A woman who terminated the life of her unborn child after learning the baby would likely have Down Syndrome wrote a piece that appeared on the Yahoo Parenting site. It’s interesting to me that it would appear on a “parenting” site in that much of the argument for abortion has been that the unborn child in the womb is not a child at all. So no child, no parent, right?
But this is interesting (while also heartbreaking) in that the woman state up front that the child in her womb is a “Human being.”
Eight weeks on, we were still so blissfully happy that we hadn’t yet discussed having a CVS or amnio. We were too busy pouring over the four sonograms of our little baby. In just over two months, we’d watched him or her morph from a bean-shaped embryo into a little human being with a face and arms and legs — fingers and toes, too.
So it just seems to me that the argument has moved from it’s not a human being to it’s a human being who is better off being dead.
Soon I was too busy staring at our baby on the screen to be preoccupied with pain. The fetal heartbeat was so loud and strong. It didn’t seem like anything was wrong. Then I thought: Might this be the last time I see him or her? “It doesn’t matter if the baby is born with Down Syndrome,” my husband said, reading my mind. “I’d still be proud.”
On our way home, we stopped at a sidewalk cafe. There I noticed an older couple with their son who appeared to have Down Syndrome. They were trying to prevent him from running out into the street so they could hand-feed him a slice of pizza and wipe his face with a napkin. Though he behaved like a rambunctious toddler, I wondered if he were a teenager or older (it’s often difficult to determine the age of someone with Down’s). I looked at my husband. He had noticed them too.
The next day, the social worker called back. As predicted, the CVS results were the same but even more clear: There was a 99.9% chance that the child would have Down Syndrome. The social worker then asked if I had any questions, and a big one popped into my head.
“Could you please tell me if the baby is a boy or a girl?”
She answered my question with a question: “Are you sure you want to know?”
“Yes, I do.”
When she told me, I burst into tears. Only then, after I’d gotten to know my baby as well as I possibly could, did I feel I was ready to make the hardest decision of my life — terminate the pregnancy. And I would make it as a mother who wanted to do the best for her child.
Death is best for the child. It’s a pretty horrific shift in the argument, isn’t it? It’s not a question over humanity, it’s a question of whether the child is better off dead.
I wonder what would have happened if they’d stopped and asked the couple caring for their child with Down Syndrome. I wonder what they would’ve told this woman. I wonder if it would’ve made a difference.