autism · Down syndrome

In Defense of My Position on Abortion and Down Syndrome

I wasn’t going to respond to the following comment I just received on My Angry Down Syndrome Awareness post that I wrote last year. This person’s statements had been well crafted and had the ring of something she’d probably said a thousand times before. Someone who comes and posts such a thing is not easily swayed. I haven’t been able to get the things she said out of my head though, because too many women have been deceived into believing the same thing. I write this too, because I’ve received MANY other emails and comments that echo the same following sentiments:

“Terminating a pregnancy due to down syndrome diagnosis might be the wrong choice for you, but it could absolutely be the right choice for someone else. It could also end up being the most selfLESS and responsible and loving decision they could make in the context of their situation.

It’s not your place to tell anyone that such a personal decision is the wrong choice for them, anymore than it was that miserable womans place to judge the mum in your grocery store story.

Life can suck if you have a child with down syndrome, that’s just the reality of the situation.

Just as it’s the reality of the situation that life can suck if you have what society deems to be a perfectly “normal” child.

What it all comes down to is that you really have no clue what effect the decision to bring a child into the world will have on someone else’s life, because it’s just that – someone else’s life. Someone else’s emotional capacity, someone else’s environment, someone else’s temperament, someone else’s patience level, etc.

I think perpetuating the ‘you’ll adapt when they get here’ myth is extremely harmful. That’s just not the way it works for everyone. Every child is different and everyone experiences motherhood in a different way.

This diversity in experiences is why we need to learn to respect each others choices instead of judging. If someone doesn’t want to raise a child with down syndrome, then they should be able to make the decision not to. If someone doesn’t believe that life begins at conception, then you should respect that and acknowledge that to them – making the decision to abort has nothing to do with terminating a life.

You’re more than entitled to believe that G-d stepped in and directed sperm to yours and every Maury Povich guests eggs because it was ~meant to be~, but some people view the process of procreation very differently.
 I used to work with abused and neglected children, and it’s amazing how resilient they can be. Babies and special needs kids especially, can go through the unimaginable and still find it within themselves to throw out smiles that can light up a room.

Cute smiley happy baby pictures shouldn’t be used as justification for “choosing life” or making certain parenting choices.

Those cute smiley babies still experience real pain and often grow up to be very screwed up broken adults as the result of no one thinking about what their quality of life would be like once they’re here.

Children should not be used as little emotional test drive dummies. ” 

 First off, I’m pretty sure the person who wrote this, “Grace,” did not read the blog post in it’s entirety. She would have seen that the purpose of that post was not to talk about the legality or even the ethics of abortion as a whole. I made -and have never made- any references to “life beginning at conception” because I don’t know that it does (before those of you who do believe it does start throwing stones, make sure that you’ve never used birth control or an IUD before…).  I don’t believe that God personally directed the sperm to the egg or even that he had a hand in her having an extra chromosome.  I said in my other post that it was “meant to be” because I believe that people are born certain ways, whether it be born with Down syndrome, autism or anything else that will define who they are in life, because that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.  I believe that my children are children of God. But I’m not sure God has his hands in ALL things. I think we make choice to procreate, and that leads to offspring- and a million things could go wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it) in that process. Does that mean that it was all God’s doing? Absolutely not. It’s why I say it so often that children with special needs ARE NOT sent to special people.  But this is life. It’s taking what happens and CHOOSING to do the best with what we are given.

Tell me how terminating a baby with Down syndrome is SELFLESS?  Did you read the statistics given in the post? These people grow up to live happy, fulfilling lives. And you can’t really use the argument that “it’s just not the right time for them to have the baby…” in this case. How many mothers who are going to abort anyways spend the money and time getting the baby tested for genetic abnormalities? That doesn’t make ANY sense. Sure, in our country, a woman has the right to choose to abort her pregnancy. But that’s not the case here. These are babies that would not have been aborted if they weren’t found to have Down syndrome.

 And I’ll say it again, at what point does our becoming parents become contingent on having the perfect baby?  Do you realize that your chances of having a child with autism are 1 in 88? What then? Do you say you can’t do it and give them up? It’s the same argument you are giving for aborting a child with Down syndrome.

You say that life can suck for someone with Down syndrome just as much as it can suck for any “normal” person. So based on that argument, why have kids at all? What I was trying to say in the post is that it DOES NOT SUCK more for people with Down syndrome as it does for the society at large. And if you look at the statistics, it almost seems as if it sucks less.

