Friday, February 09, 2007

Maybe some good will come of it...

I always entertain great hopes.
- Robert Frost

Today, my friend, Nicole, blogged about yet another scientific "breakthrough" if you will. There has been new research that may allow scientists to identify babies who may be predisposed to autism. As the article states, this will allow you to "avail yourself of reproductive options."

Translation....we are hoping that we can perfect this test to the point that we can definitively identify unborn children with autism, thus allowing their parents to abort them.

Honestly, all of this technology is pointless save for that reason. We can fix you, and your baby, they promise -- through
annihilation of anyone deemed imperfect -- does this sound like any other time in the history of the world?

Think of all the ways that the millions of dollars that are being dumped into this research could benefit our world. Even if there was some magic formula that would make it mandatory for researchers to spend the same amount of dollars in education about such things as Down syndrome and autism as it does in the quest to remove these things from our world.

But, you know what I am hoping for? I am hoping that all of this media coverage, and all of these grand announcements that have been made lately will open the eyes of many, many people. I hope that it will start a moral and ethical debate that will flourish throughout universities, hospitals, doctors offices, clinics, schools, etc.

I have seen so many wonderful portrayals of people with Down syndrome in these last couple of weeks. I have read many accounts of people who are challenging this testing, and debating the need and purpose of it.

Perhaps we are selling our world short to think that just because the testing is there that everyone will subscribe to this "give birth to a perfect human" mentality. Perhaps it will actually make people stop and think...."if I seek out this information....what am I going to do with it when I get it?"

Maybe what we really needed was a little attention from people who might otherwise look the other way, and try not to think about the possibility of raising a child with T21 or autism.

Because you know what? I think we are doing a damn fine job "representin' " and I think our voices will be heard...loudly, proudly, clearly.


Tara Marie said...

I do believe that our children will be cherished, as oppossed to just being 'accepted' through this process of prenatal testing.

That was one of the things the Mother at danced asked me off the bat, she assumed that I did not 'know' that Emma Sage would have Down syndrome before she was born, and when I told her we had a soft marker at 12 weeks [and that I had a premonition at 8 weeks] and that we opted to not have an amnio and just went with a level II [and another soft marker pop on on that one] I KNEW. I think that is what really shook her, is that I think at that point she was rationalizing that her choice was one that most people would have made if they 'knew'....but here was Emma Sage and we 'knew'.

My sister and I were talking about she is a L&D nurse, and she said that lots of Mothers come through the maternity floor and their records indicate that the 'opted not to have the prenatal testing' so her hope is in the fact that many Mothers embrace and love their unborn child.......and don't test.

Wonderful post Betsy,,,,,as always, you inspire me, make me think and make me celebrate this amazing world we live in and all the beautiful people like you who are out and loving and celebrating!

Camille said...

atta girl! I am another example. No testing for me. Yet, I was 38. I am not really religious and I am sure not any better than anyone else. After my initial refusal, my doctor respectfully suggested that I read some litterature on the amnio, then if I still did not want the testing, he would tag along...
I simply could not put myself in a position where I (who am I) got to decide who was good enough to enter this world. Then came Emma and 6 years later, I am still very grateful of my decision... Have faith, Betsy, people are not duped that easily...Like Tara marie and her sister say, there are some women out there who, just like me, do not want these prenatal testing. And it's their right!!!

Shelley said...

I hope you are right. This week there is a new series on tv called 'saving babies' based on the children's NICU where Hannah and Kit were when they were born.

One of the stories on it is of a family who had an early diagnosis of T18. They had the experts painting a grim picture and a short painful life for the baby. The Mum says "There was a lot of pressure on me to terminate but I wanted to show people that you could still go ahead with something that was potentially traumatic and still make it a positive experience."

2 weeks before the birth the mother was told that the baby didn't have T18 at all but Varta syndrome - again with a horror list of post birth operations etc. As it happened the baby, a little girl, "only required one operation, six hours after birth, to put her liver back into her abdomen. She still has radial aplasia, but other than that she is fine."

I think that discussing such things and attitudes can only promote a more thoughtful approach to the heart of being a parent and understanding each person's innate value. Upon reflection I hope that most of us feel able to act with a high standard of integrity - and embrace parenting - after all by definition it is about losing control! So yes I hope that you are right and such testing does not mean an automatic entry to the world of eugenics.

Betsy said...

Shelley, I was told prenatally that Paige has a "less than 3% chance" of surviving for more than 10 minutes after her birth. I had so much pressure to terminate my pregnancy, and I was 28 weeks along.

Thank God, doctors can sometimes be very wrong.

But there are many people who will never challenge that; who cannot live on faith or even simply, the joy of the moment.

That's what I felt -- if my daughter was going to die at birth, NO ONE was going to take a single minute of our time together away from long as she was kicking and moving inside of me, she was mine, and I was hers...

Nicole said...

What if we took all the money spent on this testing and plastic surgery and SUV's gas, and the gas/electricity to heat the oversized houses...and and and. What a different world it would be. THEN people would truly deem themselves as perfect. Until then.....I look to people w/disabilities to continue to teach us! Love you Bets!