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Down Syndrome and the Pressure to Abort
Zenit News Agenc ^ | March 9, 2006 | Elizabeth Schlitz

Posted on 03/09/2006 5:38:33 PM PST by NYer

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, MARCH 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Many prospective parents are waiting for years to adopt children with Down syndrome, according to a recent article in the Associated Press.

So why is there an extended wait for kids with special needs, who are usually more difficult to place with families? The reason might be: the growing acceptance of aborting babies with Down syndrome.

Elizabeth Schiltz, law professor at the University of St. Thomas and contributor to "The Cost of 'Choice': Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion" (Encounter Books), shared with ZENIT how aborting children with Down syndrome has not only become justified, but is almost considered a duty.

Schiltz also relayed her experience in receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for her son.

Q: Why do you think it has become socially acceptable to abort a child with Down syndrome?

Schiltz: Because, unfortunately, it has become socially acceptable to abort any baby who disappoints the expectations of the baby's parents for any reason, as the increasingly common practice of sex-selection abortion indicates.

Down syndrome just happens to be a disability that is easily identified through prenatal testing.

Not only have many come to accept that a woman faced with such news is justified in aborting her child, some now go further and insist that she has a duty to abort.

Bob Edwards, the scientist who created Great Britain's first in vitro fertilization baby, gave a speech a couple of years ago at an international fertility conference in which he said, "Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children."

This is frightening. It signals an erosion of societal consensus about our collective responsibility for vulnerable people.

Society will increasingly believe that a mother who forgoes an easy abortion and chooses instead to give birth to a disabled child should not look to the community for help. After all, it was her "choice."

Q: Has prenatal testing contributed to the problem?

Schiltz: Prenatal testing has made the population of children with Down syndrome more vulnerable to abortion, because it's so easy to identify them. But the real problem isn't the testing.

The real problem is using the results of these tests as part of a crude "cost-benefit" analysis -- of balancing the "benefit" of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome against the "cost" to the mother and the broader society.

Obviously, such a cost-benefit analysis ignores the fundamental truth that every human is created in the image and likeness of God.

And, even on its own utilitarian terms, this analysis is often faulty because it rarely involves adequate information about the realities of living with Down syndrome -- either for the baby or the baby's family.

Brian Skotko, a Harvard Medical School student, published a pair of studies in the medical journals Pediatrics and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology just last year, concluding that few mothers were satisfied with the manner in which their doctors delivered pre- or post-natal diagnoses of Down syndrome, or the information provided by their doctors when they gave these diagnoses.

I applaud efforts like the bill introduced in Congress last year by Senators Brownback and Kennedy, called the Prenatally Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act, that would require healthcare providers to provide up-to-date, scientific information about prenatally diagnosed conditions and referrals to support services.

I'd like them to amend the bill to add information about the waiting lists for adoption of kids with Down syndrome.

Q: The Associated Press recently reported that many families are choosing to adopt children with Down syndrome and sometimes have to wait years. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?

Schiltz: I am thrilled that this has finally caught the attention of the mainstream press. The newsletters and Internet listservs of Down syndrome support groups have been talking about this for years.

In fact, I know a woman who runs an adoption agency, Huminska's Anioly, that specializes in placing children from Polish orphanages in homes in the United States.

When she heard about the waiting lists at American adoption agencies for children with Down syndrome a couple of years ago, she started a special program for children in Polish orphanages with Down syndrome.

In the States, there's another resource: the Adoption Awareness Program -- Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati.

Q: What was your experience in receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for your child?

Schiltz: I think my experience of receiving the prenatal diagnosis for my son was somewhat atypical, because my doctors knew that abortion was not an option for me. Even so, three things about the process were really striking.

First, there is a phenomenal amount of pressure to make decisions quickly, because the whole system is geared to result in earlier and therefore "safer" abortions. The pressure to act quickly in these situations not only increases risk to the baby, but I think it must often prevent parents from thinking through realistic alternatives to abortion.

Second, I was struck by how little positive information about life with Down syndrome the doctors and genetic counselors were able to provide me. Although my doctor was very supportive of my decision, neither she nor our genetic counselor had any helpful information to share about life with Down syndrome.