I think that aborting a baby because it has Down syndrome is the wrong choice. But it is a choice. My problem with the statistics about abortion and Down syndrome is that this choice is being based on faulty information. An article by Debbie Marsh on Disaboom.com shows the data behind this assertion:

A 2000 study found that nearly 25% of physicians who explain prenatal test results put a negative spin on a finding of Down syndrome, or actively encourage the parents to terminate the pregnancy. Furthermore, a 2005 survey of mothers with Down syndrome children uncovered a similar bias within the healthcare community when such a child was born.

Mothers reported their obstetrician telling them that they had “awful” news, or commenting about a newborn that “this could have been prevented … at an earlier stage.” In reality, a child with Down syndrome usually has only mild to moderate cognitive delays, and can make many positive contributions to society.

It may largely be a problem with how doctors in the U.S. are trained. Fully 45 percent of obstetric fellows report that their instruction on how to deliver a prenatal diagnosis is “barely adequate” or “nonexistent.” And 81 percent of medical students say they’re not getting any clinical training in how to talk with people who have intellectual disabilities.         

http://www.disaboom.com/parenting-and-family-general/abortion-rate-affected-by-down-syndrome-test

 You are right, Grace. It’s not my place to judge those who make such a decision. All I can hope to do is inform them about the REALITY of having a child with Down syndrome, because I have one. I live with Down syndrome every single day. It’s not always easy. But I’ve learned firsthand that the stereo-type that exists in society that people with Down syndrome “suffer” and are “drains on society” is wrong.

I want women who receive a prenatal diagnosis to know all of the facts before they make such a decision. I want them to know that there are over 200 paper-ready couples who are waiting for a child with Down syndrome specifically. I want these women to understand the life outcomes for people with Down syndrome.  They need to understand the medical complications. They also need to know that most people with Down syndrome aren’t the image they have in their heads. Thus the “Cute smiley happy baby pictures.” Because Abby is cute, she is happy. And she is ADORED.

I didn’t know how hard it would be having a child with Down syndrome when Abby was born. I did not know how long the nights would feel as I laid awake next to her watching her struggling to breathe. But I also had no idea how great it would be. How this little 2 year old has changed the way I view the world. How I view myself. I had no idea how adored she would be. People stop us every where we go to oggle over her. I had no idea what a support system I’d have within the Down syndrome community. I want other women to know that it will be okay. That it’s good. That it’s SO good.

As always, please share…

37 thoughts on “In Defense of My Position on Abortion and Down Syndrome

  1. Really, when people say "you shouldn't tell other people whether they should raise a child or not", what they are really saying is, "you shouldn't tell a women whether she should go through pregnancy and childbirth or not." Because adoption lines are freaking looooooong! A woman in the U.S. is not forced to RAISE a child she doesn't want (except in the case of absent fathers refusing to concede parental rights–But that is not this story). Pro-choicers NEVER mention adoption as an option to not raising a child. Only abortion. And they never say "I just don't want to be pregnant or give birth". They always make it an issue about the rest of their lives. Which it isn't.

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    1. Mishqueen,
      This is such an accurate point to make. It is always about the rest of their lives with no regard to the option of adoption. I agree 100%.

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  2. @Mishqueen: Well to be fair pregnancy can be very taxing and harmful to a woman's health should it continue into labor and delivery. It is a lot safer to get an abortion. But I would not choose to abort an imperfect child. I read in horror about a couple that had a son with a similar heart defect to my son's and they chose to not get the surgery that would have saved his life because they were worried about the child's quality of life. My son lives a very normal life and had a great outlook so it is flabbergasting that they would have picked death over life. I can't understand people that think like that.

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  3. This is beautiful and so hope-filled. I love that you are showing people the other side to raising a kid with Down Syndrome. I remember being pressured to get testing when I was pregnant because I was on the older side. And the doctor, rather than saying it would help me prepare–which I could see being a really good thing–focused on aborting the baby, etc. I decided to forego the tests.

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  4. Actually, I am pro-choice, and I am a big advocate for adoption, and I don't like the word 'never'. It's just that women should have the right, in my opinion, to make any and every choice regarding their lives. That's it. The government should not intervene. Women are sentient human beings capable of making decisions. Far be it from me, or anyone, to tell someone what they should or should not do. I would not presume to tell you (or anyone else) what to do in this scenario. This also happens to be why I take some offense with this post and the prior post– the one that spawned the comment and the follow-up. I don't like it when people tell others they are wrong, or do anything that may impede their choice. The law protects the right to choose. You are allowed to choose one way, and someone else is allowed to choose the other, if they wish. There are better ways to educate or persuade people to your line of thinking than to label them 'wrong'.

