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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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787 Responses

  1. noiselull
    noiselull February 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

    While I agree that Santorum’s desire to remove the mandate that insurance companies cover pre-natal care, this does not apply to all those who want to remove that mandate. Insurance companies should be able to sell any contracts they want. If consumers want to sign up for a plan that does not cover pre-natal care, they should be free to choose. Sad that arguments over women’s rights issues have made everybody forget about freedom of contract.

  2. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

    You know what prevents abortion? Accessible contraception. What are Rick Santorum’s thoughts on that?

    What a dirtbag.

  3. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

    Obviously, Santorum doesn’t really care about the disabled.

    But to me it seems that selectively aborting based on disability seems like a pretty horrible thing to me. I mean I know parents don’t want to be shouldered with the responsibility of looking after a disabled kid. That’s very understandable and I’m sure it’s a lot of work. But still it seems really horrible.

  4. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

    I disagree that insurance companies should be free to sell contracts that discriminate against women. Sorry, noiselull.

  5. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

    I mean I know parents don’t want to be shouldered with the responsibility of looking after a disabled kid.

    Wow…I don’t even…

  6. EG
    EG February 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm |

    If consumers want to sign up for a plan that does not cover pre-natal care, they should be free to choose.

    Yes, because that’s how it works in this country. We’re all just browsing in a giant department store of insurance policies, free to choose the one that best meets our needs and walk away from the ones that don’t. All parties to this health insurance contract of which you speak have equivalent negotiating power. It’s not like in real life, people are locked into whatever decisions their employer makes.

    I mean I know parents don’t want to be shouldered with the responsibility of looking after a disabled kid. That’s very understandable and I’m sure it’s a lot of work.

    That’s really how you understand what’s behind the decision to end a pregnancy that would result in a severely disabled baby? You need to really think about the circumstances women find themselves in, and the vast variety of disabilities that can be identified prenatally before you make such a callous statement. Because trust me, nobody who has decided to have a kid is doing so in order to coast by easily.

  7. M Groesbeck
    M Groesbeck February 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

    Sad that arguments over women’s rights issues have made everybody forget about freedom of contract.

    “Freedom of contract” is a concept that was developed to cover employer exploitation, debt peonage, discrimination based on employer whim, etc. Agreements and negotiations are “free” to the extent that neither party involved is able to use their position of greater power and/or privilege to extort concessions; that is, in a capitalist context (as well as any other system built around promoting imbalances in power), never.

  8. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen February 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

    Ah, I can see how this makes sense. Strip pregnant women of their right to know anything useful about their pregnancies, and you take away their ability to make any functional plans about their maternal lives — like how risky their pregnancies will be, whether childbirth might kill them, how much treatment their babies will need upon birth, or which medical center at which to initiate labour in order to ensure high-risk infants receive life-saving care…

    Wait a second, you mean prenatal screening saves lives?! Ah, yes, but that would put the power of life and health in the hands of women and doctors, rather than God. And we can’t be having that!

  9. noiselull
    noiselull February 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm |

    Should have clarified. I oppose employer provided health insurance. People should buy health insurance for themselves. No reason why employers should provide health insurance for employees when they don’t provide other essentials of life to them. This only occurs because of the tax incentives involved. If people want to have a group policy, there is no reason why that group must be a group of employees working for the same employer. By forcing employers to compensate workers in health insurance, government has made employees worse off.

  10. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

    That’s really how you understand what’s behind the decision to end a pregnancy that would result in a severely disabled baby? You need to really think about the circumstances women find themselves in, and the vast variety of disabilities that can be identified prenatally before you make such a callous statement. Because trust me, nobody who has decided to have a kid is doing so in order to coast by easily.

    Sorry I should have added a disclaimer that I understand if it’s in the case of financial concerns.

    But what I find really disturbing is the attitude where someone decides that someone else’s life is not worth living because they’re disabled. And that non disabled folks should have power over the lives of disabled folks in what choices they make and whether they should be allowed to live, and stuff.

  11. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm |

    Chiara, you think fetuses are already “folks”? If so, isn’t the logical conclusion that abortion is always horrible, whether there’s a disability or not?

    I’m not saying you really think that, but it seems to be a slippery slope you’re on.

    Personally, I think fetuses are only “folks” when their mother thinks of them that way.

  12. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

    Well it’s certainly not the place of the law to make such judgements. I’m just saying I’m very uneasy about anyone who gets an abortion out of the mentality ‘I think the world would be better less one disabled person’.

