“We ended little Dot’s life because we didn’t want her to endure a lifetime of pain.”
An Australian woman reveals in an anonymous letter to MamaMia, that was re-published by the Daily Mail, the 'excruciating decision' to terminate the life of her unborn child who was diagnosed with Down syndrome. She describes the immeasurable pain of termination and how she has to live with that every day.
Approximately 90% of women terminate their pregnancy after Down syndrome is diagnosed. Lately support groups have cropped up online where women talk about the pain resulting from their decision. There is also a book and website compiling sad stories. With the intensification and revolution in genetic screening that is currently happening, we can expect to see a lot more of these published in the media.
If women had glass bellies, abortion wouldn't be so common
Dot's mom writes about her own emotional pain before and after the abortion. Like in other abortion-stories, a description of the actual procedure is omitted. Modern technology shows us what happens inside pregnant bellies: a video circles the internet showing a 16-week old fetus 'singing' and responding to sounds. Details like fingernails can be seen at 19 weeks development. A doctor once said: if women had glass bellies, abortion wouldn't be so common.
Unfortunately late-term abortion is a shockingly medieval and torturous procedure compared to the technologically advanced screening that preceded it. Babies are not anesthetized while their nervous system are completed during the second trimester: the fetus responds to touch and can feel pain.
Tears stream down my face. It hurts to read how mothers ended the lives of their wanted children for reason of Down syndrome. It is horrendous to read the lies that are spread to justify personal decisions. “We felt we couldn’t stand by and watch her as she struggled physically and intellectually throughout her (possibly short) life.”
I feel for this woman's pain. I really do. But why does no-one wonder about these babies or the mothers of children with Down syndrome? Are their lives not worth living? Are mothers selfish for declining screening or 'choosing' to give them a 'life of pain'?
People with Down syndrome: the happiest on this planet
I have two daughters with Down syndrome. Healthy as horses. Yes, they do sometimes struggle in school. Just like most kids. Hazel, the youngest, is bilingual and reads English. She knows she has Down syndrome. She reads the words on my computer when I write another piece about our family; hoping to inspire and spread awareness. My daughters don't suffer. In fact American research has found they are part of the happiest group on the planet. What will Hazel think when she reads these stories of selective abortion one day, when I cannot hide them from her anymore.
My daughters are not a reflection of my 'selfish' or 'brave' choice. They are full fledged and incredibly inspiring human beings. Having Down syndrome is not a choice. Neither is being a woman, or a man, being colored, transgender, having a different sexual preference, a high IQ or short legs. The artificial 'choice' that is forced upon people is to terminate the lives of babies based on any of these human traits.
Having a baby with Down syndrome is not the short end of a straw
While pharmaceutical companies slickly promise 'peace of mind', governments act as their representatives. They try to justify the systematic mass eradication of a group based on their distinct genetic traits by pretending it is 'healthcare'.
In this highly profitable genetic screening and selection market pregnant women are seen as consumers who have a 'right' to a 'perfect' child. Unborn children are reduced to objects of their desires and wants. A diagnosis of Down syndrome should not be perceived as receiving the short end of a straw: “it felt like the most unfair news you could possible receive.... We were both fit and healthy and tried to be good, ethical people. We gave up on eating meat a few years ago....And this happened to us?”
Pregnant women are victimized by the sorting society
Less than a week ago I wrote a piece on a French ban that was imposed on showing the video “Dear future mom” on French television. The State Counsel deemed the smiling faces “inappropriate” and “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices”.
Dot's mom pleads more women and celebrities to come out and talk about their selective abortion. I plead for a ban of these stories in the media. I think it is inappropriate to misinform and exaggerate the symptoms of Down syndrome to ease the conscience of post-abortion woman. It hurts and discriminates those who made different life-choices and those who live with Down syndrome.
True consolation is found by realizing that women too, are victims in this mortifying sorting society.
Renate Lindeman is spokesperson of Downpride and a representative of Saving Down syndrome. Downpride investigates the world behind prenatal screening. A world where financial stakes, conflict of interest and deeply rooted prejudices demarcate your 'free choice'.