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  5. Hi Lexi, I don't think you know me but I know of you. I am married to the oldest son of the Young's, your sister Shelby's best friends, and I also know your mom. I have a 4-year-old autistic son and an almost 2 year old son named Bryson with Down's Syndrome. I have been following your blog for a while now but haven't commented on anything until now. I appreciate the positive things you post about autism and down's syndrome. I absolutely adore both my boys and also try to see the positive points of their disabilities. Of course there are challenges, but all kids have their challenges in some way or another. I look at it like I know that I can teach them basic life skills that may be challenging to them eventually, but the sweet little spirits that they come with, their neverending love and forgiveness of me, and their countenance cannot be taught but seems to be very prevalent in children with special needs. I would never change the way my kids are, their disability is part of who they are, and I have never wished they are someone they are not. Thank you for being so open about your challenges, joys, etc. as it lets me know I am not alone in this.

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  6. Hi Sarah!Thank you for your thoughtful, well articulated and CALM response. I think this subject gets so out of hand when people raise it to name calling and anger. And I feel the same as you. You're right, I don't like the word 'never,' too. I'm sorry that these posts offended you. That is not my intent, though I know I'm not going to ever be able to write a post that isn't offensive to at least part of the people who read. What you're missing here is neither of these posts talked about taking away a women's right to choose. What I was trying to do is help women to understand the reasoning why I say that aborting a child simply because they have down syndrome is the wrong choice. I can understand your offense at me saying it's wrong. I get that. That is MY moral view on it. But given that this is MY blog, I feel I have the liberty to say these things, especially as I am advocating only MORE understanding of the issues that surround the reality of life with Down syndrome, more training to professionals who give prenatal diagnosis and dispelling the stereotype that people with Down syndrome cannot lead productive and wonderful lives. But going back to what you said earlier, you're right. I should not use the word "never." My only exception to this, again, in my point of view, is if that child will not live anyways. I would not want to force a mother to carry that pain for any longer than she wanted to.This post does not advocate changing laws. The laws regarding abortion have been around for decades, and no one, not even Bush when he was in office and had the support of both houses of congress, was able to do anything that diminished a woman's right to choose (I get that it's a supreme court decision- but I wanted others reading this to see that voting based only on this principle doesn't make a lot of sense on either side of the isle). Thank you again for your response. This is one of those issues that some people will never see eye to eye on, but it doesn't mean we can't have a constructive dialog about it.

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  7. You know, I HAVE heard about you! I keep saying that we need to hook up ans share stories! I have a couple of other friends who have one of each, too! It's an interesting life, huh? Super hard. SO SUPER HARD. But super good. I've been thinking about doing a series about autism. The way I feel about Casey's autism is SO MUCH different than I did just years ago. The other autism writers I fraternize with have spoken about doing it too. Something akin to the "it gets better" movement. Because it does. It gets SO much better. Casey is six years older than Abby. I could not imagine having mine as close as yours. You are tough. If I had read this blog when Casey was four, I probably would have HATED IT. Four was the toughest year for him. I can barely go back there in my head without getting overwhelmed. But this much I know: It gets SO MUCH better. The hard parts are still there, they change some, but for the most part, it gets better.

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  8. We refused the testing too for the same reason. My doctor said OK no problem and never asked again. But I know many people are pressured to having the tests run. I knew that my life as a mom of a special needs kid would be tough, but I still wanted to be his mother. My son's CP is just part of him, not all of him.

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  9. Thanks for responding. By the way my name is Jennifer Young,I thought that would show up but I guess it didn't. My e-mail is foxlds@yahoo.com. Just a quick question, any tips for potty-training an autistic boy? Jarem is 4 and a half and has no interest, and really not the vocab to start potty training. I don't know, maybe I am just doing it wrong. Any advice? Thanks

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  10. I will tell you with all honesty that if, when we did genetic testing, I had been told my child had Down's, I'm sure I would have aborted. I'm not sure I would have done any research beyond the risks and limitations. So I think what you are writing here is really important. If I had read something like this, however, I might have felt differently. I would have at least done the research, tried to connect with other parents, and found out that there really was a choice to make. In the end, our tests came back normal.But a normal screen does not mean things go as planned (what does?), and as you know I have a son with autism. He is severely affected, non-verbal, quite impulsive and increasingly aggressive. It is a very difficult life, and not one I would have chosen for myself. But as you said, "this is life."

