I’ve written before about the Down syndrome holocaust happening in our country and around the world. For every ten babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome, only one will get to live. The other nine will be killed, simply because they have an extra chromosome.
Many people blame the prenatal testing. But that isn’t the problem – the tests just provide information. The problem is how our society views Down syndrome. Consider this perfect example, where a couple reveals the results of their prenatal test on the Today show. Matt Lauer congratulates them on their good news, and then the mother remarks that they’re “safe” from Down syndrome.
That’s poor word choice, at the very best.
Not many people would pray for a child with special needs. I understand that. But to phrase Down syndrome so negatively is exactly why people feel that getting a negative result is “good” news, or that Down syndrome is something that they need to be “safe” from. This implication that Down syndrome is a curse to be avoided is disturbing and insulting. The Today show had an opportunity to do something good here, and instead, they perpetuated the same negative stereotypes.
People use Down syndrome as an insult. They say people with disabilities lead meaningless lives. People talk about making mercy-killings of the disabled legal. Parents have even filed wrongful birth lawsuits because they had babies born with Down syndrome. And now, we have Matt Lauer giving a couple the “good news” that they are “safe” from Down syndrome on a television show that reaches millions of viewers.
And we wonder why so many mothers abort their baby after a prenatal diagnosis?
We need to stop defining children by the number of chromosomes they have, or by the diagnosis of a disability. That doesn’t affect their worth. Parenting, and loving your child, should not be reliant upon having a “perfect” child.