Skip to comments.Slate writer: I would have aborted my son if I had known of his disability
Posted on 03/01/2012 2:44:38 PM PST by NYer
Emily Rapp and her son, Ronan, who has Tay-Sachs disease.
February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A writer and mother has challenged Rick Santorum’s stance against abortion by explaining that she would have certainly aborted her son if she had known of his disability and attendant suffering before he was born.
“I’m so grateful that Ronan is my child, Emily Rapp wrote in her column appearing in Slate magazine. I also wish he’d never been born; no person should suffer in this way.”
Santorum, who has used his GOP presidential campaign to question abortion, contraception and the fallout from the sexual revolution, has pointed to his daughter Bella as a testament to his family’s dedication to the sanctity of life. Bella Santorum was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that is likely to end in death either before or shortly after birth. However, thanks to the Santorums’ perseverance, Bella has already celebrated her third birthday.
Rapp opens her column, which is headed by an image of herself and her son smiling at each other, by declaring that had she known of her sons maladies before birth, “I would have saved him from suffering.”
Rapps son, who is almost two, suffers from Tay-Sachs disease, a degenerative condition that has left him blind and paralyzed and that will likely lead to his death before long.
“I believe it would have been an act of love to abort him, knowing that his life would be primarily one of intense suffering,” writes Rapp.
The creative writing professor says that she loves her son more than any person in the world and his life is of utmost value to me, but adds that she would have aborted him “without question and without regret.”
The fact that she can hold both “truths,” she says, “points to the reductive and narrow-minded nature of Rick Santorum’s assertions” that prenatal testing for irreversible conditions is morally questionable due to its role in increasing abortions.
Rapp, who herself suffers from a congenital condition that caused her to lose one leg at an early age, said that her mother “probably wished she’d had the choice” to abort her, and that it would have been her prerogative to do so, even though doctors gave her incorrect information in predicting Rapp would become mentally disabled or never walk.
“Regardless of the fact that none of the doctors warnings had any truth to them, it would have been her choice to make,” she wrote.
Rapp concluded that Santorum’s stance against abortion advocates “a return to that oppressive historical situation where women were punished for having sex, for making any kind of reproductive choice whatsoever, for being women, for being human beings.” “Neither choice is bad or good; neither is this one thing or the other,” she wrote.”
Last October, the New York Times published Rapps paean to nurturing a terminally ill child. She described parents in similar circumstances as “dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell.”
“I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. ... But it wont,” she wrote. “What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.”
For his part, Rick Santorum has described Bella, the youngest of seven living children, as the “joyful center of our universe” and has criticized doctors for encouraging the couple not to give her medical treatment following her diagnosis because she was not likely to see her first birthday.
In an October campaign video celebrating his daughter’s life, Santorum explains how he and his wife responded when a doctor one day advised the couple on how to care for Bella as she died. “Karen and I looked at each other and said, we’re not going to focus on her dying, we’re going to focus on her living,” he said.
“I look at her and I look at the joy and the simplicity and the love that she emits, and it’s clear to me that we’re the disabled ones, not her.”
Godless generation !
Wouldn’t it have been smarter for the mother and father to have been tested for Tay-Sachs markers before pro-creating?
“Theres this thing called genetic counseling, Ms. Rapp.”
I am a single marker carrier for Tay-Sachs —— as are a large number of Askenazi Jewish people.
I was screened early and it is a matter of open and frank discussion that two carriers don’t marry.
What a beautiful child. I couldn’t read much of the story because it’s difficult to read when I’m crying. I will say this, that I can only imagine how painful it must be for this woman to see her child suffer. She is wrong, but I feel very sorry for her and her son. I hope that she can find God and in so doing, find peace and acceptance.
I challenge her to look him in the eyes and tell him that instead of “confessing” to a sympathetic liberal rag.
I should have read the other posts. I just suggested that it would have been smarter for the parents to have been tested for Tay-Sachs markers before making the decision to pro-create.
This woman just refuses to take responsibility for her own decisions.
My daughter’s best friend has a daughter with the same condition as Santorum’s daughter. This little girl is the light of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a long road but she’s the sweetest, most loving child and all of her siblings pitch in to guide her progress. She has made incredible progress and who knows what lies ahead. The fact is that this family has put this precious child at the center of their lives, says a lot. By the way, there was no clue that she would be born with a problem. Mom is a nurse practitioner and had no clue til birth.
“I just suggested that it would have been smarter for the parents to have been tested for Tay-Sachs markers before making the decision to pro-create. This woman just refuses to take responsibility for her own decisions.”
Correct. I don’t know a single person of Ashkenazi Jewish decent who doesn’t know their Tay-Sachs carrier status.
The fact that TWO irresponsible idiots procreated is THEIR fault, not the fault of the innocent child.
What a beautiful picture of a mother and child.
I have two sets of neighbors who have children with severe disabilities, and none of the four parents would, as far as I know, prefer that their children had been killed either in the womb or at birth. I have very strong reasons to believe that all four love their children and cherish the opportunity to be parents to such wonderful blessings from God. No doubt, they would have preferred healthy children, but they are happy with the wonderful children they do have. My wife and I have one child with a moderate disability (significant enough that everyone notices the first time they see my child, but it’s not completely disabling). I have never even thought about such horrible things as this woman openly says about her own child. Once again, liberals disgust me.
This is what happens with the absence of God in people’s lives.
That comment will haunt her. Her son will find out.
Have the gates of Hell just been thrown wide open in the last few days, or what? Every filthy, vile, loathsome, disgusting act imaginable is being promoted without shame or hesitation in the public forum. First those guys in Australia who support “post-birth” abortion as ethical, then that slut from Georgetown Law demanding subsidized debauchery, and now this.
How long, oh Lord, how long?
There is something a little exploitative about what she's doing here. Some parading of her talents and emotions and opinions and anger with a long resume of her credentials affixed (Go here, for example)-- a public display of things most of us would want to keep private.
But I suspect she has some ambivalence about what she should do and how she should feel and a lot of things are going through her mind now. She felt like this at the time and couldn't resist writing about it and sending it in to be published. How she'll feel about it tomorrow or the next day, I couldn't say.
I’m wondering why these pro-abortion folks decide that their mothers should have aborted them and perform a postpartum abortion on themselves.
If she would just kill herself, then she wouldn’t have see her son suffer.
She had genetic counselling. It missed the rare form of Tay-Sachs she carries according to the story.
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