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  11. I really wish doctors would present news in a neutral way so that WE can make the choice and not let them try to make it for us. I was told our baby had the symptoms of DS in the womb. More than one doctor tried to get me to have testing done. I finally relented to some testing because they said the baby could be born stillborn if they didn't have information to protect the baby. My baby was born almost 9 months ago with DS. We love her and are glad she is in our lives. It just upsets me that all along the way doctors were trying to steal the joy from the pregnancy of our baby Ada. Fortunately, my husband and I were able to hang out to the joy of her coming into this world.

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  12. I am all for calm and considerate discussion! I'm also all for you voicing your opinion on your own blog. I think what you are writing about is important, and personally, I know that I would not abort a child with Downs. That being said, I do not think any of us can categorically state that one position or another is wrong, and I think your message would be better received without that word. Please know the primary thrust of my comment's first paragraph was aimed at the previous commenter's take, and not your post.

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  13. I have a child with autism and I do not blink when I type that I would have aborted him, if I knew. Our lives our hell, and his sister's childhood is going to be much less happy and carefree as a result. And her future will be governed to some extent by the burden of knowing that she will probably have to step up and take care of her brother, which means that her life choices will likely be deeply affected by this inevitable truth. Moving back to the present, our house is a prison. We move from one disaster to the next and are constantly forced to evolve our solutions/blocks/locks/shoes/responses, based on the latest problematic behavior my son exhibits. Just about every night, my husband and I go to bed shell-shocked, as if we are soldiers dodging mines. My son will likely never go to college, hold a job, or live alone. I will spend the rest of my life wondering what will happen to him not only when I am on a separate floor from him, but if I leave the house and…when I die. This is no way to live. From my son's perspective, he is constantly told "no!" and blocked from doing whatever it is that he wants to do, which includes constant eating, smearing and eating his own poop, and hanging off curtains and climbing on counters and humping objects. I'd say it to anyone who stood in front of me, and I would look them in the eye: I would have aborted this fetus/baby/sac of cells and DNA, if I knew what our lives (including his) would be like. And if he had a genetic marker associated with his autism (the kind that allows people to decide whether to abort a fetus with DS), I would get pregnant again, have that test and terminate/abort that pregnancy in an effort to have a "neurotypical" child and avoid bringing more suffering into the world. But I can't, so I can't. Living to simply endure another day and keep your child from hurting himself – that's NO WAY to live. People can pray for me and moms like me all that they want, but I feel like I am uttering the words that many women do not have the nerve to say "out loud". And the truth makes me feel just a little bit lighter – but not light enough to breath normally and look at the future with hope.

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  14. I don't know what to say. I don't have the right words. I just want you to know, Short Bus Mom, that there is a large community of autism moms who have been where you are. who are facing what you are facing. There are people that want to help you- or even people who will be there for those days you want to just say the things you can't say anywhere else. But I need you to contact me. I don't want this to be out in the public because I'm worried people won't see what you said above for what it is: autism is hard. Autism is SO hard. People care. Let us help. mostlytruestuff@gmail.com

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  15. Hello, SBM – I, too, have a child who is aggressive towards others, and himself. One who at 5 has broken major pieces of furniture, attacked his brother with heartbreaking vengeance, and who explodes without warning. He is currently on his 2nd anti-convulsent, an anti-psychotic, a stimulant and blood pressure medication. When these medications stop working – and they will stop working, they always do – we are well and truly screwed. That being said, I love him. As I am sure you love your child. I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. I have no answers, I just want you to know that you are not alone. It doesn't always get better. Please hang in there, and stay strong for your family. I hope you have some sort of support team. I wish you all the best.

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  16. As always, your honesty is refreshing. It is your blog, your opinions and your life. I'm sorry that some people feel the need to attack or leave rude, mean comments on your blog. I personally thought life was over when Hailey was born…wow, how different life is now! The love and joy we experience with her is unexplainable and immeasurable. On a side note, love, love love the pics of Abby. She is looking so grown up!