Third, even though I was pro-life, and even though I spent my whole life loving my mentally retarded older brother, getting the actual diagnosis was extremely traumatic.

For days afterward, I hesitated to put my hands on my belly. I felt as though a stranger had moved in, and he frightened me. For weeks afterward, I felt as though I had lost my entire identity.

I had never perceived of myself as a person with a child with a disability. I had always perceived of myself as a person with "perfect" children. I didn't know how I could continue with the life I had always planned for myself.

But, gradually, I started to love that little "stranger" just as strongly as I loved the old vision of what he would be. And, gradually, I realized that my old self was still there, it just had some new things to learn.

Personally, I'm glad that I was able to go through that trauma before my child was born. But it's important to be sensitive to how devastating this kind of news can be to any parent.

Q: How are people with Down syndrome an important and special part of our society?

Schiltz: In her book, "The Child Who Never Grew," Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author Pearl S. Buck wrote this about her mentally retarded daughter: "[B]y this most sorrowful way I was compelled to tread, I learned respect for reverence for every human mind.

"It was my child who taught me to understand so clearly that all people are equal in their humanity and that all have the same human rights. None is to be considered less, as a human being, than any other, and each must be given his place and his safety in the world.

"I might never have learned this in any other way. I might have gone on in the arrogance of my own intolerance for those less able than myself. My child taught me humanity."

In addition to teaching me about humanity, I also think that my son has taught me something about divinity. I think my love for him sometimes provides a hint of what God's love for us must be like.

Like my love for my son, God's love for us doesn't depend on our intellect, our accomplishments or our proximity to what society defines as "success."

People with Down syndrome wear their vulnerability on their faces. They are a visible reminder that the image of God reflected in humanity includes people of all sorts of intellectual capacities.

It would be an impoverished society indeed that succeeded in eliminating such powerful teachers of both humanity and divinity.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: abortion; adoption; civilrights; cultureofdeath; disabilities; disposablelife; downsyndrome; eugenics; goebbelswouldbeproud; handicapped; margaretsamger; masterrace; nazism; qualitylife; qualityoflife; sangersgoal; selectivebreeding
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1 posted on 03/09/2006 5:38:39 PM PST by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
"Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children."

I recently encountered this 'mentality' while collecting donations for a baby born with a genetic disorder that required immediate surgery. The office was comprised totally of democratic constituents. They gave not one dime. Meanwhile, the adjacent office, comprised of republicans, not only contributed to the child's surgery but also adopted her family and provided them with everything on their Christmas wish list.

Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 03/09/2006 5:42:35 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: NYer

Should people who know they are having a baby with Downs Syndrome be allowed to abort?


3 posted on 03/09/2006 5:43:07 PM PST by SamAdams76 (Venus is dazzling, but not very high, in the western sky)
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To: NYer
I would not be opposed to liberals having abortions......

"If we can`t route them out, we`ll breed them out."

4 posted on 03/09/2006 5:43:39 PM PST by Screamname (Tagline)
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To: NYer
Q: Why do you think it has become socially acceptable to abort a child with Down syndrome? Schiltz: Because, unfortunately, it has become socially acceptable to abort any baby who disappoints the expectations of the baby's parents for any reason, as the increasingly common practice of sex-selection abortion indicates.

If they ever do find a "gay gene", people may terminate pregnancies based on that. I wonder what libs will do since they support abortions and gay rights. Quite a dilemma.

5 posted on 03/09/2006 5:43:49 PM PST by edpc
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To: NYer

I think I'm speechless.


6 posted on 03/09/2006 5:44:29 PM PST by cvq3842
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: edpc

Don't forget mothers who abort every daughter they produce, looking for a son. You think the feminists will be able to bite their tongues and sit on their hands for that? They have so far...


8 posted on 03/09/2006 5:45:58 PM PST by Gordongekko909 (I know. Let's cut his WHOLE BODY off.)
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To: NYer

Disabled babies also come with very attractive stipends from the state and federal government.


