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Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't Throw Away the Future

The other night, I was watching the TV news here in New York and a story came on about a newborn baby who survived being dropped 8 stories down a trash chute. The building's custodian had gone to clear a jam that was preventing the trash compacter from working properly and he heard what he thought was a kitten and he found the baby boy that his 18 year old mother had thrown away. According to the report I'd heard on TV, the janitor was deeply shaken by the thought that this child was nearly crushed to death and only a trash jam and another tenant's complaint about the trash problem had saved him. Had he not heard the baby's cry, he would have flipped the switch and killed that child without even knowing. That part wasn't mentioned in any print report that I could find, but you can read the AP article about it HERE. This didn't have to happen, not when we have safe haven laws in 49 out of our 50 states including New York! That young mother, in either fear, ignorance, disregard for the humanity of her child or some combination of the three, chose to throw away her baby, and also her own life in doing so. Unfortunately, this is becoming a common occurrence - another consequence of the culture of death and symptom of the sickness in our society that devalues human life and sees inconvenient people (like unwanted pregnancies, the sick, elderly, and disabled) as "disposable". 

Matt Ross at the Conservative Hideout has a post up titled, "Exposing Evil: Abortion", which details the stuff that abortion providers neglect to tell people about what really happens during those procedures. Again, just like with the girls who throw their babies in the trash, I think that the abortion industry feeds on the fear and ignorance of the pregnant person and deny the humanity of the child inside them, they lie to the girl and often coerce her into undergoing the procedure without ever giving her information about what exactly she is allowing them to do or what the consequences will be or even information about alternatives to abortion that she could choose, rendering her decision not so much the "choice" as the abortion advocates would have you believe. I addressed this aspect of the issue previously HERE and HERE at this blog.

But the pressure to abort is not limited to "crisis" pregnancies, the abortion industry also pressures mothers who WANT their babies!

In 2004, I had a severe infection in my right arm, called Cellulitis, that was very painful and also very dangerous; if the infection could not be controlled, it would have led to gangrene and the possible loss of my arm or even my life. At the hospital (where I actually went because it was so painful and swollen that I thought perhaps I had somehow unknowingly broken my arm) I was immediately given IV antibiotics and sent home with a prescription. A few days latr the infection continued to spread and I was becoming ill, so they gave me a powerful new (at the time) anti-biotic called Levaquin. My arm got better, but a few weeks later I felt like crap, I was dizzy and nauseous. I had previously suffered a septic infection from a tick bite and I went back to the doctor fearing that this was the case again. They asked me when last I'd gotten my monthly lady stuff, a routine question, and I realized that it was late (I had jokingly mentioned it to my then fiancé/now husband that "If I turn up pregnant, which I won't, we're going to be happy about it!"), but knew that antibiotics pretty much always screwed up my cycle so they sent me to wait for the doctor who had me take a pregnancy test, "just to rule it out". I honestly hadn't thought much about it before, but the fifteen minutes I waited for the results felt like eternity and I found myself smiling at the though of what might be. When the doctor finally came in and told me, "Miss, you are not sick, you are pregnant." I let out a huge squeal of delight! I was honestly surprised by how happy I was to hear this news, and when I got home and told (soon to be) husband, he was delighted at the news as well. it was the happiest day of my life up to that point in my existence.

Soon after that day, I went to the local poor people clinic because I had no medical coverage at the time and they asked all kinds of questions and asked me if I had any questions, and I did. I asked if the Levaquin (and other antibiotics) that I took before I knew I was pregnant was going to hurt my baby. The doctor went and looked up the medications in his book, he said the initial medicines were old medicines and known NOT to harm the baby, but that the Levaquin was a new medication and nobody knew yet if it would harm the baby, but if I was worried, he could terminate the pregnancy! I wanted reassurance, not an offer for an abortion! The doctor said that he did not know if the medication would effect my baby AT ALL but offered to destroy the baby. I declined his offer but that would not be the last time that this place offered to end my much wanted pregnancy!

