As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, the whisper campaign against the unborn who are known to be “imperfect” as indicated by the genetic tests is subtle and quiet at first. “You have other children.” and “You can HAVE other children.” “If You Have OTHER children, they won’t necessarily have Down Syndrome so you could have Other children.” and taking you into a nice room with pastel wall covers and soft lighting and saying, “Your tests indicate Trisomy 21. You have a decision to make.”
Currently in the United States, much research generated through Autism Speaks, is focused on the cause, specifically identifying genetic markers in much the same way Down Syndrome is currently determined via amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS). While these tests have shown themselves to sometimes have false positives, the consequences of these prenatal screenings are far reaching and fatal. 90% of children with Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome are destroyed as result of that diagnosis before they are ever born. So should a marker be found, this test will be proscribed as part of good prenatal health.
If one day we have tests to reveal Autism as we do now Down Syndrome and maybe MS and Muscular Dystrophy and Parkinson’s and Cystic Fibrosis and eventually perhaps ADD and schizophrenia and perhaps predilections towards alcoholism or bi-polar, these too will be reasons to abort “for the greater good.” The euphemisms will emphasize our guilt in failing to abort. “You don’t want your baby to suffer do you?” Think of how hard or difficult their lives would be. To allow someone to suffer like that would be cruel.” It will be more cloaked and sophisticated than that, but the appeal will be to disguise selfishness, “I don’t want an imperfect child or one that pushes me to love more than I want to be bothered” as charity. “I don’t want my child to suffer.” It is the same argument used towards the elderly and the dying and the permanently disabled now. The quality of life determines the value and the quality of life itself is only determined by those who are not living it. “The Duty to die,” to not be a burden on the next generation is a pernicious and seductive theory to embrace as long as you are not actually the one getting old.
We will become a designer world by default, eliminating everyone not predetermined to be perfect. We will tolerate deviation eventually less and less as we quest to be perfect and anticipate and eradicate all flaws by aborting all who can be determined pre-birth to have flaws. We will be able to love fewer and fewer people well because we will be unable to bear people being beyond what we expect or needing more than we want to innately give.
Once we get to that point, what will stop us from eliminating those who come out not as advertised?
Copyright 2010 Sherry Antonetti