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A life well-lived, given the chance
Mpls. Star Tribune ^ | May 2, 2012 | George Will

Posted on 05/03/2012 3:04:38 PM PDT by rhema

When Jonathan Frederick Will was born 40 years ago -- on May 4, 1972, his father's 31st birthday -- the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome was about 20 years. That is understandable.

The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon's parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns.

Not doing so was, however, still considered an acceptable choice for parents who might prefer to institutionalize or put up for adoption children thought to have necessarily bleak futures.

Whether warehoused or just allowed to languish from lack of stimulation and attention, people with Down syndrome, not given early and continuing interventions, were generally thought to be incapable of living well, and hence usually did not live as long as they could have.

Down syndrome is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal defect -- an extra 21st chromosome. It causes varying degrees of mental retardation and some physical abnormalities, including small stature, a single crease across the center of the palms, flatness of the back of the head, a configuration of the tongue that impedes articulation, and a slight upward slant of the eyes.

In 1972, people with Down syndrome were still commonly called Mongoloids. Now they are called American citizens, about 400,000 of them, and their life expectancy is now 60. Much has improved. There has, however, been moral regression as well.

Jon was born just 19 years after James Watson and Francis Crick published their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA, discoveries that would enhance understanding of the structure of Jon, whose every cell is imprinted with Down syndrome.

(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: abortion; downsyndrome; prolife
http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/630*424/2will050312.jpg
1 posted on 05/03/2012 3:04:45 PM PDT by rhema
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To: Salvation; narses; wagglebee; Caleb1411; NYer
Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe vs. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of preborn babies.

This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full garish flowering of the baby boomers' vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature's mishaps, and to a perfect baby.

2 posted on 05/03/2012 3:06:23 PM PDT by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: rhema

What a great story.


3 posted on 05/03/2012 3:24:43 PM PDT by Shannon
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To: rhema

Dang browser’s gone all blurry...

I think I just got a tiny idea of what Sarah feels when she looks at Trig.


4 posted on 05/03/2012 4:43:04 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Shannon

George Will has a Downs Syndrome child.


5 posted on 05/03/2012 4:44:12 PM PDT by Newfy
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To: Shannon

George Will has a Downs Syndrome child.


6 posted on 05/03/2012 4:44:30 PM PDT by Newfy
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To: Newfy
George Will has a Downs Syndrome child.

he's the subject of the story

7 posted on 05/03/2012 4:52:17 PM PDT by BookmanTheJanitor
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To: BluesDuke
This year Jon will spend his birthday where every year he spends 81 spring, summer and autumn days and evenings, at Nationals Park, in his seat behind the home team's dugout. The Phillies will be in town, and Jon will be wishing them ruination, just another man, beer in hand, among equals in the republic of baseball.
8 posted on 05/04/2012 4:18:24 PM PDT by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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