Wednesday, October 19, 2005

When is a choice not a choice?

The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- If it's unacceptable for William Bennett to link abortion even conversationally with a whole class of people (and, of course, it is), why then do we as a society view abortion as justified and unremarkable in the case of another class of people: children with disabilities?

Rest of article...

The author of this article is the mother of a child with Down syndrome. The article discusses an important issue that no one wants to talk about, "At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy League ethics program. In answer to another guest's question, he said he believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a disability..."

If pre-natal testing can reveal disabilities, does a parent have the responsibility to get tested and dispose of disabled children? So much for choice. In this view, disabled children are nothing more than a drain on society. The article has some good points but one thing she gets wrong is the idea that she tries to justify not having an abortion by saying that her daughter is smart and is just like other kids. But that is irrelevant. What makes her duaghter's life worth while isn't that she isn't that bad, but rather that she is a human being. All human life is worth preserving and if we get into a discussion of which lives are worth while and which lives should be aborted then we are on the eugenics highway. Next, do we start discussing the IQ cutoff for allowing children to be born? "Sorry, but genetic testing revealed your child's IQ will only be 110 and we need physicists this week."

My son is a wonderful little boy and I love him to pieces even if he drives me crazy sometimes. His life is worth living simply because he is a human being. Yes, he is costing society a lot of money to raise and care for (more money than he will ever return to society) but is that how we measure someone's worth? Is it all about the money? Do we need to dispose of anyone who might be a drain on society? If so, do we stop at the unborn? There are plenty of people in prison who will never pay back to society what they are costing to keep incarcerated. Why do they get to live but an unborn child who never harmed anyone and whose only mistake was being less than perfect must be killed?


Map said...

My mother once confessed that she made four abortions, in her four months as a married woman. That was the Soviet way of keeping you from getting pregnant. Afther the fourth abortion she divorced her husband.

Of course, she only told me this after I made an abortion myself. The nicest words she had for me were "don't you pity yourself too much?" I was shocked, 'cause this was the hardest time in my life. It took me several years to forgive her.

Elblog said...

This is slightly off-topic, but I was watching "Inside the Actors' Studio" Sunday, and the interviewer remarked as he asked a question that (I'm paraphrasing) most of his guests were the product of broken homes - that this seems to be a contributing factor in prodding people to seek approval by performing.
My roundabout point - to bolster yours - is that our humanity, creative expression, seredipitous events are the product of things happening "not according to plan". Post-It notes are the result of a 'failed' adhesive project. Drawing these lines for humanity, as it were, as we are, diminishes us all in ways that we can't really imagine. Well spoken, Tom.