Is No One Else Disturbed by Attitudes Towards Handicapped?

But male vs female is. And people already kill their own child for that.

As new markers (such as Down Syndrome) are discovered, they’ll be used the same way.

“Point of view” is a sinister justification for that.

There are no bright lines, no black and white, but only endless shades of grey on this issue.

Some in my family (mother’s side) carry the gene for a lethal allele. The gene, if active causes a massive heart deformity that is 100% fatal. Death usually occurs in the final month of gestation, but occasional as a stillbirth and sometimes the fetus survives the birth and lives for a day or so.

Fortunately, this can now be screened for very early on and the pregnancy can be terminated. In this case, you are merely speeding up what is bound to happen anyway and sparing the mother the anguish (and danger) of a term pregnancy only to lose the child at or near birth.

In the case of lethal alleles, screening out these pregnancies is justified, particularly as the fetus is already, by definition, doomed.


Well thought-out post that expresses personal experience with the subject and how it’s impossible to view it in black and white terms. Thank you.

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Same with anancephaly

Same with Tay Sachs disease, largely present in Ashkenazi Jewish populations as well as French Canadian. Babies who receive a gene from both parents for this die early in childhood.

I’m perplexed by intentionally targeting babies with Downs Syndrome, though. This isn’t a new disorder.

It is survivable, with an average of 60 being lived by many since they are no longer cared for in institutions. There are support systems for such families, including through this lady

who also has offices in other parts of the U S, home base being California.

Why intentionally target what isn’t perfect, but, unlike lethal alleles, survivable?

In regards to Iceland and Down’s Syndrome my assumption was that perhaps it was a cultural rather than state issue - the government doesn’t mandate abortions for it, doesn’t even mandate testing for it in the first place. So why are Icelanders choosing to have abortions after positive tests?

What little googling I did showed that DS is not, in fact, nearly eradicated in Iceland - actually it’s only 10% less than in other European countries. Iceland has a higher rate of abortion in general than other Nordic countries, a fact attributed in part to limited sex education there as well as less effective use of contraception.

Prenatal testing for DS exists nearly everywhere in first world countries, but Icelandic women abort after a positive test nearly 100% of the time - why? Some sources say it’s the result of heavy handed genetic counseling, if that’s true easy to assume there’s a state influence at play. So yeah, still not sure myself without further reading.

(For the record? In the US a positive test for DS results in abortion 67% of the time. The rates are much higher in European nations.)

There is nothing inherently noble about being forced to bring a life into this world that will be brief, painful, and filled with complications for both the child and it’s family. Nobody is saying that people with Down’s Syndrome are bad or should be treated in any way like lesser human beings, but the reality is that their condition often requires a lifetime of care that prevents true independence. A family has every right to be made fully aware of that and to make the decision as to if they want that to be their future or not.

Or even what IS perfect, like two X chromosomes.

We’ve enshrined the right to one decision in law, so culling the next trait becomes even easier.

I’m not sure what you mean by no more life. Most put them down when it is so very cruel to watch them struggle and in pain on a day to day basis.

Is that life or simply struggling, painful and cruel existence?

I think you answered your own question, in a large part, as I see it.

Perhaps it might be better understood by the term “quality of life”?

I’m not sure, Lou. We have to be stewards of our pets as they are helpless. If they were in the wild no doubt when any weakness or sickness hit them, they’'d be left behind or killed by another animal.

As people, we have means of communicating and asking for help and medical technology that allows us vast improvements in our ailments or infirmities.

“I am a man. See me as a human being, not a birth defect…” (John Franklin Stephens)

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