At one of the routine prenatal visits, I was handed a bunch of papers to sign. I asked what they were for and they told me that they were consent forms for the "triple panel" tests (to determine if the baby might have birth defects or disabilities) and amniocentesis which would be "needed" if the triple panel showed something. I asked if the triple panel test was 100% accurate, it is not, I asked what could be done if the test showed that there might be a problem - if there was anything I could do to help my baby before he or she was born - and was told that they would then do amnio (which can cause a miscarriage) and when I asked if that would be conclusive, they said no, but that they could give me an abortion. So basically, they wanted to give me a test which is inaccurate that may or may not show that there is a problem with the baby that nothing could be done for and the choices were to either risk destroying a perfectly healthy child, or endure a pregnancy with the looming thought that my baby might be doomed when in fact the baby could be perfectly fine. I declined the test and said that since there would be nothing I could do before the baby is born to change the outcome that I would just deal with whatever was to come, if my baby was disabled, he or she would enjoy the full measure of my love and his or her father's love for as long as that child blessed our lives, the same as if the baby were to be born "normal" and healthy - which she was, by the way. It is worth noting though, that they tried to pressure me to have those tests done no less than three times on separate visits, and each time I refused although they used a whole bunch of scare tactics to get me to comply.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I was 33 and would turn 34 shortly before his due date, this put me in the "high risk" category and in addition to the immense repeated pressure (again) to get the triple panel test (which I repeatedly refused) they insisted that I visit a genetic counselor who wanted to run all kinds of tests. I asked the genetic counselor if the tests would be conclusive and was told that (of course) no, they are not, and if the tests showed something is there anything that could be done before the baby is born to ensure a healthier outcome and I was, again, told that they could give me an abortion. I refused the tests, and the genetic counselor lady really got on my case about it, and I got in her face and told her to back the hell off because I was not about to spend most of my pregnancy worrying about something that most likely wasn't even going to happen and that if my baby had special needs that husband and I would deal with it and the baby would get the full measure of our love regardless. My son was born premature and I nearly died delivering him, but it was just an unfortunate coincidence, there was nothing genetically wrong with him and other than being a late talker (he talks now), he is perfectly fine, strong and healthy, praise the Lord.

So why do they push so hard for those tests and then abortions based on the possibility that a baby might be born with a disability? Eugenics. via Life Site News:
Screening babies within the womb in order to abort those with disabilities hearkens back to “Nazi-style eugenics”. Tanis Doe, professor of social work at Victoria University, made the remarks to a group assembled at the University of Alberta.    Doe said that pre-screening of pregnant women for genetic defects in their unborn children is a wide-spread practice in western nations. It is a widely-accepted idea that those children with defects should not be allowed to live—a reality borne out by statistics—89 percent of Down Syndrome babies in Canada, and 90 percent in the U.S. do not see the light of day.    Doe, who is deaf and paraplegic, said that “Women are expected to—pressured to—abort pregnancies when foetal disability is diagnosed.”
It is a concerted effort to eliminate disabled people from society, it is a type of genocide, a holocaust of the unborn who may or may not have been born disabled but were destroyed on the off chance that they might be.

