A year ago, Ruth Marcus wrote in her article in the The Washington Post entitled “I would’ve aborted a fetus with Down syndrome. Women need that right” …
“That was not the child I wanted. That was not the choice I would have made. You can call me selfish, or worse, but I am in good company.”
It was published on the day I celebrated my 39th birthday with my parents and older sister who has Down syndrome. She wrote “For Sandra Peoples: open on your birthday!” on the front of my card and slipped a $20 inside. Although she’s well known in our family for sending birthday cards, it’s pretty special when she includes some of her hard-earned cash. One of her many gifts is making others feel special on their birthdays.
When she was born in 1977, my parents and the doctors didn’t know life would look like for her and for us today. In fact, a young doctor took my dad into a supply closet and offered not to perform the life-saving surgery she needed on her digestive track if my parents wanted her to die just days after her birth. There was no prenatal detection, so abortion based on her diagnosis hadn’t been an option, but this was pretty close. My parents refused, believing her life was valuable. And that decision changed our lives in hundreds of ways, but all for the better.
Marcus also writes,
I respect—I admire—families that knowingly welcome a baby with Down syndrome into their lives. Certainly, to be a parent is to take the risks that accompany parenting; you love your child for who she is, not what you want her to be.
But accepting that essential truth is different from compelling a woman to give birth to a child whose intellectual capacity will be impaired, whose life choices will be limited, whose health may be compromised. Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate cognitive impairment, meaning an IQ between 55 and 70 (mild) or between 35 and 55 (moderate). This means limited capacity for independent living and financial security; Down syndrome is life-altering for the entire family.
Source: Special Needs Parenting- Key Ministry