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


Monday, March 22, 2010

3/21/10 World Down Syndrome Day

"Your search yielded no results"

Rarely does this statement cause me happiness when it appears on my computer screen. Typically it means that I haven't been able to find what I was looking for. But today, I smiled happily at my computer screen. They get it. You see, I searched the Down Syndrome International website for the word "prevention" and received that message. I say again, they get it.

You see, people who know people with down's syndrome, are typically much less likely to want to be rid of it. That is probably because the only way to be rid of it is to be rid of the people who have it. I believe that only those who have never had an interaction with a person with down's syndrome would want to be rid of them, at all costs, including prenatally diagnosing their presence and killing them. But in the warped minds of the pro-choice world, this is totally acceptable...perhaps.

Bill Armer (2007) writes the following in, Eugenetics: a polemical view of social policy in the genetic age.
It is sometimes suggested by scholars that eugenics was some form of pseudoscientific aberration of the first half of the twentieth century which is nowadays of historical interest perhaps, but has no place in contemporary scientific society...Nonetheless, eugenic ideology, and particularly ideas that the human race may and should be 'improved', is certainly extant today...The fundamental issue to be borne in mind is that the overt eugenics movement in the west had two key values: the 'improvement of the human stock' and the avoidance of financial drain on society." (p. 1).

Armer discusses the term "provisional pregnancy" which is clearly related to women carrying a baby with down's syndrome among other 'obvious' reasons for abortion (obvious to the medical profession it would seem). Pregnancy is now provisional untill the experts can council us as to whether or not our children are 'viable' or in some way 'worthy' of birth. Funny how your ideas will sometimes "come home to roost" as the saying goes.

Armer also quotes Alison Davis (1987, Women with disaiblities: abortion and liberation in Disability, Handicap & Society, p. 283)
...the mainstream women's movement has made the mistake of transferring our oppression to the unborn...it becaue natural to eliminate or ignore those (with) conflicting interests who were too vulnerable to fight back...the mainstream women's movement claims to support women with disaiblities and help them fight against their double oppression [as women and as disabled people], but I do not now believe that it is possible to do so while...defending so aggresively the 'right to choose' to kill unborn children because they suffere from exactly the same disabilities.

The human genome project will only convolute these issues as there will be more to 'assess' in order to 'prevent'. To cut the doublespeak, more children will be diagnosed prenatally as having an undesirable characteristics and then killed through abortion. How people can support and fight for rights of individuals at one point in their lives and work voraciously to kill them at another point in their lives is simply hypocritical.

So God bless Down Syndrome International. May they always be found on the side of life for people with down's syndrome and all people. In terms of down's syndrome, prevention=death.

McNair

9 comments:

Alyssa said...

I have just begun working daily in a classroom with a high school group of children who have Downs Syndrome. I have completely fallen in love! I love this group of children. They are my favorite part of the day! I love working in the classroom with these students and they fill my heart with such joy and a happiness I cannot explain. I love that the search came up with nothing! There should not be a prevention of Downs Syndrome! I could not agree more with you. People who want to get rid of Downs Syndrome means that they want to get rid of the people who have the disability. If people would just move past stereotypes and take the time to get to know these individuals, we would find out that they are normal. Most of the people are productive members of society and are perfectly capable of living on their own. Others with this disability are still sweet and have the mentality of a toddler. I have met individuals with both characteristics and either way, they are the sweetest people I have met. They just want to be happy and make friends. Why would anyone be so ignorant to want to kill someone who is kind?

john said...

When Bill Armer (2007) writes in, Eugenetics: a polemical view of social policy in the genetic age, "The fundamental issue to be borne in mind is that the overt eugenics movement in the west had two key values: the 'improvement of the human stock' and the avoidance of financial drain on society." (p. 1).
I often worry particularly about the second issue, the financial burden to society. With the government now in charge of health care, what is to stop them for fiscal reasons demanding the aborting of suspected Down's, or other "abnormal" children that would obviously cost more to deal with than "normal" children.
We as special educators need to be vigilante in our use of other peoples money when meeting the needs of our students. Overburdened governments will have ammunition against special needs students if it costs five to ten times as much to educate them. I worry about that back-lash, and the threat it poses to the very students these expensive programs were created to help.