Via Gender and Justice in the Gene Age "Disability Rights and Selective Abortion" by Marsha Saxton - excerpts:
Conditions receiving priority attention for prenatal screening include Down's Syndrome, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, and Fragile X, all of which are associated with mildly to moderately disabling clinical outcomes. Individuals with these conditions can live good lives. There are severe cases, but the medical system tends to underestimate the functional abilities, and overestimate the "burden" and suffering of disabled citizens living with these conditions. Moreover, among the priority conditions for prenatal screening are diseases that occur very infrequently. Tay-Sachs disease, for example, a debilitating, fatal disease that affects primarily Jews of eastern-European descent, is often cited as a condition that justifies prenatal screening. But as a rare disease, it's a poor basis for a treatment mandate.
Those who advocate selective abortion to alleviate the suffering of children may often raise that cornerstone of contemporary political rhetoric, cost benefit. Of course, neither of these interests are women-centered, yet women can be directly pressured or subtly intimidated by both arguments. It may be difficult for some to resist the argument that it is their duty to "save scarce healthcare dollars," by eliminating expensive disabled children. But those who resist these arguments believe the value of a child's life cannot be measured in dollars. It is notable that families with disabled children who are familiar with the actual impact of the disabilities tend not to seek the tests for subsequent children. The real bottom line is that the cost benefit argument disintegrates when the outlay of funds required to provide services for disabled persons are measured against the enormous resources expended to test for a few rare genetic disorders. In addition, it is important to recognize that promotion and funding of prenatal tests distract attention and resources from addressing environmental causes of disability and disease.
Disabled People and the Fetus
I mentioned to a friend, an experienced disability activist, that I planned to call a conference for disabled people and genetic professionals to discuss these controversial issues. She said, "I think this conference is important, but I have to tell you, I have trouble being in the same room with professionals who are trying to eliminate my people." I was struck by her identification with fetuses, as "our people."
Are those in the disability rights movement who question or resist selective abortion trying to save the "endangered species" of disabled fetuses? When this metaphor first surfaced, I was shocked to think of disabled people as the target of intentional elimination, shocked to realize that I identified with the fetus as one of my "species" that I must try to protect.
When we refer to the fetus as "a disabled fetus," (rather than a "defective fetus") we personify the fetus via a term of pride in the disability community. The fetus is named as a member of our community. The connection disabled people feel with the "disabled fetus" may seem to be in conflict with the pro-choice stance that the fetus is only a part of the women's body, with no independent human status.
Many of us with disabilities might have been prenatally screened and aborted if tests had been available to our mothers. I've actually heard people say, "Too bad that baby with [x disease] didn't 'get caught' in prenatal screening." (This is the sentiment of "wrongful birth" suits.) It is important to make the distinction between a pregnant woman who chooses to terminate the pregnancy because she doesn't want to be pregnant, versus a pregnant woman who wanted to be pregnant, but rejects a particular fetus, a particular potential child. Fetuses that are wanted are called "babies." Prenatal screening results can turn a "wanted baby" into an "unwanted fetus".
It is difficult to contemplate one's own hypothetical non-existence. But I know several disabled teen-agers, born in an era when they could have been "screened out", for whom this is not at all an abstraction. In biology class their teachers, believing themselves to be liberal, raised abortion issues. These teachers however, were less than sensitive to the disabled students when they talked about "eliminating the burden of the disabled" through technological innovation.
In the context of screening tests, those of us with screenable conditions represent living adult fetuses that didn't get aborted. We are the constituency of the potentially aborted. Our resistance to the systematic abortion of "our young," is a challenge to the "non-humanness," the non-status of the fetus.
The message at the heart of widespread selective abortion on the basis of prenatal diagnosis is the greatest insult: some of us are "too flawed" at our very DNA core to exist, unworthy of being born. This message is painful to confront. It seems tempting to take on easier battles or even just to give in. But fighting for this issue, our right and worthiness to be born, is the fundamental challenge to disability oppression; it underpins our most basic claim to justice and equality: We are indeed worthy of being born, we are worth the help and expense, and we know it!
Read the whole thing HERE

