“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Down Syndrome Genocide

In a fascinating article, the National Review discusses an article in the Washington Post entitled, "Down Syndrome Now Detectable In 1st Trimester: Earlier Diagnosis Allows More Time for Decisions." Couching the issue of prenatal diagnosis and abortion as a women's health issue, the article states, "This is a big deal for women. It's going to have a big impact on care for women, not just in the United States but throughout the world." In a crazy example of doublespeak, the genocide of persons with down syndrome is a solution that is going to have "a big impact on care for women." This is not the genocide of an entire class of people, having a particular characteristic, which the Washington Post article didn't even attempt to overstate, "The syndrome results when a baby has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome, causing distinctive physical features, developmental problems and an increased risk of a variety of health problems that usually shorten the child's life span." The taking of down syndrome life is so prevalent, that euphemism (the substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit) in terms of describing who persons with down syndrome are is unnecessary. We are taking the life of a whole class of people because they have, "distinctive physical features," "developmental problems," and an "increased risk for a variety of health problems." Step back for a moment and think about this. If this doesn't cause you great concern, it should. People with down syndrome are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But we choose to kill them, to wipe them out in the name of a "big impact on care for women." It is sick.

In response to this article, the National Review online posted its own editorial entitled, "Defining Life Down: Are we okay with eliminating a class of humans?" This article does a pretty good job in defining the issues and confronting us with the reality of the situation, we are "eliminating a class of humans."

Through training I have received from the Syracuse University Training Institute or Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agentry I have become sensitized to the issues. We are on a fast track to increased devaluation and termination of the lives of persons with disabilities. But my real question is, "What about the church?"

We, the Christian Church, are embracing the sins of the culture in direct opposition to the obvious and "most central themes of the Scriptures" (as Jim Wallis states). "Social location often determines biblical interpretation (also Jim Wallis). Our social location is anywhere where people with disabilities aren't. No wonder we think we can exclude them with impunity in the face of God's commands.

McNair
(fcbu)

10 comments:

Jennifer Logan said...

It's very sad to me that people think they are doing families a greater service by offering them a way to do away with a life in order for the family to have a better one. I agree with Dr. McNair that to do all of this in the name of "care for women" is sick. It's yet another sick way for us not to accept responsibility for our actions, and what makes the argument worse is that the blame is shifted to the baby - they call it a "tragic accident." This article done by the Washington Post proves that a stigma still exists against disabled people.
I also cannot see how people can look at a little girl like Patricia Bauer's daughter in Lopez' article and think that her condition could have been avoided by doing away with her life altogether. This is like saying "let's just avoid the pain of childbirth and not have babies at all, ever" and there be a mass movement for women everywhere to have a hysterectomy. Articles like the one in the Post have caused me to think deeper about why special education is so important to our school systems. I didn't realize this problem until now and will be all the more adement to fight for the lives of children everywhere at risk for abortion.

Rachel Newby said...

In response to the Down Syndrome Genocide posting that I found very disturbing. It is terrible to think how eloquently we have been able to present and genocide of an entire people group. Having grown up with dear friends whose sibling with down syndrome I know the frustration they sometimes feel but can assure you that none of my friends or their families would trade their siblings or child for the world.
It is even more grievous to me that the church would not whole heartedly embrace this community and their families. The church can be such an amazing support group for special needs children and their families. One of the families I grew up with had child with down syndrome and his father was the assistant pastor at my church. His son participated in all church functions. He was in the same Sunday schools classes as his friend and yes in the youth group as well. His presence was as natural as breathing and we all learned a lot from him. He understands who Jesus is and he whole heartedly participates in worship and likes to listen to his Dad preach. Being apart of a church were the pastors daughters has sever cerebral palsy and the assistant pastors son has down syndrome I can tell first hand they both had a very important place in our church and it was a joy to serve them and enjoy their friendship.

Melissa Alvarez said...

I think that how you are born is how God intended you to be. No matter if you have physical disabilities, mental disabilities or whatever. If you God did not want you to be YOU he would not have made you this way. I think this is the case in ALL aspects of life. To appreciate and treasure one anothers qualities and find the good everyone is a thought and prayer that is far from being true. Yet we have to try and live the way we feel God would want us to but we have to not only preach it and teach it to our children but we have to act on it. Yes, it is sad that not all children are treated equal but this does not mean that you have to act the same.

Melissa Alvarez
Monday Night CBU, Beaumont

Velia Gutierrez said...

My thirteen year old cousin is Down syndrome and my aunt still remembers the reaction of the medical staff when she delivered her daughter. She remembers the frowns and the feeling that they felt sorry for her. Imagine these same medical professionals with the new prenatal testing options. With this kind of insensitivity in the medical field it is no wonder that up to 90% of all screened Down syndrome pregnancies are terminated. I personally know of a case where the AFP exam detected an abnormality and abortion was offered. Luckily this person did not choose to abort this child because it turned out to be perfectly fine. I don't agree with these exams, although I do believe sometimes are necessary, what I don't agree with is offering to abort because sometimes the tests are wrong and either way I don't believe that abortion is the right solution. My 13 year old cousin that I mentiond earlier is such a loving and caring young girl and I can't imagine what life would be like without her.

Christine Wetmore/EDU 341 said...

This blog (Down Syndrome Genocide) definitely points out some disconcerting practices that are more and more being widely accepted and justified in our society and significantly overlooked by the Christian churches, which is disturbing on so many levels. I know the practice of eliminating the Down syndrome race has been going on for some time now. Approximately 21 years ago, my mom was told by her OB/GYN that there were some abnormalities detected on the ultrasound and that my sister would have Down syndrome. Her doctor pushed for an abortion, justifying the act as a simple destruction of a piece of tissue--no harm; no foul. My parents, being dead-set against abortion no matter what, however, held strongly to their faith and just prayed for the health and well-being of my sister and that God's will be done. When my sister was born, she was found to be a completely normal and healthy baby; and even if she had Down syndrome, our family would have embraced her and loved her no differently than we do now. My point is that society thrives on justification of its actions, resulting in its chronic moral decay and compromise, and the church has not been exempt from this as gross issues such as this seem to go overlooked and not addressed by the church. It is pretty scary to be living in a society where it is permissible for man to put value on someone else's life and determine their outcome.