Anonymous said...

Every one was created for a reason and has a purpose for their lives! God does not make "mistakes" and we should not be so ignorant to attempt to play God and dictate who has a right to live and who does not. Granted the parents of children with disabilities would not tell you their life is easy, but who's life(regardless of disabled or healthy)really is easy? We need to leave it up to God to decide who lives and dies! For the families of those with disabilities we need to welcome them into our homes, churches, community! They need love too, just as much as you and I do!

Jenni said...

It is true that “those who have never had an interaction with a person with down’s syndrome would want to be rid of them”. Actually meeting with someone who has a disability gives a face and a personality to the disability. No one would kill a person that they have met who has down’s syndrome, and yet many doctors today attempt to convince parents that they should abort their child with down’s syndrome. We look at eugenics as something the Nazis practiced 60 years ago, and yet the same ideology is present today in hospitals across America. It is through getting to know people with disabilities that the falseness of this ideology can be revealed.

Sanctorum Communio said...

WOW! Great post! I am right in line with your view of Eugenics. It is still alive and active today. As long as prenatal testing and abortion exist eugenics will exist. What is life? and when will we start to protect it in the process of one's life? will it be at birth? will it be at 6 months when that life becomes viable after a heart surgery to keep that child with DS alive? WHEN? There has to be a ultimate standard? That standard is set up by God, "for you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mothe's womb." psalm 139:13.

Anonymous said...

I personally have worked with special needs and one of my favorite kids that i worked with was a down syndrome. this little girls was the cutest little girl, she had such a personality and loved telling jokes. To think that someone would want to hurt let alone kill them,is just horrible. I can understand someones fear in raising a child with down syndrome but they should really do there research before they make a decision. I personally would be scared to raise any child with a disability, but if i had a strong partner that would be there with me through all the challenges i would be less scared and worried.

Anonymous said...

I personally have worked with special needs and one of my favorite kids that i worked with was a down syndrome. this little girls was the cutest little girl, she had such a personality and loved telling jokes. To think that someone would want to hurt let alone kill them,is just horrible. I can understand someones fear in raising a child with down syndrome but they should really do there research before they make a decision. I personally would be scared to raise any child with a disability, but if i had a strong partner that would be there with me through all the challenges i would be less scared and worried.

Megan said...

It is horrible that people do not see a problem with killing these children because they are "undesirable". I came across an article that talked about a couple who were actually suing their obstetrician because they had done a test and ruled out developmental disabilities and then their baby was born with Down's Syndrome. They said that if they had known they would have terminated the pregnancy. I cannot even imagine the pain that this little girl is going to feel when she is old enough and realize that her parents would have killed her had they gotten the correct information. People like this make me cry.

Bill said...

I chanced upon this article by Jeff McNair simply because my name (Bill Armer) is cited as a source. I do not address Down's Syndrome directly, having a broader Disability Studies view, but the 'search and destroy' attitude of prenatal medicine towards DS is a prime example of what I see as the danger of 'eugenetics' (a fusion of eugenic ideology and genetic technology). I would like to make it absolutely clear that I am fundamentally opposed to this disvaluing of human life.
'John' in his comments worries about financial concerns. So do I - the Nazis began their killing spree with an attack on 'useless eaters' lodged within German asylums, and I see depressingly little moral difference between targeted abortion and Nazi social policy in this area. Indeed, in the 1930s Nazi Germany became the first industrialised country to legalise abortion, on eugenic grounds.
Readers who are interested in this topic might find my 2005 PhD thesis informative. It is entitled 'In the shadow of genetics...' and is freely downloadable in pdf format at www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/armer/Bill.pdf