Via Erasetheneed's Blog, "The New Eugenics, Seeking and Destroying the Disabled in the Womb" - excerpt:
Particularly of concern is the targeted eradication of children with Down Syndrome.
It is estimated that up to 90% of all Down’s babies do not make it out of the womb alive. It used to be that only women aged 35 and above were tested for Down Syndrome. Then, in 2007, new recommendations came down from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that pregnant women of all ages should be tested using a new procedure, supposedly safer (for the mother’s anyway!) From reports I have read, once a diagnosis of Down’s (or any other disability, for that matter) is made, there is a lot of pressure placed on the couple to abort. “Counselors” and doctors alike remind the devastated parents of the high cost and emotional toll of raising a “less than normal” child. And there is always the argument that it is unfair to the child to condemn them to a life filled with “so much suffering.”
Amazingly, it is parents of Down Syndrome children that are leading the way in attempting to counteract this mindset that death is the best choice for these little ones. There is a coalition of parents that are now begging doctors to refer the families that have discovered their unborn child has Down’s to them so they can show them the full and rich life these children can have.  Ironically, scientific developments are also enabling  Down’s children to lead longer and healthier lives, with richer opportunities for education and employment in adulthood.
Parents of children with congenital handicaps are facing new prejudice and hostility in this new age of earlier testing. With fewer handicapped children being born, the more those survivors stand out in our society. Loving mothers and fathers are now viewed as “irresponsible” and “uncaring” for condemning their child to such suffering when it could have been “so easily prevented.”  As one mother of a Down’s daughter put it: “Margaret does not view her life as unremitting human suffering (although she is angry I won’t buy her an i-pod.) Oh, sure, she wishes she could learn faster and had better math skills. So do I. But it doesn’t ruin our day, much less our lives. It’s the negative social attitudes that cause us to suffer.”
The sad truth is that the whole ugly, superior, prejudiced attitude which birthed eugenics is still alive and well. Except that this is worse: before, women who potentially might be carriers of “undesirable” children were sterilized; today, unborn children are being slaughtered for their “imperfections.” Genocide is genocide, in or out of the womb.  I could make the argument that this is far worse, for it is distraught, vulnerable parents who are being coerced into consenting to the death of their children. Shame on us as a society for even allowing this to be a possibility!
There is very little doubt in anyone’s mind that Hitler and Nazi Germany deserve judgment for their shameless slaughter of millions. However, do we deserve any less? In fact, where they failed, we just might succeed. We’ve come much closer to the total extermination of Down Syndrome children than they ever came to the annihilation of the Jews. RTWT
Via Catholic Citizens, "Every year in America fewer and fewer disabled infants are born" - excerpt:
The combination of doctors seeking to avoid lawsuits and parents seeking burden-free children means that once prenatal screening identifies a problem in a child, the temptation to eugenic abortion becomes unstoppable. In an atmosphere of expected eugenics, even queasy, vaguely pro-life parents gravitate toward aborting a disabled child.
These parents get pressure from doctors who, without even bothering to ask, automatically provide abortion options to them once the prenatal screening has diagnosed a disability, and they feel pressure from society at large, which having accepted eugenic abortion, looks askance at parents with disabled children.
The right to abort a disabled child, in other words, is approaching the status of a duty to abort a disabled child. Parents who abort their disabled children won't be asked to justify their decision. Rather, it is the parents with disabled children who must justify themselves to a society that tacitly asks: Why did you bring into the world a child you knew was disabled or might become disabled? Read it all HERE
My good friend (and fellow "cook" at Stone Soup) Tlchimes knows all too well the pressure to abort a child who may be disabled and also the cruel judgmental sentiments expressed by people who say awful things to her because she chose to bring her children into the world despite what all the "smart people" advised. During her first pregnancy, she had that triple panel test and they told her that she needed an abortion because the baby might have Downs syndrome (he didn't have it and he is just fine). When she was pregnant with her youngest, Rowan, she was told after the very first ultrasound that he was going to die and that she should terminate the pregnancy. She almost lost him a few times, but she and Rowan persevered, and he is now almost four years old and he is an absolute joy for his mother and all who know and love him despite his serious medical problems. That little boy is a fighter and the way he bravely faces every challenge (stuff that would break grown men) is awe inspiring. He is also super cute, as you can see in this picture:

Now I hate to even write this next part because it horrifies, hurts and deeply offends me to acknowledge this, but people who know Tl and her family have actually said, to her face, that she should have had an abortion rather than bring that precious sweet miracle boy into the world. Please read her story about Rowan and the challenges he courageously faces every single day of his life and about her other children (her daughter Meagan has autism, but boldly copes with the obstacles her disorder puts in front of her and is a fantastic kid) who face challenges of their own as part of a special needs family HERE.

