Prejudice Against Down Syndrome

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I read an article by a mother in Ohio who has a daughter with Down Syndrome. In it, she advocates for the right to abort a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome. There are several things she says that I appreciate and agree with, and one that I don’t.

 

First –

She declined amniocentesis because she knew she would not abort her child if she were diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

This is something every pregnant woman in our modern culture has to face, and I appreciate her resolve, going in knowing that she would not have prejudice against a child because of this diagnosis.

Second –

She started essential therapies for her baby in the first few weeks after she was born.

It’s obvious this mother cares about her daughter. She invested time and money in equipping her to thrive, and is asking her state legislators to support other families whose members have special needs.

Third –

She says that, “People with Down syndrome are succeeding in the modern world in ways that would’ve seemed unimaginable just decades ago.” “Many attend typical schools — including college — and adults often live independently, have jobs, drive cars, fall in love and get married.”

I agree. It’s wonderful to see people who have both the unique gifts and challenges of Down Syndrome thriving in the world.

So, here’s where we disagree.

If a child is valuable, whether she has Down Syndrome or not, if she is worth having family and state resources invested in her, if she can be expected to thrive throughout life, then why should we support people in being prejudiced against her? It just doesn’t make sense.

Prejudice is an ugly, insidious belief that subtly conveys that someone is less valuable, less worthy, less human because of their unique circumstances. It’s tragic when any one of us devalues life like that, and it becomes an epidemic when we excuse others for doing it too.

 

And prejudice is tricky. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint it in our own hearts. After all, many plantation owners had nanny’s that they thought of like mothers, while still supporting the idea that black people deserved to be slaves. Prejudice is slippery like that.

 

That’s a great reason for abortion supporters to recruit the mother of a girl with Down Syndrome to promote abortion. Because it seems like she should be unbiased.

So what I’d like to say to this particular mom is that when Ohio passes a law that prevents a baby from being aborted because she has Down Syndrome, that law is meant not only to protect her while she’s in her mother’s womb, but also to protect her when she’s your daughter’s age, and older, from anyone thinking she is less valuable of a human being, or less deserving of care, investment and respect, because of how she was uniquely created.