Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Duty to Abort?!?

That's what Law Professor Elizabeth Schiltz fears society may decide...about children with Down's syndrome.

Zenit News Agency has this interview
Many prospective parents are waiting for years to adopt children with Down syndrome, according to a recent article in the Associated Press.

So why is there an extended wait for kids with special needs, who are usually more difficult to place with families? The reason might be: the growing acceptance of aborting babies with Down syndrome.

Elizabeth Schiltz, law professor at the University of St. Thomas and contributor to "The Cost of 'Choice': Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion" (Encounter Books), shared with ZENIT how aborting children with Down syndrome has not only become justified, but is almost considered a duty.

Schiltz also relayed her experience in receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for her son.
Q: Why do you think it has become socially acceptable to abort a child with Down syndrome?

Schiltz: Because, unfortunately, it has become socially acceptable to abort any baby who disappoints the expectations of the baby's parents for any reason, as the increasingly common practice of sex-selection abortion indicates.

Down syndrome just happens to be a disability that is easily identified through prenatal testing.

Not only have many come to accept that a woman faced with such news is justified in aborting her child, some now go further and insist that she has a duty to abort.

Bob Edwards, the scientist who created Great Britain's first in vitro fertilization baby, gave a speech a couple of years ago at an international fertility conference in which he said, "Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children."

This is frightening. It signals an erosion of societal consensus about our collective responsibility for vulnerable people.

Society will increasingly believe that a mother who forgoes an easy abortion and chooses instead to give birth to a disabled child should not look to the community for help. After all, it was her "choice."
My younger brother is mildly mentally retarded. He went to school with an extraordinarily talented young man with Down's syndrome. This friend of my brother's was himself friends with Chris Burke, who played Corky in the television series Life Goes On. They all knew these amazing gentlemen.

These are the people that NARAL and Planned Parenthood would encourage women to kill. These are the lives that our ever-enshadowed society would declare unfit. These are the ones that Reasonable people decide are not "quality" children.

Fools that we are, we insist on seeing their humanity before their disability. As unfashionable as we are, we'll see their worth as absolute, not relative to our comfort zones. As hopelessly medieval as we are, we'll welcome them as gifts, not burdens.

This doesn't mean I would want any of my children to have been conceived yesterday with Down's Syndrome. Far from it! However, any child that is born with a handicapping condition is still our child!

May God shower our society with mercy for failing to honor the most authentic innocents this earth has ever seen. May he forgive us for ever coercing women to murder them in the womb. Deliberate killing of the innocent is never a duty; it is a sin that cries out to heaven.

May we all come to accept this truth some day. Before it's too late.