I recently read your Twitter rant about your support of aborting babies with Down syndrome. It started with someone asking your opinion on the matter and you answered her, but then you continued. As I read your statements, I’ll go so far as to agree with you on one point you made – that the majority choose abortion. That’s a fact and I even wrote about it here. But I have no idea how you feel you are entitled to have an opinion concerning suffering and Down syndrome.
When you say, “Suffering should be avoided. Cause no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can,” in reference to whether someone should abort a baby with Down syndrome, that is pure ignorance.
When I think of suffering, there are a lot of things that come to mind.
I think about people fighting for their lives as they fight cancer.
I think of people around the world who are literally starving and thirsting to death for lack of food and clean water. Wouldn’t it be horrible to go to sleep hungry and wake up the same way with no end in sight?
What about the Holocaust? The innocent people held captive in concentration camps as they died from hard labor, hunger, hypothermia, and a multitude of other horrifying ways. Can you imagine how much they suffered? Just hoping it would end somehow?
Parents who have lost their children too soon in life are brought to my mind. What heartache.
How about adults who have to bury their own parents, and carry on in life without them?
September 11, 2001 brought a lot of suffering. Can you imagine being trapped in a burning building with no way out? And what about the families that lost their husbands, wives, parents, children, and friends that day? That kind of tragedy will cause a lifetime struggle with suffering for some people.
It would be really hard to lose your job, your house, and the ability to provide for yourself and your family, wouldn’t it? I’d probably consider that suffering as well.
In fact, suffering is defined as “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.” So based on that, everything that I just mentioned is absolutely considered suffering.
Knowing this, it’s completely inaccurate for you to declare that a child with Down syndrome being born will suffer. Or that their family will suffer. Or that the community that surrounds them will suffer.
We had a baby girl six months ago. Her name is Gracie. She was born with Down syndrome and we knew that diagnosis prenatally. We made the decision that her life was too valuable and precious to throw away. I won’t even bring our faith into this conversation since you and I are at polar opposite ends of that spectrum, but you can read about what we believe and why here. She has been an amazing addition and blessing to our family. She fits so perfectly.
When you look at our Gracie, she is not suffering.
Even after her open heart surgery a few weeks ago, she still isn’t suffering.
Her brother? He’s doing awesome. Definitely not suffering.
Her mom and dad? Grandparents? Aunts and uncle? No suffering there.
What about the community around Gracie? Is she causing them to suffer? Is she too much of a burden? So far, so good. Our community has rallied behind us to walk with us, encourage us, and love Gracie.
In fact, there was actually a study done to find out if families who had children with Down syndrome were happy. The findings? 97% of parents were proud of their children and 96% of siblings loved their brother and sister with Down syndrome.
Do you think this sounds at all like suffering?
You’re entitled to have an opinion in the pro-life/pro-choice conversation – but please, in all the knowledge you possess, understand that you know nothing about Down syndrome. You know a lot about being a professor and a writer, but you know NOTHING about Down syndrome.