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  17. Lexi,Has it ever occurred to you that maybe those surveys yielded such a high percentage of positive results because of the abortion rate? That those happy child/happy family percentages would be significantly lower if it weren't for the fact that the DS test is essentially weeding out couples who don't have the emotional/environmental capabilities needed to care for special needs children? Tell me how terminating a baby with Down syndrome is SELFLESS? The decision to terminate often isn't about sparing oneself from the burden of raising a special needs child, but rather sparing that child/potential life the burden of being raised by parents who can't give them what they need. And you can't really use the argument that "it's just not the right time for them to have the baby…" in this case.Nope, but I can use the argument that it's not the right time for them to have a special needs baby specifically. You'd be lying if you said Down Syndrome didn't come with its own special set of difficulties. Not everyone is equipped to deal with those difficulties. Not everyone wants to subject a child to those difficulties. And that's ok. Sure, in our country, a woman has the right to choose to abort her pregnancy. But that's not the case here. These are babies that would not have been aborted if they weren't found to have Down syndrome. Yup, and I completely understand why this upsets you. What I don't understand is why you choose to sugarcoat the alternative.And I'll say it again, at what point does our becoming parents become contingent on having the perfect baby? Do you realize that your chances of having a child with autism are 1 in 88? What then? Do you say you can't do it and give them up? It's the same argument you are giving for aborting a child with Down syndrome.Lexi, what the heck do you think happens to autistic children who are born to parents that don't want/aren't equipped to handle a special needs child? They SUFFER. Do you understand what that means? Do you understand that shaming someone into "chosing life" wont automatically make them a capable parent? Do you understand that how happy a child is directly relates to how happy/loving/engaged/attentive it's parents are able to be?Do you realize that there are parents who will give their special needs child up for adoption after a few years, but keep their "normal" child/children?Inability to completely prevent something doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions along the way. Someone who doesn't want to raise a special needs child should absolutely take precautions to make sure they don't end up with one. Because otherwise – A CHILD SUFFERS.You need to look beyond your experiences and consider what you're really encouraging and what it might mean for the children brought into these situations.

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  18. I think that aborting a baby because it has Down syndrome is the wrong choice. But it is a choice. My problem with the statistics about abortion and Down syndrome is that this choice is being based on faulty information.I share your outrage re: doctors not offering a balanced take on DS + pressuring couples into abortion, but I also think you're underestimating the amount of couples who do their own research and become educated on the issue before choosing to abort. You are right, Grace. It's not my place to judge those who make such a decision. All I can hope to do is inform them about the REALITY of having a child with Down syndrome, because I have one. I live with Down syndrome every single day.The reality of having a child with down syndrome is that – YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Share YOUR experience without projecting it onto everyone as some sort of global standard. That's HARMFUL. Some children with down syndrome have more behavioral issues than others. EVERY child is different. Abby is only 2! You've really only JUST begun your journey as a parent of a child with down syndrome. You say that life can suck for someone with Down syndrome just as much as it can suck for any "normal" person. So based on that argument, why have kids at all? What I was trying to say in the post is that it DOES NOT SUCK more for people with Down syndrome as it does for the society at large. My exact words were:"Life can suck if you have a child with down syndrome, that's just the reality of the situation. Just as it's the reality of the situation that life can suck if you have what society deems to be a perfectly "normal" child.What it all comes down to is that you really have no clue what effect the decision to bring a child into the world will have on someone else's life, because it's just that – someone else's life." I was referring to the parental experience, not that of a child.I want women who receive a prenatal diagnosis to know all of the facts before they make such a decision. I want them to know that there are over 200 paper-ready couples who are waiting for a child with Down syndrome specifically.Ok. So lets say a good portion of those who want to terminate their pregnancy due to the DS test go ahead with adoption instead. The waiting list goes poof, and we end up with even more special needs children in foster care, both domestically and internationally. Then what? Will you be adopting these children?I'm sorry, but I feel like both of your rants have more to do with what makes you feel better than anything that works out in the best interest of the potential lives you think you're advocating for.I'm all for education, but I found almost everything you wrote to be more agenda driven than educational.I didn't know how hard it would be having a child with Down syndrome when Abby was born. I did not know how long the nights would feel as I laid awake next to her watching her struggling to breathe. But I also had no idea how great it would be. How this little 2 year old has changed the way I view the world. How I view myself. I had no idea how adored she would be. People stop us every where we go to oggle over her. I had no idea what a support system I'd have within the Down syndrome community.How nice for you.I want other women to know that it will be okay. That it's good. That it's SO good. You don't know if it will be ok, you just know that it can be ok. People respond to situations differently. People have lives that look and operate a lot differently than yours.