  13. Amber
    Amber February 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm |

    My mum was told I would have downs, I don’t (just a host of other problems), she had me. It just gives women a choice, Oh no! And give them a chance to prepare themselves and their lives for their children

  14. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine February 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

    I’m just saying I’m very uneasy about anyone who gets an abortion out of the mentality ‘I think the world would be better less one disabled person’.

    This is holding an extremely low opinion of pregnant women, and an extremely misguided sense of why raising a child with disabilities can be difficult. The reason for the “children with disabilities are such a burden” trope exists is because our culture and our government does not provide resources to give people (actual, born people) with disabilities the rights of full citizenship. If we had, say, universal health care; excellent public schooling; reliable and effective social work; fully accessible public and private spaces; and outstanding, safe group homes or supported living options in every state, county, and city in this country, THEN we might be talking about “I just don’t want to add a person with disabilities to this world because SAD THINGS.” The decision to have a child is the decision to change one’s life; the decision to have a child you know will have disabilities adds a fucked up culture of ableism and “bootstrapping” on top of every other consideration.

  15. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm |

    Chiara, you think fetuses are already “folks”? If so, isn’t the logical conclusion that abortion is always horrible, whether there’s a disability or not?

    I’m not saying you really think that, but it seems to be a slippery slope you’re on.

    Personally, I think fetuses are only “folks” when their mother thinks of them that way.

    No not quite. What I’m saying is that the choice that aborting a disabled fetus because you feel that living a severely disabled life is not worthwhile while you wouldn’t abort a non-disabled fetus implies a similar attitude towards disabled and non-disabled born people. That one life is worth living, the other not, which is what I find horrible.

    On the other hand aborting due to other reasons like not wanting to have a child, being in a really bad financial situation or whatever, do not imply this attitude towards disabled people. There is no slippery slope here.

    I’m not condemning the abortion, but the reason it was had. Like I condemn someone aborting a girl because they’re a misogynist or someone aborting a black baby because they’re racist.

  16. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

    I’m just saying I’m very uneasy about anyone who gets an abortion out of the mentality ‘I think the world would be better less one disabled person’.

    I’m sure there are many people who think the world would be better less one disabled person. I’m less sure, however, that there are many people who, after going for an amniocentesis after the 15th week of pregnancy (at the earliest) and then waiting for the results, choose to abort on grounds that the world would be better less one disabled person. When you meet one, let me know — I’ll decide what to think about them then.

  17. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

    Gah. I’m sorry. My first post was thoughtless and just a stupid emotional response to part of the article. And then I just tried to keep defending it, you know…

    I realize I haven’t properly considered the reasons why women may choose not to have a disabled child and it’s really much more complicated than simply a matter of pregnant women hating disabled people.

    Just when I see the idea of questioning the value of a disabled life I just can’t think straight because I’ve had people question the value of me as a person and whether I should be ‘allowed’ to do x y and z because of a disability I have.

  18. Harriet Gale
    Harriet Gale February 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm |

    I don’t know much about US realities. Would you mind giving me actual figures?
    Let’s say this screening is not covered by my insurance plan.
    How much should I pay to get it done?
    How does it compare to other typical pregnancy costs?

  19. Catherine
    Catherine February 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm |

    Pre-natal testing is important for many reasons but in the case of a disabled child, it’s not whether the person is going to abort it. I’ll leave that to the woman making the choice as she alone has to decide what is right for her. If she does decide to take the baby to term and raise it, wouldn’t it be vital for her to know what she may possibly expect, get educated and prepare for the baby beyond what color to paint the nursery and type of mobile to hang? On what planet is it preferable to be ignorant and uneducated about such a life-changing event. It’s nobody’s damn business what a woman chooses to do and for what reason. I’m really losing it with what I keep seeing in the news these past several weeks… yes, it’s been bad for awhile but WOW, the ratcheting up is horrifying.

  20. EG
    EG February 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

    Thanks, Chiara. I really appreciate what you said in your most recent comment. The women I know, for example, who would have considered aborting if certain results had come back from amniocentesis had a number of reasons feeding into their decisions, but I never heard one of them express the opinion that the world would be better off with one less disabled person. So thank you for rethinking your position; I for one really appreciate it.

    Harriet, women who are able to get prenatal care in the US either have it covered by insurance or get what they can at free clinics. Lemme look up the cost of amniocentesis for you: Ok, judging from this thread, it seems to run around $1500. I couldn’t afford to shell that out.