I know a lot of you reading this are strongly pro-life, and I want to remind everyone that dedication to the cause of Life goes beyond guiding young women and girls to not have abortions, that support is needed after the children come into the world, especially disabled children whose kind are being wiped out of existence in greater numbers every day before they can even draw their first breath due to the unspoken pogrom to eliminate the disabled from society. Rowan is a child whose very existence is a miracle and every day he is in this world is a precious, precious gift. I wrote about Tl's family and the struggles they are dealing with at Stone Soup HERE and HERE, and here at this blog, but to just give you a quick briefing I'll excerpt from her blog, Blue jeans and Lace:
Rowan was going to die almost from the moment we first saw him on the ultra sound screen at 14 weeks. He was never going to take that first breath. In July, he will turn 4. I admit that his birthdays strike a deeper cord with me then that of my other children. He has battled so hard to make a mark on a world that often just sees him as a number on a form. But those who love him know how far he pushes himself. 

He is one of three children that are still at home. His older sister is Autistic but is one of the luckier ones. She has grown and is a sweet, loving child who can speak, has a better control on her tantrums, and is open to learning the things she needs to function in a world that doesn't understand her. The oldest at home is an eleven year old who loves to read, is way too smart for her britches, and has the oddest cross to carry: she's the closest to normal in the home. Ask her, she'll tell you.

Rowan needs a wheel chair, braces that go from his toes to mid-calf, and other therapy items to help his legs and body do what it should. He has multiple diagnoses but no syndrome that carries a ribbon or a cause. I can use the puzzle ribbon for his Autism. A grey ribbon would be for his multiple allergies requiring a careful diet and also his asthma. The purple one is good for the ADHD, the seizures and even his daddy's crohns. Silver would show this is a child with disabilities and also person with a brain disorder. But I'm not sure what color covers apraxia, hearing loss, genetic disorder, chronic encephalopathy.... yeah, there's more but I can see you nodding off.

Here's the thing, he is a fighter. He pushes himself beyond the breaking point. He gets mad at himself when he can't do what he knows he should be able to do. He has shown the doctors to be wrong so many times and takes pride in it. This is a child who never should have taken his first breath.
Rowan has had many surgeries already at his young age and will need more, but still he fights and still he lights up his mothers world and brings joy to the people who know and love him. Insurance doesn't cover most of what he needs, and right now Tl really needs to get him that wheelchair and those braces for his legs. I'd like to be able to help her and hope that those of you who can will consider doing so as well. She has a donate button on the right hand side of her blog, HERE to help pay for her children's needs. I will be giving half of anything that lands in my tip jar to help her out for a while, and will give her 25% of any revenue I get from selling new ad space at my blogs.

The title of this post is Don't Throw Away the Future, because that is exactly what we are doing when we not only fail to discourage girls from throwing their babies in the trash to die or having abortions by failing to educate about alternatives, but also when we ignore the eugenics of selective abortion against potentially disabled people. People with disabilities might be "different" from most of the folks you know and they may have medical issues to cope with, but they are by no means defective and their lives are just as precious as our own. Ask anyone who is close to disabled people, either in their families or in their communities, and I bet they can honestly tell you that their lives are richer from having those unique and very special people in their lives. The disabled are not burdens, they are blessings.

Lives are precious, even "imperfect" ones (and aren't we ALL imperfect in our own ways?), and support for life should be encouraged both before and long after a child is born.

This post is linked at the Conservative Hideout. Thank you, Matt!

This post is listed in Today's recommended reads at Pundit & Pundette. Thanks, P&P!


flyoverpilgrim said...

Deeply, deeply moving and potent post. Thank you. I am linking at my site, and sending to social media. Many people need to read this.

Zilla of the Resistance said...

Thank you, Pilgrim, I'm honored. 

MattRoss said...

That was a powerful post.  I too have noticed the similarities between current attitudes towards abortion and the Nazi's T4 program. 

Eric Williams said...

