Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I had a lot of contact with kids affected by Down Syndrome when I was younger. There was a Camphill community not far from where I lived that catered for a number of them. I used to visit them from time. The kids were usually joyful, happy, laughing. There was a moral dimension, too . . . according to classical theology, they literally could not commit sin, because they were not capable of understanding or applying concepts such as morality. According to what I studied at seminary, they were deemed perpetually innocent. Be that as it may, I learned early and often that their mental disability did not make them any less lovable or 'special' as human beings. They deserved life, and the opportunity to pursue happiness, as much as I did.
That's why it's so tragic to learn that in the USA, up to 85% of babies diagnosed in the womb as possibly - not definitely, possibly - suffering from Down syndrome are aborted. This isn't done for any reason affecting the health of the mother; it's done because an arbitrary decision has been made that such children aren't worth the extra effort, or 'trouble', involved in raising them. Even worse is the fact that testing for Down syndrome is not infallible - in fact, I understand there's a significant 'false positive' rate. That means perfectly healthy, normal children are being aborted for no reason at all.
There's a sobering, thought-provoking article about this tragedy over at First Things. I highly recommend that you take the time to click over there and read it. No matter whether or not we agree about abortion or related matters, I think most will agree that this is a tragedy with many facets and dimensions. It's made worse when competing influences, interest groups and moral perspectives clash headlong over what to do about it. Inevitably, the ones who suffer most are those who are most directly affected by the conflict . . . the innocent children in the womb.