By Dave Andrusko
When you’re brazenly defending the kind of abortions that makes most people (at a minimum) squirm, if not turn away, one option is to coat your advocacy with a layer or two of “oh isn’t this difficult” lacquer. The idea is this protective rhetorical shield protects you from the charge of utter hard-heartedness.
Which brings us to Ruth Marcus, who is the deputy editorial page editor for the reliably pro-abortion Washington Post, and her Saturday column headlined, “I would’ve aborted a fetus with Down syndrome. Women need that right.”
The first paragraph tells us about the “new push in anti-abortion circles”—that would be us—“to pass state laws aimed at barring women from terminating their pregnancies after the fetus has been determined to have Down syndrome. These laws are unconstitutional, unenforceable — and wrong.”
So the first coat of “don’t dislike me for saying this” lacquer immediately follows:
This is a difficult subject to discuss because there are so many parents who have — and cherish — a child with Down syndrome. Many people with Down syndrome live happy and fulfilled lives. The new Gerber baby with Down syndrome is awfully cute.
A few paragraphs down, the finishing coat:
I respect — I admire — families that knowingly welcome a baby with Down syndrome into their lives. Certainly, to be a parent is to take the risks that accompany parenting; you love your child for who she is, not what you want her to be.
But in between and after is me, me, and (did I mention?) me. Marcus tells us, “I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted. That was not the choice I would have made.”
Isn’t the point of prenatal testing, she asks? You find out if the kid you are carrying is a child “whose intellectual capacity will be impaired.” If so, you off him.
And she tells us, correctly, “I am not alone. More than two-thirds of American women choose abortion in such circumstances.” So, if Roe gave her “choice” and “everybody’s doing it,” well, who is anyone to pass laws banning aborting a child for the sole reason that he/she has Down syndrome?
Two quick points. At the end Marcus writes
Technological advances in prenatal testing pose difficult moral choices about what, if any, genetic anomaly or defect justifies an abortion. Nearsightedness? Being short? There are creepy, eugenic aspects of the new technology that call for vigorous public debate.
She doesn’t seem to grasp that killing unborn children because they have been prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome is an example of the “creepy, eugenic aspects of the new technology.” Or she doesn’t care.
And states that pass laws banning eugenic abortions, such as those for Down syndrome, have had “vigorous public debate.” Of course, that makes no difference to Marcus—it’s all posturing—because Roe means “these excruciating choices be left to individual women.”
Is it unkind to point out that such a choice does not appear to be the least bit “excruciating” to Marcus? Of her two children, she remarks, “I would have terminated those pregnancies had the testing come back positive. I would have grieved the loss and moved on.”
Ah, yes, “moved on.”
One other point, besides the fact that her column seems oblivious to the truth that genetic screening techniques are much more sophisticated, meaning places like Iceland can brag how they will soon be “free” of children with Down syndrome. She observes
Think about it. Can it be that women have more constitutional freedom to choose to terminate their pregnancies on a whim than for the reason that the fetus has Down syndrome.
Get it? It is a perverse recognition that children can be aborted for any reason, or no reason, as late in pregnancy as a woman wants. So, if that level of utter irresponsibility is constitutionally protected, surely women ought to be free to “terminate” the life of a child “whose life choices will be limited, whose health may be compromised.”
I wonder if people like Marcus ever seriously reflect on the cruelty of what they write.