Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mercy Killing

A number of people have noted this piece in yesterday's Washington Post by a woman writing about her decision to abort after her son was pre-natally diagnosed with Down syndrome.

A few months ago I dug into that stats about this a bit and found that those who do bring children diagnosed with Down syndrome to term are overwhelmingly religious, with most of them being Catholics.

Back when we were expecting our first child, my boss (two companies back) and his wife were expecting their first as well. They were 18 years older than us, with a total household income 10x ours. (So of course they were convinced they couldn't afford for the wife to be stay at home mom.)

Being secular "plan it all" types they had an amnio, and the news they had was that their daughter would probably have a spinal deformity which might leave her handicapped for life, or even cause her to die shortly after birth. So of course the aborted.

I remember my boss telling me, "We're just not set up to handle the stress of dealing with raising a disabled child." And I thought: You make over 200k and your wife is a clinical psychiatrist. If you're not able to find a way to deal, who the hell is?

My wife and I, on the other hand, were newly weds straight out of college making less than 40k off our single income and living in a one bedroom apartment (which Los Angeles being what it is cost well over 1000 a month). Yet we wouldn't have hesitated for a moment to accept a severely disable child.

Goodness knows, I'm glad my eldest daughter is the beautiful, healthy small monkey that she is. But as the day that I knew was their daughter's appointment with the surgical executioners approached, I couldn't help wishing there was some way to trade, or adopt this poor unwanted little girl whose only fault was that she was not as "perfect" as her parents wished.

10 comments:

Tara Marie said...

I think that is the falicy of prenatal tests....parents 'think' they have weeded out the imperfect and they will only deliver a 'perfect' child. Every child is 'perfect'.....

Fidei Defensor said...

I'm sure things like golf, expanding the wine cellar, and trips to Europe, etc were more important...

Darwin do you still work for this guy?

Why did he tell you all this, was it just common knowledge around the office? Didn't this guy have any fear of being precived as heartless? (Though I'm sure he convinced himself it was the compassionate thing to do.)

Tara Marie said...

Did you see the woman who openly stated in a New York Times article that she terminated two pregnancies because the babies had an extra digit on their hands and she did not want them to walk around life with a 'stigma'.....even though she had an extra digit herself and it can be removed?

MomLady said...

I wonder what it must be like to be the sibling of an aborted child. What kind of attitude must such children have towards their parents, knowing that they too could easily have been casualties, but were lucky enough to squeak through.

Have you heard anything about this from fellow members of your generation?

barbfromcincy said...

This makes me feel absolutely sick...

Julie D. said...

What a sad story. It says so much about selfishness and also the pure lack of understanding about how sacred life it. Thanks for sharing it.

rhonda lugari said...

I spend my entire pregnancy overly worrying about the health of my baby. I had an amnio with my first son. I wish I hadn't, it's not safe for the baby and I worried anyway, even though it came out ok.
To be clear: I only had it to be prepared. I would never take the life of my baby no matter what I found out.

I just learned about this site a couple of days ago. http://www.drtiller.com/fetanom.html
It's so sad.

Darwin said...

No, I don't work at that company any more. I did, at least before that, actually have a fairly close relationship with that manager. We saw very much eye to eye on business -- and it was a very small firm. I'd kind of hoped that fatherhood would get the moral side of his life more in order, but as it was... That was when I started watching my chance to find another job, though it took a while.

I do wonder very much if the ghosts (metaphorical if not real) of these situations end up affecting the siblings. In Robertson Davies' What's Bred in the Bone, one of the driving themes of the novel is the main character's disabled younger brother, 'the gooner'. If I remember right, the character never actually finds out that the gooner is his brother, but there's a connection between them that he instinctively feels.

I've read that 43% of American women have had at least one abortion. There are an awful lot of people out there, who whether they know it or not have murdered siblings haunting their lives.

Layla said...

Momlady-

My mother aborted a sibling of mine because we were only going to be 13 or so months apart and she didn't think she could handle it (my dad was abusive and she had PPD from me). I mostly feel sorry for my mom, because she's really misguided in a lot of her beliefs. I'm also very grateful to God that she kept me. It was sort of humbling to find out how close I came to being a "choice."

rhonda lugari said...

I was watching a woman speaking on behalf of Rachel's Vineyard on EWTN. She made an interesting comment about how the baby's cells are transferred to the mother's medulla the moment the baby leaves her body.
The transfer of cells happens whether from birth (including c-secton), miscarriage, or abortion, and they stay with the mother forever.
The medulla is where our (mother's) intuition and instinct are located.
I believe twins experience a similar transfer of cells with eachother.