2012 Campaign Beginning to Raise Nation’s Consciousness about Down Syndrome

By Dave Andrusko

Rick Santorum recently expressed concerns about prenatal testing and abortion

GOP co-front-runner Rick Santorum is a lightning rod for criticism because when it comes to the life issues, he destroys euphemisms. Given that he is campaigning for President, not sitting behind a desk composing essays, sometimes his short-hand answers are either slightly off or can be misread, which allows anti-life forces to focus on the minutiae. But with respect to the Big Picture, the former senator from Pennsylvania could not be more right. Take amniocentesis and Down syndrome.

It is not accurate to say the only purpose of amniocentesis is to find imperfections so the baby can be aborted. Santorum didn’t say that. What he did remark in his interview with Bob Schieffer of “Face the Faith” last Sunday was ”Amniocentesis does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions,” adding, “That is a fact.”

Specifically what he was alluding to became clear a few minutes later when Santorum talked about the documented tragedy that 90% of women who receive a prenatal diagnose that their baby has Down syndrome go on to have an abortion. He and his wife, Karen, have a three-year-old daughter Bella who has Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of extra material from chromosome 18.

Slate.com is not a hotbed of pro-life conviction. But the conversation, the dialogue started by Santorum was so powerful that it caused someone there to recall what Slate aptly described as “Tucker Carlson’s classic essay on prenatal testing and the abortion of Down syndrome babies.”

That 1996 essay from the Weekly Standard was then reprinted Tuesday.

I will not spoil the essay by cribbing from it, or even running some excerpts. I would just say that the concluding paragraphs from a doctor who defended death by partial-birth abortion for babies who might be born with “problems … incompatible with a normal life,” such as Down syndrome, is something you will never forget.r

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