Monday, October 17, 2011

WHAT HAVE WE BECOME?: Discarding Imperfect Children

In honoring National Down Syndrome Awareness month, I'd like to share with you an article written by a good friend of mine.  Derrick Bignell wrote this report for a college English course, of all things!  Wonder if it'll blow away his class and prof.

Derrick was kind enough to consider including one of our precious daughters with Down syndrome, Harper, as a tribute to the value of preserving such a life.  But in reading the report in its entirety, I think you'll agree that it's an important nudging at the decency of the human soul to end the horrific selective breeding we are practicing known as eugenics.

For the sake of brevity, I am publishing only an excerpt (albeit most of the article).  And I am reserving the bibliography for those who write to me to request it.

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REPORT TITLE:  People Throw Away the Darnedest Things

Every day, people throw away unwanted babies. A great many of those babies were diagnosed with birth defects.  We live in a society that wants perfect kids, free of illness and imperfection. People need to undergo serious introspection prior to the act of procreation, explore its potential outcomes and their own ethical values. Over the last ten years 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome have been aborted (Bauer). The modern practice of eugenics directly contributes to the in utero death of millions of our babies.

This beautiful smiling angel named Harper is one of the few fortunate children to survive this modern holocaust. Our ethically sterilized medical community actively practices eugenics by influencing individuals to discard imperfect babies, resulting in a significant decline of persons with Down syndrome and other birth defects. 

Eugenics is a disturbing idea that has been in practice since the ancient Greeks.  The term’s root is from the Greek word eugenes, meaning “good birth.” The act of leaving a less than perfect baby to die in the elements is a troubling thought. The Nazis of the 1940s underwent a massive eugenics campaign resulting in the horrifying death of over six million Jews, and today Western medicine practices it on our children. 

The eugenics theory is “the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits” (Dictionary.com). In the modern world, for decades, the belief in the theory was thought to be wrong, and today it still has negative connotations. But in fact, many of our obstetrics and gynecology doctors (Ob/Gyns) push the termination of defective fetuses (simple Latin for “little child”) violating their Hippocratic Oath.

According to New York Times columnist Amy Harmon, a parent of a Down syndrome child, writes, “Dr. Brian Skotko, a medical resident who has studied how mothers were told of prenatal diagnoses, found a high level of dissatisfaction. He said that most doctors have little or no training on how to relay a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome” (Harmon).

Is this a communications problem? Do our doctors need additional training in bedside manner?  Dr. Bruchalski (Ob/Gyn) states, “There is a move to prevent the birth of a baby with a disease or disability” (Fliteau). This is a fascinating, albeit, worrisome trend where one group of doctors plays the role of social scientist as well as moral, ethical, and genetic engineer.  Patricia Bauer, a Washington Post author and mother to a Down syndrome daughter writes, “The way the risk of Down syndrome is described makes a big difference in how it is perceived” (Bauer).  She also writes that her daughter’s pediatrician “tells me that years ago he used to have a steady stream of patients with Down syndrome. Not anymore. Where did they go, I wonder” (Bauer). Over time the population of people born with birth defects, fixed or not, will diminish due to the desire for perfect kids. Bauer pointedly states:

            And here's one more piece of un-discussable baggage: This question is a small but     
            nonetheless significant part of what's driving the abortion discussion in this country.
            I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the  
            rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure
            that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is
            not just about a woman's right to choose whether to have a baby; it's also about a
            woman's right to choose which baby she wants to have (Bauer).

Do we have a right to extinguish life based on how we define it? This is not the breeding of the perfect tracking dog or the fluffiest cat. These are the children of humanity, and they are a reflection of that humanity.  Still, many parents justify their intentions to eliminate ‘flawed” babies, saying it would be immoral and inhumane to allow them into this world where they will suffer through its poor short life. After all, it's just a child. But for many, the motivation is more sinister.

Columnist Harmon mentions, “...many parents see expanded testing as a step toward a society where children like theirs would be unwelcome. Newsweek columnist George F. Will labeled it a ‘search and destroy mission’ for a category of citizens that includes his adult son (with Down syndrome), Jon Will” (Harmon).

Is there a solution to this infanticide?  Will there be an end? After all, it has been happening for thousands of years.  Animals do it.  Why not us?

One activist states, “... what starts out as an American holocaust only becomes worse” (Chick). Eugenics today is practiced every day when the world’s precious imperfect babies are discarded to make room for more, for a humanity that thinks it would be better off without its humanity. 

7 comments:

  1. Romans 3-10:18 always plays in the back of my mind when I see the destructive ways of man.

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  2. Morning Bro - what you said. Your bride's post was equally brilliant BTW. Suffice to say that "one mans trash is another's treasure" - you and me - and the rest of us Dads out there who are Dad's by adoption - we know the richness that so many have discarded!

    Well said sir.

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  3. Wes, excellent Scripture. It makes me sad when I think that these people exist among us, with no shame. Thank you.

    Aus, as usual, appreciate your encouragement.

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  4. Wow. Wow. Do you mind if I share this?

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  5. Hi. I consider myself pro choice, but when I had an ultrasound that showed my child had a birth defect, I was appalled when my doctor seemed to push an abortion on me. Please, don't think that all people who lean pro-choice are necessarily anti-humanity. I know many stories of doctors pushing abortions on people carrying children like my daughter, and it saddens my heart that some (many) parents who WANT THE CHILD are scared into thinking it won't be ok for them to have one that is "less than perfect". This is a complicated issue, with lots of grey areas. Please be careful to paint with a less broad brush. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Hi. First of all, I want to thank you for your comment. I welcome you on my blog. I need to ask you, though, please tell an instance when NOT to "paint with a less broad brush" when it comes to abortion. The interesting fact about the pro-choice/pro-life discourse is that pro-life advocates try to focus the discussion on the right of the child, while pro-choice people focus on the right of the mother/family.

      To me, the argument is very logical. One MUST first determine if a fetus in the womb is a human life (of any sort--healthy or with special needs). THAT should always be the theme of ANY discussion on abortion. Because if one believes that it is a human life, our rights end! We as a mother or family are merely carriers of that life, and it is incumbent upon us to protect it at any cost.

      In this case, there is absolutely no grey area, as you suggest, is there? No longer does it matter if I can financially sustain this child. No longer does it matter if I hate the father of the child. No longer does it even matter if I was raped. Why kill a child because the father was a criminal?

      These are very hard questions for many, and I'm sure, including you. But notice here that I am not giving my opinion as a pro-lifer. I am opining from the standpoint of human ethics. If life exists in the womb, it is not ethical for anyone to extinguish it.

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