- Websites on "pregnancy interruptions"
- A Paean to Eugenics
by Mary Wilt
Mary Wilt, a freelance writer from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the
mother of three, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome.
They miss their little angels, their children who have predeceased them
and gone to heaven. So they construct web pages in memory of these angel
babies. Each little one is listed by name, with a sweet saying from Mom,
the diagnosed condition which precipitated their death, and the date they
These sites are dedicated to the "courageous parents" who
have selectively terminated their pregnancies due to "poor prenatal
diagnosis." This is called an "interruption" in the special
lingo used on these pages, and an interruption, they explain, is not really
an abortion. As one site puts it: ". . . Interrupting the life of
a much wanted, much loved, much planned-for baby due to poor prenatal diagnosis
is an especially heartbreaking decision and should not be thrown into the
statistics with the abortions for other reasons . . ."
They note that with increased use of prenatal screening comes increased
diagnosis of certain conditions, and subsequently more abortions. And they
bemoan the fact that there are few "support programs" for those
women who choose to abort their less-than-perfect babies. These web pages
are designed to ". . . create a safe haven of encouragement and validation.
. . ."
They have made a decision that their children, many of them diagnosed
with non-lethal conditions like Down syndrome and spina bifida, should
not be born based solely on this diagnosis. Yet they don't want to be thrown
into the same lot as those who aborted for other "less valid"
reasons. And they want their reasoning - that the potential life was so
awful that death is preferable - to be validated. They seek encouragement
of some kind.
Pardon me if I fail to concur with any of this.
The number-one reason listed for interrupting these "heavenly lives"
is Trisomy 21 - Down syndrome. As the mother of a living, breathing, real-life
person with Trisomy 21, I find these pages outrageous. Amid the treacly
prose is a message of horror and hatred: these people are too awful to
be born. We have done the right thing. Encourage us. Validate us.
At great length they describe for us the sadness of the prenatal news.
They tell us about their decision to send their defective little fetuses
up to heaven, where they apparently play on some celestial field and where
they are normal! Not pitiful! Not deformed! They play as little perfect
angels, and no one makes fun of them. But though they were forced to make
this painful decision, this "heartbreaking choice", they miss
their little angels so.
In other words, their fetuses had no value as imperfect living beings.
Their only value is in celestial perfection. When they were potentially
alive, they were worthless because of their disability. Now they are perfected,
Perhaps because the majority of the little angels had Trisomy 21, there
is even a special page reserved for parents who have aborted for this reason.
To get the full flavor of this, you have to read the actual words: "...
we'll be discussing the special grief these parents experience, particularly
when they see children/adults with Down Syndrome. While we hope all parents
will learn something from this page, the main purpose to help parents who
have interrupted their pregnancies due to T-21 find validation in their
grief and support for the heartbreaking choice they made..."
What is it they hope parents will learn from this page? That people
with Down syndrome are to be greatly feared? That it is a good thing to
abort them? That sometimes ignorant people make fun of people with mental
retardation, so it is best if they are not born?
The people who put up these web pages availed themselves of their rights
under the law and had abortions due to a prenatal diagnosis of a condition
that they felt was not conducive to life, for whatever reason. They did
not "interrupt" their pregnancies, they aborted their fetuses.
This should have remained a personal decision between them and their doctors.
Instead, they have whitewashed these abortions with sentimental words and
lovely pictures of angels and clouds. These pages are a paean to eugenics.
They romanticize the decision to abort for a prenatal diagnosis of Down
syndrome and other non-lethal conditions.
I am horrified by these little angel babies. I am disgusted to read
that their mommies want validation for deciding they were worthless. And
on behalf of all the real mommies of real little babies with Down syndrome,
I want to say I am profoundly sad for these women's decisions.
The sites: A Heartbreaking Choice
and The Grey Area
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