From a woman who had prenatal testing which showed that her son had Down Syndrome, yet chose to give birth to him and parent:
“Experiencing this testing sequence firsthand, however, gave me some insights into the potentially pernicious efforts of the prenatal testing process. The tests are all offered in the guise of “reassurance.” They all carry with them the implication that the responsible mother can and should do something constructive with the results: take extra iron if she’s found to be anemic, take AZT if she has HIV, abort the baby if he has Down Syndrome. If you lack the financial or other resources to raise a child with a disability, you could easily be swayed by an argument that the knowledge you now possess about the child gives you the responsibility to do something constructive to solve the problem – by doing away with the child.
Now, this argument could obviously be a powerful incentive for a person to choose an abortion. Going through this process personally made me acutely aware of its power…. What surprised me was that people did not stop making this argument once I had rejected it during the testing phase. When I started telling people that the baby I was expecting would have Down Syndrome, colleagues asked me incredulously, “Why are you having this baby?”… [After the baby was born] I found, to my astonishment, that society still kept asking that question – why did you have this baby? I have seen people react with marked surprise when they hear that I knew Petey would have Down Syndrome before he was born. Though they do not ask aloud, you can see the question in their eyes: “if you knew, why did you have the baby?” What’s buried in that question, deep in their eyes, is the perception of my son as a “choice” – specifically, my choice – rather than a unique human being created in God’s image, a full-fledged member of the human race.”
Elizabeth R Schlitz. “Living in the Shadow of Monchberg: Prenatal Testing and Genetic Abortion” in Erika Bachiochi. The Cost of “Choice”: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion (San Francisco, CA: Encounter Books, 2004)
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