Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Op-ed on Down Syndrome and Abortion

See this piece in Newsday by Valerie Karr. It begins:

Last weekend at my favorite ice cream shop, I met an adorable 4-year-old boy named Sully. He had bright blue, inquisitive eyes, a happy smile and, judging from his telltale facial features, Down syndrome.

Only weeks before I had read a staggering statistic: 92 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are now aborted. I don't normally get overly exercised about the issue of abortion, but this number struck me as I looked at Sully. With only 8 percent of prospective Down parents choosing to have their child, Sully may grow up with no peers to interact with in his life. Somehow, we are saying the lives of children with Down mean less than those of so-called normal children.

Admittedly, the economic costs of raising children with Down can be onerous. The emotional strain can cause rifts between parents. There can be serious medical complications. As a matter of fact, in a survey conducted by Brian Skotko at Harvard Medical School, 3,000 mothers receiving the news that their child would have Down syndrome reported that physicians expressed negative views about them continuing their pregnancies.



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