9 posted on 03/09/2006 5:46:02 PM PST by Chickensoup (The water in the pot is getting warmer, froggies.The water in the pot is getting warmer, froggies.)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer

Great article. Thanks for posting.


11 posted on 03/09/2006 5:46:56 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: NYer

"Many prospective parents are waiting for years to adopt children with Down syndrome, according to a recent article in the Associated Press."

Why would so many people be specially waiting to try get a child with Down's syndrome?


12 posted on 03/09/2006 5:48:54 PM PST by gondramB (Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's.)
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To: NYer

Eugenics is back.


13 posted on 03/09/2006 5:50:42 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: edpc
I wonder what libs will do since they support abortions and gay rights.

They support gay rights and militant Islam, yet don't think it much of a contradiction.

14 posted on 03/09/2006 5:51:29 PM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Bend over and think of England.)
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer

I've known several people with Down's; they have more than a normal amount of emotional problems, but these are easily treated with counseling and medication. Generally they are very kind and loving people -- it is sickening that people would want to murder them.


16 posted on 03/09/2006 5:52:56 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: SamAdams76

my grand daughter was diagnosed as carrying a Down's baby, the perfectly normal result of her pregnancy can be seen by clicking my screen name.


17 posted on 03/09/2006 5:53:11 PM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: gondramB
People are willing to accept a Down's syndrome child.
18 posted on 03/09/2006 5:53:55 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: NYer

I have a Catholic friend who avoided getting a amniocentesis, even though she was in the high risk group, just because of this dilemma.


19 posted on 03/09/2006 5:56:41 PM PST by Fishing-guy
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To: Graybeard58

Beautiful babe. Yeah, they get it wrong too often.


20 posted on 03/09/2006 5:57:30 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: NYer
I don't know about Down Syndrome babies, but there are plenty of otherwise mentally and physically disabled children up for adoption...

http://www.adoptuskids.org/states/aici/aici_search_top.html

..for a start. If someone has their heart set on adopting a mentally disabled child, they shouldn't have a problem finding them.

21 posted on 03/09/2006 5:58:53 PM PST by ziggygrey
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To: NYer

A guy I work with came to me upset. He and his wife were expecting their 4 child. The Doctor told them the child had Down's Syndrome. They were thinking about an abortion.

He asked my opinion and I told him that I thought he should choose life. He and his wife talked to a few other people and agreed, that no matter what they were going to have the child.

The little girl was born and did not have Down's Syndrome.

Now they are expecting their 5th child. Caught up to me.


22 posted on 03/09/2006 5:59:19 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch
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To: William Creel

What, in your opinion, are the politically correct reasons to abort children?


23 posted on 03/09/2006 5:59:48 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: William Creel

At least Hitler advocated that the members of the "master race" reproduce themselves. The new master race doesn't care what happens after they leave.


24 posted on 03/09/2006 6:00:17 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Cap'n Crunch

See #17


25 posted on 03/09/2006 6:01:04 PM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: William Creel; SamAdams76; NYer

"Should people who know they are having a baby with Downs Syndrome be allowed to abort?"

"This type of abortion should be definently outlawed."



All types of abortion, except to save the life of the mother, should be outlawed.

It is really sickening how doctors try to push abortion on parents of babies who were diagnosed with Down Syndrome while in the womb. The article really nails the biggest problem, which is that the medical profession truly believes that parents have a "duty" to abort "imperfect" babies.

My wife and I are expecting a baby, and we chose not to undergo screening tests for disabilities, since we knew that we would have and raise our baby regardless of how God made her. But even for people who for some twisted reason do not believe that aborting a disabled child is murder and thus immoral, they should be aware that the Down Syndrome pre-screening yields a huge number of false positives, and while the amniocentesis that is performed as a follow-up has a much smaller percentage of false positives, the amniocentesis itself is a dangerous procedure that results in the baby's death in a not-insignificant percentage of times. And tests for other disabilities may be even more unreliable. I know someone who was diagnosed in the womb as being paraplegic and severely retarded, but her parents refused their doctor's advice that they abort her; she turned out to be paraplegic but mentally gifted, and ended up graduating from an elite university and law school. So the "imperfect" child that is aborted could turn out to be a genius. And even if he or she isn't, he or she is still entitled to the same human dignity as the rest of us.


