Terminating Down Syndrome Pregnancies Is Shameful

Jordyn Shingleton, Opinion Editor

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Imagine if a mother could pick and choose her child before that child ever came into the world. Medical breakthroughs have made it so parents can genetically alter their fetus’s hair and eye color, creating somewhat of “the perfect looking baby.” Like shopping for a car, parents can get the exact make and model they desire.

But doctors aren’t only stopping with hair and eye color, they are now giving expectant mothers the option of a screening test that can indicate if their fetus has a chromosomal abnormality that could potentially leave the child born with a disability. The most common condition being targeted is Down Syndrome.

In Iceland, the rate of termination for these pregnancies is nearly 100 percent—compared to 67 percent in America. That means people with Down Syndrome might soon be erased from Iceland, and one can only guess where this could lead and what other groups might be targeted.

Why is the percentage so high? The Icelandic government requires that all women are given strict information about the test and its availability during normal ultrasound visits. Icelandic doctors are required to tell their patients about this test, whereas American doctors are not.

People who are terminating these pregnancies must have limited knowledge about the situation, or else they wouldn’t be doing it in the first place. These mothers must think that children and eventual adults with Down Syndrome are unfit to live and will not have or maintain happy lives when they grow older. The fact is that terminating pregnancies just because one doesn’t want to care for a child that may bring difficulties along with them is very inhumane. All children bring difficulties — they are children.

Mothers are being advised to pick and choose their children. Why is that fair when if the roles were reversed, the child does not have the power to pick his or her own mother?

But this topic is not about abortion, it is about valuing every life. This is genocide. How is this any different than what Hitler was trying to accomplish? We were rightfully outraged when our President singled out Muslims for his immigration ban, but the world is seemingly silent on the issue of Down Syndrome termination.

These victims of this genocide have no voice because their vocal cords were cut when their mother decided to terminate the pregnancy. Despite people’s beliefs, many people that are born with Down Syndrome today have the chance to live long, healthy and overall happy lives. Most thrive and can communicate just like their peers. They can date, laugh and smile alongside family and friends just like you and I can.

If you have ever been around a person with the condition, you know that they are the happiest and most joyful people you will ever meet. They have a sense of love for life that most people don’t seem to appreciate themselves. The thought of taking away an aura of light that shines around these people should not be acceptable in today’s society.

It seems like in today’s world it is all about loving everyone and sharing people’s company. Over the course of several years, many social movements have been made. Black lives matter, LGBTQ+, and many, many more.

Deciding to terminate a pregnancy, later than the accepted and healthy time for the fetus, based on an uncontrollable genetic condition is a horrendous act that should be quickly diminished.

Highland does an excellent job of making these kids comfortable and helping them to know that they can belong in the “Ram-Fam,” community. Every year the Special Needs classes participate in a theatre performance put on with the help of the advanced theatre class. They have lead roles, and are paired up with a student from the advanced class. I had the opportunity to do this when I was a sophomore and it was an amazing experience. The kids were so happy to finally be able to share their abilities with the community and to be in front of a spotlight.

People who support terminating pregnancies just because their baby may have the Down Syndrome condition are giving up the opportunity to experience the love and happiness that these children will show and radiate.

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Terminating Down Syndrome Pregnancies Is Shameful