That's the rational pitch; here's the emotional one. Margaret is a person and a member of our family. She has my husband's eyes, my hair and my mother-in-law's sense of humor. We love and admire her because of who she is -- feisty and zesty and full of life -- not in spite of it. She enriches our lives. If we might not have chosen to welcome her into our family, given the choice, then that is a statement more about our ignorance than about her inherent worth.
What I don't understand is how we as a society can tacitly write off a whole group of people as having no value. I'd like to think that it's time to put that particular piece of baggage on the table and talk about it, but I'm not optimistic. People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on.
And here's one more piece of un-discussable baggage: This question is a small but nonetheless significant part of what's driving the abortion discussion in this country. I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is not just about a woman's right to choose whether to have a baby; it's also about a woman's right to choose which baby she wants to have.
An excellent piece that bravely points out inconsistencies and tragic ironies, as well as the joy of life, and that I can only humbly fault, not so much with the piece, perhaps, but with the way of discourse it expresses, an imprecision that is perhaps too painful to face. This is not about "having" or "not having" babies with disabilities - the common way of discussing such things, when they are discussed at all. It is about "killing" or "not killing" babies with disabilities. Period.
And if you want to see some evidence of the debate no one wants to have, check out this blog, the blogger's comments on this piece, and then the comments on his commnets. There is such a frightening disassociation from the reality of what is going here...