  21. Rick Santorum is against pre-natal screening – Feministe (blog) | Health News

    […] Santorum is against pre-natal screening – Feministe (blog) Rick Santorum is against pre-natal screeningFeministe (blog)By Jill on 2.19.2012 Which would be totally fine if babies were delivered via stork, […]

  22. Rick Santorum is against pre-natal screening – Feministe (blog) | HealthNewsInquirer.com

    […] Santorum is against pre-natal screening – Feministe (blog) Rick Santorum is against pre-natal screeningFeministe (blog)By Jill on 2.19.2012 Which would be totally fine if babies were delivered via stork, […]

  23. anonymous
    anonymous February 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

    I think it’s unfortunate that Chiara backed down from her very valid and thoughtful statements. 90% of women who discover a fetus will have Down Syndrome will have an abortion. That is based on a study out of the UK. There’s no way to spin that other than discrimination against oeople with Down Syndrome. Any other explanation is wrought with denial. In my opinion, if you’re not prepared to parent a disabled child, you’re not prepared to parent.

    I am not against prenatal screening by any means. But I think it’s important that we point out the horrible realities that it is exposing and discuss how we can become more enlightened as a species. Chiara’s intitions are absolute right and anyone trying to argue against that is in denial.

  24. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

    Can we stop equating people who don’t want to START someone else’s life with severe disadvantages/disabilities/pain/high risk of death/etc. with mistreating someone who is ALREADY BORN and ALREADY EXPERIENCING the world? Because, really, it’s not the same thing. I honestly don’t care how able-fetused you are, but if your family is not ready to take care of you, you are not entitled to be born. Period.

    Women & families don’t deserve to be shamed for wanting healthy pregnancies, and wanting what’s best for ALL of their future children.

    And another thing–the suffering from disability (especially catastrophic birth defects) is not ENTIRELY socially constructed. Yes, we as a society are woefully behind in addressing issues that would greatly improve the lives of already-born disabled people and we need to work on that, but that has no bearing on whether or not a potential parent wants to bring someone into the world who will have inescapable medical complications, inability to communicate needs and wants to caretakers, and lots of pain.

    And again, I have no moral compunction whatsoever with stating that a potential person–who does not have a functioning brain yet!–is in no way equivalent to an actual person. Reducing the burden of disease IS a valuable goal when done through prevention, and it’s disingenuous in the extreme to compare that to eliminationism.

  25. Azalea
    Azalea February 20, 2012 at 12:02 am |

    SMH. It does not matter why a woman decides to have an abortion, it’s still her body and it is still her choice. A disabled fetus is not a disabled baby, a female fetus is not a little girl so forth and so on. This is just rhetoric. You know what’s going on, they put their eggs into the birth control basket and LOST so know they are looking for a way to retaliate and here, Santorum brings this to the table.

    Has anyone else noticed how the republican candidates keep avoiding the issue of the eocnomy, the wars, jobs in favor of controlling women, controlling women, controlling women?

  26. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 20, 2012 at 12:04 am |

    And yet, people still have the right to decline to carry any pregnancy to term for any reason, and forcing them to do so is always wrong.

    And, Anonymous, there is a huge difference between being prepared and able to parent an abled or mildly disabled child, and being prepared and able to parent a severely disabled child. The latter requires far, far more in terms of resources (money, access to medical care, access to therapy, time to spend with the child) than many, even most, people have available to them. What do you want to happen when people without the resources to properly care for these kids know they’re pregnant with them? They should have them anyway, and then fail to properly care for them because they are incapable of doing so? Or they should give them up to be institutionalized, where they are also usually not properly cared for? What, exactly, do you want people who cannot provide them with the care they deserve to do?

    And let’s take this farther. Amniocentesis also detects anencephaly, where the fetus lack a forebrain, as well as part of the skull and scalp, leaving the brain tissue they do have exposed. The longest an anencephalic child has been known to live is 2.5 years, and most of them do not survive birth, with most of the rest not lasting more than a few hours afterwards. They have no quality of life at all, not having enough brain to do so. Carrying such a child to term subjects one to all the dangers of pregnancy, while nearly assuring that the child will not survive. In the tiny tiny percentage of cases where the child survives more than a few hours, the medical intervention required to keep them alive is enormous, and enormously costly. Should anyone be prepared to parent be prepared to parent one of these children, to risk their lives and health to carry to term, only to have heartbreak and huge medical bills?

