Mother of mentally challenged son speaks out

From the mother of a developmentally delayed child:

“As the parent of a disabled child, I have experienced firsthand the transformed perspective on life possible when one is given the opportunity to live with those who confound our expectations, who have too much or too little of a range of expected human traits, who experience life in a way that must remain opaque to the majority of normally functional human beings. What my parents’ generation would have called Declan’s “mental retardation,” we termed his “developmental disabilities.” But what was neither retarded nor disabled was an infectious enthusiasm for life which illuminated any interaction with him, and ability to give and receive love that was uncomplicated by the egoism, self-awareness, or self-consciousness of a “typical” child. Parenting this child forced us to reconsider our conception of what qualities and capacities made life worth living; they joy my son clearly took in life and the joy he gave us compelled such a reevaluation.”

Shelley Burtt “Which Babies?” Tikkun January 2001

Quoted in Christine Watkins, ed. The Ethics of Abortion (New York: Greenhaven press, 2005) 72

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About Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a freelance writer and journalist who works for Live Action. She is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life.
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