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  19. SBM,I'm a high functioning autistic adult woman and your comment made me want to moth*rf*cking CHEER.Sometimes I feel like people get so wrapped up in painting a certain picture for the good of the cause that they forget about the kids.Please know that a lot of us are out here fighting and working hard to make things better for families like yours.

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  20. Grace makes an interesting analytical argument here. Clearly well thought out, backed by experience as someone who has seen what happens when parents chose not to care for their children (I use the word chose deliberately).I do find it fairly stunning though, that you would use wording that persistently and consistently makes the assumption that #1, you think that ANY PARENT "wants" or is "equipped" to have a special needs child; and #2, that Lexi's post was an attempt to "shame" anybody into "chosing life".You accuse Lexi of being "agenda driven", and yet your words are carefully crafted to discount her pleas for education and carefull consideration of what she openly acknowleges IS A CHOICE, and frame her argument in terms of a political ploy in favor of LIFE advocacy, clearly indicating that you both have your own agenda and feel it is superior to hers, regardless of what educational value either has.You speak of the suffering of children, and of the suffering of adults, but don't put either of those things in perspective. Regardless of whether or not the numbers are so high BECAUSE of abortions (pure speculation on your part I should add) the facts remain that an OVERWHELMING majority of people that have children with DS, and an even higher majority of people with DS, don't "suffer" in the ways you describe, but rather attribute "happieness" to their situation.So since you seem so eager to argue that people shouldn't be "shamed" into choosing life, as if presenting the facts about DS and stating that chosing to abort on information and assumption that are false is the wrong choice is "shaming", and seem to value "suffering" more than almost anything else, perhaps you should clarify how much happy life we should be willing to eliminate in order to minimise the amount of miserable life in this world? Is one suffering child worth more than 5 happy ones? Statistically, what is the difference in "suffering" between all of the women that chose to abort a baby because it has DS, and all the women who make the decision to keep it? Statistically, educationally, realistically, this statement…"I want other women to know that it will be okay. That it's good. That it's SO good."Is true over 90% of the time.So while I can appreciate the fact that you stand up for your principles, I find it hard to immagine how what Lexi said, and the message she was trying to convey could possibly increase the amount of "suffering" in this world even a fraction of the amount it increased the "happieness". So I would say this to you, perhaps you need to look beyond YOUR experiences and think about what Lexi is encouraging might mean, and instead of measuring it in suffering, maybe try measuring it in happieness.

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  21. I should be working so I can go home to my wife, but I had to make one more comment…I find it interesting what people are willing to call a "wrong" choice or a "bad" choice. As a society we accept all kind of things as "wrong" because of some statistical evidence that making that choice could lead to a bad outcome. Typically poor choices are characterized as wrong in this way, likewise good choices charachterized as right. Not wearing a seatbelt is wrong. Smoking indoors is wrong. Being fat is wrong. Exercizing is right. Protecting the environment is right. etc. etc. etc.Yet here we are with overwhelming proof that in this case a certain choice has a 90% positive outcome, while the other choice available has a 0% chance of a positive outcome (losing a child you had hoped to have is never a positve experience), and we bristle at such a suggestion and argue that their is no "wrong" choice? This makes no sense to me.

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  22. I'm pro-choice. Like, really pro-choice. Like, if I'm a single issue voter on anything, it's reproductive freedom.And I agree with Lexi completely.Before getting involved with Reece's Rainbow and the Ds blogsphere, I might very well have terminated a pregnancy based on a prenatal diagnosis. Now I'm saving my pennies towards someday adopting children with exactly the diagnoses I would have rejected — Down syndrome included. It would not be an exaggeration to say that my entire value system has changed because of blogs like this. Lexi's message is incredibly important. It's also not incompatible with a pro-choice worldview. I really don't understand the criticism.

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  23. re: your deliberate use of the word 'chose': In the case of special needs kiddos especially, neglect on the part of a parent often isn't a conscious choice. It's not that parents are chosing not to care for their children, it's just that their children have needs that leave them stretched beyond their abilities. They fall short because they're overwhelmed and overworked, not because they're bad parents. Not because they didn't work hard enough or pray hard enough or go to the right websites. Like I told a mom not so long ago – even superheroes meet their match sometimes.The obvious thing to do in that situation would be to ask for help, but unfortunately there's a serious lack of support out there. Especially if you fall within certain income brackets. So even if you have the best intentions in the world, even if you have all of the love in the world for your little one – that doesn't change the fact that being put into a position to have to bootstrap your way through raising a special needs child can ultimately result in a lack of care for said child.When I refer to situations of suffering, please know that it's not always a matter of choice for the parents involved.

