Have you ever met someone with a genetic disease? Chances are you have. There is also a chance that you have met someone who has a disease, but you have no idea that they do.
Down syndrome is one genetic disease that might be more apparent than some. As many know, there are several different tests that a mother can have while she is pregnant to find out if their baby will have this genetic disease.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus recently wrote an opinion piece about the topic. She notes several states are seeking to ban abortion on eugenic grounds. She wrote that if she had found out she was potentially having a baby with Down syndrome, abortion would have been her first pick.
She isn’t the first one to write about this issue, but her argument might be the most lifeless.
Since her March 9 article was published, many people (even members of Congress) have taken to news and social media to share their first-hand experience with Down syndrome, either through their own pregnancy or a person they know.
Down syndrome takes place in about 1 in every 700 births. Many of these women are told by their physicians or others that abortion is the best option for them. In her opinion piece, Ruth Marcus even wrote, “I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted.”
That’s what the entire abortion debate boils down to, isn’t it? This child is not what I want. This child is not good enough for me.
Just because these babies are a little different, or need a little extra care does not make them any less precious.
This latest opinion piece echoed the same sentiment of news out of Iceland that Down syndrome has been largely “eliminated” there. In reality, they didn’t eliminate Down syndrome, they just kill any baby unfortunate enough to have a positive test result before birth.
One big problem with prenatal testing is that it opens up the door to abortion for any characteristic. You can test for all sorts of things today, even physical features like hair or eye color. This problem is mentioned by Ruth Marcus, but waved away in her commitment to abortion-on-demand for any reason. What if Marcus’ parents didn’t like her hair or eye color? What if she had a genetic disorder herself?
Everyone should have a conversation with someone who lives with a genetic disease, especially someone who has a genetic disease that was detected in the womb, but is able to live a completely normal life. Maybe someone like Ruth Marcus will come to realize that we are more than our defects.
Many babies who have genetic diseases often aren’t even given the opportunity to live because they are merely classified as a “burden.” Well, every person is a burden at multiple times in their life. Is society only meant for the fit, wealthy, and independent? Is eugenics worth embracing?
There are also cases where women are told that their child might have a genetic disease when they are born, but when they are born they have no such disease. Apparently the lives of these children with false positives are simply collateral damage in our quest to avoid having to deal with the disabled.
Our society is obsessed with avoiding discrimination in any form, but unfortunately our society seems only too willing to discriminate against people based on their number of chromosomes.
No, Ruth Marcus, we don’t need to be able to get rid of people with Down syndrome. We need a society where every human life is valued for what they are, not what they can or can’t do for you.