26 posted on 03/09/2006 6:01:42 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: Cap'n Crunch

Faith is courage. Our elites constantly take counsel of their fears.


28 posted on 03/09/2006 6:03:18 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Graybeard58
my grand daughter was diagnosed as carrying a Down's baby, the perfectly normal result of her pregnancy can be seen by clicking my screen name.

So was a friend of mine, with the same result. She was strongly counseled to have the child aborted, but just could not bring herself to do it. Not under any circumstances. Turns out that the test for Down's can give a false positive if they have the age of the baby off by a significant amount.

I wonder how many perfectly normal babies have been killed, and how many parents have been denied a child, because of this?

29 posted on 03/09/2006 6:08:52 PM PST by wyattearp (The best weapon to have in a gunfight is a shotgun - preferably from ambush.)
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To: Graybeard58

Wow. That's the best argument against so far.


30 posted on 03/09/2006 6:12:08 PM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Cap'n Crunch

Wow. Second such story on the thread. I'm sold.


31 posted on 03/09/2006 6:12:41 PM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: gondramB

Children with Down's Syndrome are by the vast majority the sweetest children you will ever meet. I have never met a Down's Syndrome child who wasn't one of gentlest, sweetest, most beautiful souls on the planet.


32 posted on 03/09/2006 6:12:48 PM PST by PalestrinaGal0317 (We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity-Ann Coulter)
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To: edpc; NYer

"If they ever do find a "gay gene", people may terminate pregnancies based on that. I wonder what libs will do since they support abortions and gay rights. Quite a dilemma."



Last year, a pro-life Republican state legislator in Maine introduced a bill to ban abortions based on presence of a "gay gene" if one is ever discovered, exactly so as to create a huge dilemma for liberals. See:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1350151/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1350479/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1350980/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1351772/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1355719/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1358452/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1358805/posts


33 posted on 03/09/2006 6:14:14 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: RobbyS
And Margaret Sanger would be proud.

Margaret Sanger quotes:

"Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need ... We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock."

"Eugenics is … the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.

"The unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' [is] the greatest present menace to civilization… the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

"Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying… a dead weight of human waste… an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all."
34 posted on 03/09/2006 6:14:57 PM PST by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
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To: William Creel
some may even consider it a blessing.

Indeed! A Down Syndrome child is a blessing for they bring innocent joy into the home. What a sad world without these beautiful children.

35 posted on 03/09/2006 6:15:32 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: wyattearp

"I wonder how many perfectly normal babies have been killed, and how many parents have been denied a child, because of this?"



Even when an "imperfect" baby is killed, his or her parents are denied a child.


36 posted on 03/09/2006 6:15:53 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: Huck

The Dr., to his credit, did not councel my grand daughter to get an abortion. I look at my perfectly normal great grand son and wonder how many beautiful babies like him have been killed because of some flawed test.

He's about 6 months old now and praise God he is alive.


37 posted on 03/09/2006 6:16:00 PM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: gondramB
Why would so many people be specially waiting to try get a child with Down's syndrome?

Perhaps they recognize the disdain society has placed on any human being that is not perfect and seek to share their love and home with those who are unwanted by societal standards. Just a hunch :-)

38 posted on 03/09/2006 6:18:08 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: Graybeard58

Well congrats to you. Enjoy the blessing.


39 posted on 03/09/2006 6:19:36 PM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Fishing-guy
I have a Catholic friend who avoided getting a amniocentesis, even though she was in the high risk group, just because of this dilemma.

God bless her! I would have done the same.

40 posted on 03/09/2006 6:20:19 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: PalestrinaGal0317
Children with Down's Syndrome are by the vast majority the sweetest children you will ever meet. I have never met a Down's Syndrome child who wasn't one of gentlest, sweetest, most beautiful souls on the planet.