Bonnie Lindsey said...

It is absolutely unacceptable to have an abortion. It is murder. It is sinful. Yet it is so common. Even for children who do not have any disability, physical or cognitive, abortions are performed everyday just because the mother doesn’t want the child. This is so shameful no matter what circumstances the abortion is under. The Lord is in control. We need to remember that there is a purpose and place for every human being that He brings into this world. I read somewhere about a Christian family who has a little girl with Down Syndrome. They love her just as much as their other children. The mother realizes that her daughter doesn’t have a disability in God’s eyes. The only requirement the Lord has for us is to “do justice, have mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” The mother of the little girl saw that her daughter could do that so she was a success in the eyes of the Lord and her family. We get saved through faith, a child-like faith. People with Down Syndrome usually see the world as most children do. Why should we kill all these precious people who could be outstanding witnesses for the Lord? We ought to speak out even more about this planned genocide of the Down Syndrome population. We also ought to bring them into the church all the more because they are so ready for the gospel. “Go ye into all the world. . . .”

Tammy Soper said...

I am shocked that medical professionals would offer a woman whose baby has been diagnosed with Down's syndrome an abortion before she has even had the opportunity to digest the diagnosis. I think they should inform the parents about Down's syndrome first, what to expect, how they will look, some of the medical problems they could have and ALL the options they have. They do not have the right to tell a woman that because her baby has Down's syndrome, she is not worth being given the right to live as long as possible. Everyone has the right to live and it doesn't matter in which way they will live, either with or without disabilities. I have had the pleasure to meet only two people with Down's syndrome so far in my life. One is a high functioning young lady and one is a young man who doesn’t function as high. When I think of both of them it brings a smile to my face. They both are compassionate and want to interact with others whenever they get the chance. They love to be part of the group. The young lady is a part of my daughters Girl Scout troop, all the girls are in high school, they have accepted her into their group and have fun being with her. I think when they have the ability to interact with their peers it is helpful for everyone. I can't imagine if these doctors’s had ever met a person with Down's syndrome they would be so quick to offer an abortion to the mother. We need to educate our society that they have something to teach us and we need to be accepting of people who are different from ourselves. We worry about a man who doesn't want his daughter's class or any class saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school when they have to opportunity to not say the pledge. Why then do we not accept people with Down's syndrome who I don't think have a mean bone in their bodies.
Tammy Soper

Tammy Soper said...

I am shocked that medical professionals would offer a woman whose baby has been diagnosed with Down's syndrome an abortion before she has even had the opportunity to digest the diagnosis. I think they should inform the parents about Down's syndrome first, what to expect, how they will look, some of the medical problems they could have and ALL the options they have. They do not have the right to tell a woman that because her baby has Down's syndrome, she is not worth being given the right to live as long as possible. Everyone has the right to live and it doesn't matter in which way they will live, either with or without disabilities. I have had the pleasure to meet only two people with Down's syndrome so far in my life. One is a high functioning young lady and one is a young man who doesn’t function as high. When I think of both of them it brings a smile to my face. They both are compassionate and want to interact with others whenever they get the chance. They love to be part of the group. The young lady is a part of my daughters Girl Scout troop, all the girls are in high school, they have accepted her into their group and have fun being with her. I think when they have the ability to interact with their peers it is helpful for everyone. I can't imagine if these doctors’s had ever met a person with Down's syndrome they would be so quick to offer an abortion to the mother. We need to educate our society that they have something to teach us and we need to be accepting of people who are different from ourselves. We worry about a man who doesn't want his daughter's class or any class saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school when they have to opportunity to not say the pledge. Why then do we not accept people with Down's syndrome who I don't think have a mean bone in their bodies.
Tammy Soper

~*Radonna*~ said...

Wiping out Down syndrome would take so much love joy and compassion out of this world.
It is sad really that something so precious to god his reminder of the way he meant for us all to be perfect without sin before we ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil

Gods original blueprint. Before he took one of our chromosomes.

Sad. So many people think they know better than God.

Sad that people look at my child and see their worst nightmare.

Sad that they grieve for a child that they could have spent the rest of their lives loving.

Death has no resolution.

Down syndrome has so much hope.

How could anyone chose death over Down syndrome. I know what death feels like. My middle son was stillborn. I know what it is like to leave the hospital empty and feeling forsaken by God I went home to my beautiful son with Down syndrome and let his hugs wash the pain away. Wishing with all my heart that I could trade my stillborn childs normal chromosomes in for a heartbeat.

How little life makes sense when you talk about these issues

What is so plain to me is a concept that people have such trouble grasping.

I will not be silent. I speak for my child. I am his voice saying "I matter"

Anonymous said...

It makes me cringe to think that someone would write something so horrible. To abort a baby not because of the life that he/she might have as a disabled, but because the hard life you might have as a parent, just simply isn’t right. One thing that I learned in observations and interviews with some people that have Down Syndrome is that even though we may think their lives must be difficult, they themselves don’t see anything wrong with them and live very happy lives. It is very wrong to make the decision to take away the life of a baby because you think they may suffer. Many of these children can have very happy and meaningful lives. I know from the ones that I have met that they are funny and very friendly. They are quick to say things to brighten your day and I don’t think that this world would be very nice at all without them there. Shame on the people who wrote that article.