ever in any circumstances imagine insisting others not have that right.”
Here is what I wrote back in the comments section of this article:
I am an RN whose third child Karen was born in 1982 with both Down Syndrome and a heart defect. I was given a “choice” of whether or not to allow a surgery even though there was an up to 90% chance of success. I was outraged because that “choice” would not have been offered if my daughter did not have Down Syndrome. I knew then that I had to fight this medical discrimination not only for my daughter but for other children with disabilities.
Years later, a nice woman asked that, if I knew my daughter had Down Syndrome before birth, would I have chosen abortion. Instead of talking about how people with Down Syndrome were defying old, pessimistic predictions or how there was actually a waiting list of prospective adoptive parents for children with Down Syndrome, I asked the woman if she knew how abortions were done.
She said no so I asked her if she wanted to know. When she consented, I simply and clinically described how first, second and third trimester abortions were done. The woman responded with horror and said “You couldn’t do that to your child!”
That is exactly the point. It is not about what challenges a child may have but rather about deliberately killing an innocent child at any stage of life.
I would like to reassure the mom in this article that, while her feelings are understandable, she has apparently been a great mother to her daughter and should be proud of herself.
I would also like to encourage her to let go of any guilt over what she might have done, celebrate her beautiful daughter and please don’t discourage other mothers from choosing life for their child. Nancy V.
THE TRAGEDY OF SO-CALLED “THERAPUETIC ABORTION FOR FETAL DEFECT”
A friend of mine I will call “Mary” (not her real name) had an ultrasound of her unborn baby at 5 months that appeared to show anencephaly. Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. Most babies born with this condition die soon after birth.
However, Mary was also told that this pregnancy would kill her and, in a panic, she quickly endured 28 hours of hard labor with a prostaglandin-induced abortion before her baby was delivered. She never saw her baby.
Mary tried hard to put the tragedy behind her and decided to tell most of her friends that she had a miscarriage rather than an abortion. However, as she confided later, she half-expected to be somehow punished when she later had a son and it took several months after his birth before she could truly believe that her new son was healthy. But every Christmas she also secretly hung an ornament for her dead first child.
What Mary didn’t know was that her obstetrician apparently lied to her. First of all, she was not in any special physical danger from her pregnancy.
I later ran into an old friend who happened to be the doctor (not Mary’s obstetrician) who read her ultrasound. Since he also knew I was a friend of Mary’s, he asked how she was doing. He turned white and had to sit down when I told him about the abortion. It turns out that not only was Mary healthy but the ultrasound suggested only the possibility of anencephaly. Such initial testing is too often wrong and should not be used as a definitive diagnosis.
I felt Mary had a right to know all this but she rebuffed my offer to tell her what I learned. However, five years later, she called and said that although she didn’t want a lecture, she had a question that continued to haunt her: What did the hospital do with her baby’s body?
Abortion claims many victims because there is an enormous difference between dying and being killed no matter what the reason.