Mother of a Down Syndrome Child Talks About Prenatal Testing and the Incentive to Abort

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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Woman Bullied into Aborting Her Down Syndrome Baby

Marie Ideson was just over 16 weeks pregnant with a Down Syndrome child.

“I was bullied into going ahead with an abortion,” says Ideson, 46, a GP surgery manager. “I only wish I could turn back the clock. I think of the daughter I never had every day. I’ll always regret it.”

Ideson had an amniocentesis to determine if the baby she was carrying was disabled. She was told it was a routine part of pre-natal care. Four days later, she received a call from the hospital:

“A woman said, ‘I’m sorry to say your baby has Down.’ It was devastating. My first thought was, how will we cope?

“I told Allan I wanted to keep the baby and he agreed.”

Then she went into talk to the doctor, hoping that he would help her in her decision to keep her baby.

“We believed the hospital would be able to offer us reassurance that with the latest medical help, our baby would be OK. But doctors said she could be born needing emergency heart surgery and have bowel and muscle tone problems – and that was if she survived. At no time did anyone suggest we might keep our baby. A termination was presented as the only way forward.”

“A nurse said not aborting my baby would cause it to suffer, and she’d only become a burden on society if I went ahead. She even said, ‘99 per cent of women in your situation wouldn’t want the baby.’ Having it would be a burden on our other children, too, she said, especially if it was likely to need many operations throughout its life.

“Our children were at the hospital with us. I looked at them and thought the medical staff must be right.”

She decided to have the abortion, and took the tablet that would induce a miscarriage.

“I felt numb as I swallowed the tablet. I remember saying to Allan, ‘I just want to keep my baby.’ But he just kept saying, ‘But they must think the baby’s really bad, Marie – it’s for the best.’”

When she actually delivered her child, stillborn, she realized what a terrible mistake she had made.

“She was so small, but otherwise perfect. I started sobbing uncontrollably. What had I done? I realised I’d been bullied into taking that first pill. I felt overwhelmed by anger. I should’ve been sent home to think about all the options. It should’ve been pointed out that having my baby was an option and that, with medical advances, most Down babies go on to live happy lives.”
I felt so guilty and upset. I felt I should have kept her. And if Lillie wasn’t going to survive, I’d have been happier letting nature take its course.”

The abortion became an issue between Ideson and her husband.

“I knew he was devastated, too, but I was angry he’d allowed staff to rush me into getting rid of her. The feeling he didn’t support me when I needed him most festered between us.”

“The final straw came when I was in labour with Reuben [her next baby]. We were at home and the midwives wanted me to go to the hospital, but I told them I couldn’t go back to where I’d terminated Lillie. Allan tried to persuade me to go and, in the end, I had no choice. I felt, again, Allan hadn’t spoken up for me when I was at my most vulnerable. I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive him.”

Like many couples after abortion, they split up.

“My eldest sons are 25 now. When I was pregnant with them, I knew of women who had babies with Down syndrome. Today, I never see mums with Down babies. I can’t believe that everyone who finds out their baby has Down syndrome willingly chooses to abort it. I can’t help feeling that other women must be having abortions they don’t want.”

Alison Squire Smith ‘I was bullied into aborting my baby” Herald Sun December 4, 2011

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Abortionists Love Babies?

In a blog about a woman who was pregnant and working in an abortion clinic, an abortion provider said the following:

“We are not baby haters. Most of us adore babies and children. Some of us have even worked in child education. Many of us are mothers. We love babies. And we also honor your choice.”

The Abortioneers “Pregnant Abortioneers: We Still Love Babies” September 26, 2011

abortion at 11 weeks
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Abortion as an Act of Love

Merle Hoffman, who founded Choices, an abortion clinic in Queens, on her abortion:

“With my choice I was fighting for the right of all women to define abortion as an act of love: love for the family one already has, and just as important, love for oneself. I was fighting to reclaim abortion as a mother’s act. It was an act of solidarity as significant as any other I had committed.”

Irin Carmon “Abortion pioneer: Defend rights or lose them” Salon MONDAY, JAN 2, 2012

Abortion at 8 weeks. Is this an act of love?
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