Not too long ago my sophomore year in college, the spring of '06 to be exact, I was enrolled in speech class. I met a girl in the class and quickly became really good friends with her and whom would later open my eyes to this subject. She was a survivor of abortion. Her mother did not want the "burden" of a child and went through the abortion, only to have found out later that my friend was still living inside her. This was one of her speeches she gave and earned my immediate respect, though I unfortunately witnessed utter contempt from some of those girls who follow the pro-choice crowd. Though, as a guy, I never really followed the issue from either side, I'd follow my faith, which through the ten commandments was 'thou shall not kill.' To those pro-choice girls my friend would tell them she would not be around if the abortion succeeded, to view that very thought if considering an abortion, and to contemplate the  scope of denying a person a chance at life.

Your post speaks volumes and like flyoverpilgrim, I will send this to others in the hopes that many young women know both sides of the equation before a decision is reached. Many new lives could be saved.

Trestin said...

Is it any wonder when one considers that Nazism and the modern abortion movement have the same Eugenics roots.

Tammy Sandeen said...

My life would be easier without  my children. My life would be quieter without my kids. My life would be freer without my kids.

My life would be darker without my kids. My life would be lacking without my kids. My life would have been aborted with my boys if I had listened to those doctors.

The special needs children in my life are not a burden on me. They are a reason to live, to find joy in the simplest thing, and to do what I was made to do. I don't ask others to raise my children. I think the world is better with my children in it.

When Doctors tell you about these tests, they tell you it's so you can find out the results in time to abort the baby. I had his ultra sound at 14 weeks. The first thing he "had" was called Trisonomy 18 which is usually fatal before the child reaches gestational maturity. Do you know the agony of looking up what that was (don't look, it's killer heartbreaking) or trying to decide what to tell the other kids or what the right choice would be?

There are productive things that children like mine are doing out in the world that often go unnoticed by the common folks because while they may not be "social" they are smart in ways that make your computers better, teaching at a university level more successful, and investigating computer crimes by the newly written book more productive. Imagine a world without them.

Thank you Zilla..... You did a wonderful job of telling a hard story.

Zilla of the Resistance said...

Thank you, Matt. As I researched this I was appalled to see just how far the pogrom against the disabled has gotten in our own country. 

Zilla of the Resistance said...

Thank you, Eric. I am sad to think of how much our world will miss by exterminating so many people who really could have added so much wonderful richness to our human experience. I know I am forever changed, in a good way, from people who have been in my life that are disabled. One girl I used to work with has Downs syndrome, and while she needed a little help with some of the tasks of our job, she tried harder than anyone I've ever met to get it right (and she succeeded) and I learned so much from her, much more I think than she'd ever need to learn from others. 

Zilla of the Resistance said...

Nope. They are poisoned fruit from the same evil tree. 

Zilla of the Resistance said...

Thanks, Tl, my life is richer for what you and your precious children have taught me, you and your kids inspire me to be a better person, to try harder, love deeper, be more appreciative of life's little blessings and keep my heart open for whatever wonderful  little surprises may wander in. 

LGBT Life Alliance said...

I had NO idea pregnancy was so tightly regulated. Terrifying, with HUGE implications for LGBT people if and when the 'gay gene' is discovered.

Zilla of the Resistance said...

Oh dear, I can imagine the logic they'd use, the same that they use to exterminate the disabled, "for their own good so they don't suffer". 

palintologist said...

Some years ago, a young woman I know was diagnosed with a pregnancy that was to result in a baby born with Trisonomy 18.  Told that the baby wouldn't live more than a week and run up a million dollars in medical bills, she aborted.  While some may consider that rational behavior (!) the most stunning thing about it was that she was/is an evangelical Christian.  She went on to have three healthy children who are homeschooled and part of a majorly religious household.  I know we're commanded to hate the sin and love the sinner, but I have a hard time forgetting about this baby and what his or her life could have been. 

Zilla of the Resistance said...

I can only imagine the heartbreak your friend must have felt upon such news, and I'm sure the doctors heavily pressured her to undergo the abortion - because they do that even for the possibility of relatively minor problems. I would not judge her too harshly, I'm sure it was an agonizing experience.

facebook-714355583 said...

Thank you for this post.  

Zilla of the Resistance said...

You are very welcome, thank you for reading it!

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