One of the most tragic results of legalized abortion in our country is the destruction of millions of children based solely on the fact that the child has some sort of disability. This is most prevalent for children diagnosed with Down syndrome (“DS”), as estimates are that 80%-90% of these children are aborted.
Virtually all ob/gyns offer a simple blood test early on in pregnancy that looks for abnormal hormone and protein levels present in babies with Down syndrome. Even though these basic tests only predict the possibility that a child has Down syndrome and are not able to diagnose that the baby does, in fact, have a chromosome abnormality, many doctors are still quick to recommend abortion if the test results indicate any problem. Women are often unexpectedly confronted with the problem and the accompanying recommendation to abort their child – with the added pressure to make a quick decision.Sadly, mothers are rarely presented with the resources available to them, the now-routine procedures to correct common physical abnormalities, or information on improved life outcomes for children and families affected by Down syndrome. Many ob/gyns will tell patients about potential physical defects that the child may have or the burden the child will be on their family. Doctors recommend abortion, tacitly stating that the young life isn’t good enough to let live any longer.Beyond the inherent value in every life, new research confirms that abortion isn’t the best option and that children with Down syndrome provide their parents with the same pride, happiness, and joy that any other child would provide.
In a July, a groundbreaking study was published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics titled “Having a Son or Daughter With Down Syndrome: Perspectives From Mother and Fathers.” The report revealed that the experiences of parenting a child with DS were overwhelmingly positive. Of the 2,044 parents surveyed, 99% said they loved their daughter or son with DS, and 97% responded that they were proud of their child. Siblings of children with DS were positively impacted, as well. Ninety-five percent of siblings have a good relationship with their brother or sister who has DS, and 84% of parents believe their other children are more caring and sensitive to others as a result of their sibling with DS.
The recent study is profound evidence that outcomes for families of children with DS are not overwhelmingly negative as stereotypes often portray. The love shared among these families exists as it does in any home and advances in social, educational, and vocational opportunities for these children have immensely improved their life potential. Where the burden of parenting a child with DS is too great, adoption options exist just as they would for any other child – in fact, there are waiting lists of families who want to adopt children with DS
. With so many willing to love and care for these children, the potential for Down syndrome shown by an unreliable test should never result in a “default” abortion.