Palestrina, you said what I was just about to say. A long time ago, when I was a reporter, I was sent to do a story on a group of kids born with Down's Syndrome. I was just a young single guy, with not much concern about children one way or the other. It turned out to be one of the most moving experiences of my life. The open, innocent affection of these kids was overwhelming. It gave me a whole new insight into the value of human life. It was over 25 years ago, and I still think of it often. Their lives are precious, and their parents obviously felt so too.

41 posted on 03/09/2006 6:22:16 PM PST by speedy
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To: NYer

My cousin has Down's Syndrome. Plus, I worked for the ARC, which serves people with developmental disabilities such as Down's Syndrome, for 5 years. I worked in a group home with a middle aged man with Down's Syndrome and a middle aged woman with Down's Syndrome. They both had jobs. They both had hobbies and interests. And friends. They were both interested in the opposite sex. And they both seemed to derive at least as much joy out of life as many "normal" folks I've met.


42 posted on 03/09/2006 6:22:34 PM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: William Creel; Mr. Lucky
Only when the mother's life is at stake, and rape.

One of the most outspoken proponents against abortion, was the product of rape. She is a beautiful individual, smart, intelligent and pro-life!

43 posted on 03/09/2006 6:24:07 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: wyattearp
I wonder how many perfectly normal babies have been killed, and how many parents have been denied a child, because of this?

My wife and I went through exactly the same, almost 10 years ago. Quite a few medical offices are STRONGLY biased in favor of abortion for indications of Downs.

We had the same error in test results too, and I think a DELIBERATE mistake as to the date of pregnancy, which gives a false positive on AFP test. The doctors told us we were wrong about the date of pregnancy - they insisted we were wrong. And we knew for a fact that we were not.

We told 'em to stuff it - the extra tests, the attitude, and the business. We fired the doctor. We hired a midwife - had the baby at the Catholic hospital.

44 posted on 03/09/2006 6:26:32 PM PST by Cboldt
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To: RobbyS

Amen


45 posted on 03/09/2006 6:26:49 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch
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To: William Creel

Short of murder, rape is the most horrible crime there is, and I think all forcible rapists should get the death penalty (the Supreme Court decision that limits the use of the death penalty to murder is absurd). But an innocent child should not have to pay with his life for the sins of his father. The U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing "corruption of blood" (punishment for the children of the criminal) even on those convicted of treason. Society's response to a rape should be to execute the guilty rapist, not kill an innocent baby.

Here's a good article on the "tough cases" regarding abortion:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1593308/posts


46 posted on 03/09/2006 6:27:40 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: Graybeard58

When my mother was 36 years old she became pregnant. The Doctor urged her to have an abortion because of her age.

My sister is now 30 and has three kids of her own.


47 posted on 03/09/2006 6:28:42 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch
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To: Huck

Life is so precious, and love can make it through all obstacles. In my opinion anyway.


48 posted on 03/09/2006 6:30:24 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch
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To: NYer

one of my best friends lost his kids and his house, along with(and to) his wife, after the last of his parents died and he was all there is left to take care of his younger sister... until one of them dies.


49 posted on 03/09/2006 6:32:31 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist )
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To: Fishing-guy; All
I avoided an amniocentesis 12 years ago, because I was high risk, and the test caused an abortion in 1/200 cases.
My OB/GYN was certain my child would be born with Downs Syndrome, because of the numerous sonograms he scheduled.
I defied him, and my HMO backed my decision.
Fortunately I was not a 20 something pregnant mother, who believed that doctors knew everything.
I was a thirty something wonan, and had my child been born less than "perfect", I still wanted her,loved her already, and would have dealt with any problems as best I could.
My daughter still had a few holes in her heart at birth, that all closed naturally and completely before 24 months, and she is not a Downs Syndrome child.
I wonder how many women have aborted their "normal" children
based on the medical opinions and heavy pressure from their doctors?
I don't consider myself "special", and I never actively wished for a Downs Syndrome child.
The probability was an additional heavy stress during my final trimester of pregnancy.
Women who have aborted their babies don't want to hear about women like me.
If I were them, I would avoid me too!
Sigh....
50 posted on 03/09/2006 6:32:46 PM PST by sarasmom (I don't care who John Galt is, I just need his email address.)
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