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  24. Moving on -There's not anything particularly stunning about a parent/parents wanting and/or being equipped for a special needs child. It's just a normal variance in experiences and decision making that occurs in a world where people are different from each other. Different from you.Every couple goes into the procreation process with different expectations and different backgrounds that may or may not prep them for what's to come. Are you familiar with how the adoption process works? There are certain requirements that every family needs to meet. Ability to meet those requirements acts as a determining factor in whether potential parents are deemed equipped to bring a child into their home. Not "equipped", but EQUIPPED.No, potential parents can't foresee the future and prepare themselves for every single thing that might come their way, but there is a certain amount of ABILITY to love and care for a child beyond just the DESIRE to love and care for a child that will play a crucial role in how well said kiddo will thrive. Ability to procure financial support is also pretty crucial.There's a reason why adoption agencies acknowledge this and don't just throw a kid at whomever wants one in hope that they'll 'get it' later. I'm not sure why you and your wife refuse to acknowledge this reality.

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  25. Lexi,Criticism isn't trolling. It's criticism. We're two adult women, lets not dumb this down.Yes, this is your blog, but there's a certain amount of responsibility that comes with putting yourself out there as a resource for those attached to the special needs community. If you're going to keep promoting yourself a certain way and asking everyone to share links at the end of every post, then be prepared to be held accountable for your words.I follow a lot of special needs blogs, many of which have touched on the DS/abortion issue. Many of which are staunchly pro-life due to their religion.Your blog post was the only one I've read that has presented information in a way that I felt was skewed and problematic. Your blog post was the only one on this issue I've ever felt compelled to reply to out of concern for the way it presents MY community.I went out of my way to be civil, despite the condescending way you started off this post. I apologize if that didn't translate well.It's sad and very telling that you deleted certain comments. Call for education? I guess only until your ego gets in the way.

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  26. Listen. I deleted your posts with the hope that you'd get the message and leave me alone. First off, I'm pro-choice. I can think abortion is the wrong choice, but allow others to make the choices for themselves. What I do on this blog is show how GOOD it can be. This is MY TRUTH. The information is skewed. OF COURSE IT IS! I have a daughter with Down syndrome. I write about ALL of it. If you've read anything else, you'll see that I write the good and the bad. And you're right, she's 2. I don't get a lot of what the future holds for her, but I've been doing the special needs thing now for almost 9 years. I get that it's hard and unending. This is my blog. This is MY truth. Leave it alone.

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  27. I know you wrote this almost a year ago but I only stumbled upon it today so I wanted to comment. I hope that in the near future we can remove the abortion debate entirely and just focus on the education efforts you and blogs like yours are an important part of. I appreciate so much reading about your children, and I am so grateful that there are many DS blogs out there to help parents coping with a diagnosis. As a staunch, completely unapologetic pro-choice advocate who actually does bristle whenever we get into the “rightness” or “wrongness” of reproductive legislation, I think that the anecdotes you present will do more for reducing abortion of DS babies than any law ever will. With that being said, I will still fight for choice so long as there is fighting left to do. I hope that you continue to help families arm themselves with knowledge and support to help them make the very best decision.

    Thank you so much for writing, and I really admire your work. 🙂

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  28. True in absolutely EVERY sense of the word. I don’t feel as if I was “chosen”; I don’t feel “naive or stupid” for not aborting Jack when we discovered he had Down syndrome via amniocentesis. But it’s not an easy life for some of us. Because my son has Down syndrome AND autism. But Jack is 7 years-old and he doesn’t know that! He’s a happy child! Life is great for him! He doesn’t know the worry that occupies the minds of my husband and me, day and night. But this isn’t about the parents–it’s about THE CHILD. And, as you said, there is a waiting list of people who would give me an exorbitant amount of money, in order to adopt a baby like Jack. So even if these women who are determined to abort–look at this as a finacial decision. You could be carrying a child that families are WAITING to receive! So please don’t abort. If you want to discuss this in financial terms–“supply and demand”. YOU have the “supply” that will satisfy the “demand”. Give birth to that child and hand it over to someone who has waited YEARS for a baby just like the one you’re wishing to terminate.

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