  27. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 12:06 am |

    @leftsidepositive, if you were close to someone who was disabled, you would understand where Chiara and I are coming from. We are not talking about the morality of abortion, but the discrimination that is exposed by the facts here. Chiara had the best approach to articulatng this point–what if 90% of females were being aborted after these screenings? I hold the view that people with Down Syndrome are as valuable to society as everyone else, because I think they are people who are different and not people who are worse.

  28. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 12:08 am |

    There’s no way to spin that other than discrimination against oeople with Down Syndrome. Any other explanation is wrought with denial. In my opinion, if you’re not prepared to parent a disabled child, you’re not prepared to parent.

    First of all, you mean “fraught with denial.”

    Second of all, here’s an explanation: I don’t want to worry about what’s going to happen to my child after I die. I don’t want to have to sit with anxiety as my child undergoes numerous heart surgeries. I don’t want to outlive my child. I will probably be a single mother, and I won’t have the resources necessary to give a kid with special needs a bearable life, and I sure as hell don’t trust state-run institutions after the recent NYT expose.

    Finally, “am deciding not to” is not the same thing as “not prepared to,” and neither is the same as “will not if it happens.” But it’s always nice to see how comfortable random strangers are in passing judgment about which women make acceptable mommies and which don’t.

    Personally, I think that people who think that women who dare to make decisions about what to do with their uteruses based on their actual desires and circumstances are self-righteous douchebags. Any other explanation is fraught with denial. Maybe even wrought.

    1. anonymous
      anonymous February 20, 2012 at 12:37 am |

      You’re sadly so over-sensitive about women’s rights topics that you can’t face the main point of the argument and you have to keep making it about what you want it to be. If we have a society where 90% of people think that someone with Down Syndrome shouldnt be born, then we have problems in our society. This argument is about the eradication of people with Down Syndrome from the world, not about your uterus. The next generation will have 90% fewer humans with Down Syndrome. How is that not horrifying?

      Thanks for the word correction, btw. I hope you intended that as a courtesy and not as a juvenile effort to discredit my opinion.

  29. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 12:12 am |

    “If you’re not prepared to parent a disabled child, you’re not prepared to parent”

    Uh-huh. That…is a load of crap. First of all, no one is ever “prepared” to parent a disabled baby. You figure it out, you do the best you can…but you’re not going to be “prepared,” ever–any more than you’re prepared to parent a TAB child. That said, I got CF testing for this pregnancy because if the test came back positive, I damn well wanted the lead time to prepare.

    Second of all, I don’t like the idea of forcing parents who (for the sake of argument) ARE biased against ppl with Down’s syndrome/CF/tri 18 to birth a child with it. Doesn’t do the child any good, that’s for certain.

  30. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 12:17 am |

    if you were close to someone who was disabled, you would understand where Chiara and I are coming from.

    See, it’s just not possible for somebody to actually disagree with good ol’ anonymous. You either don’t understand, or you can’t possibly ever have been close to a disabled person. Or both. It’s not possible to actually have a different opinion, perhaps based on different values or something. That would just be crazy talk.

    We are not talking about the morality of abortion, but the discrimination that is exposed by the facts here. Chiara had the best approach to articulatng this point–what if 90% of females were being aborted after these screenings?

    What if the moon were made of green cheese? It’s not. If being female caused heart problems, increased the likelihood of me outliving my children, and put my female child’s ability to get by without me once I’m dead in question, I would make the same damn call. Being female is not comparable to having Down’s Syndrome.

    I hold the view that people with Down Syndrome are as valuable to society as everyone else, because I think they are people who are different and not people who are worse.

    Funny, I don’t think “value to society” should have anything to do with whether or not a woman chooses to carry to term. Women are not communal vessels who provide babies for the greater good. We get to make our own judgment calls without taking the rest of society’s needs into account. I know it’s hard to wrap your mind around, given the centuries-long tradition of telling women to put the needs and desires of everybody else in the world before their own, but you know, deal with it.

  31. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 12:18 am |

    Second of all, here’s an explanation: I don’t want to worry about what’s going to happen to my child after I die. I don’t want to have to sit with anxiety as my child undergoes numerous heart surgeries. I don’t want to outlive my child. I will probably be a single mother, and I won’t have the resources necessary to give a kid with special needs a bearable life, and I sure as hell don’t trust state-run institutions after the recent NYT expose.

    That expose was TERRIFYING.

  32. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    Damn, chava. I just looked up trisomy 18, and here’s a quote from wikipedia:

    “Half of infants with this condition do not survive beyond the first week of life.[10] The median lifespan is 5–15 days.[11][12] About 8% of infants born with this syndrome survive longer than 1 year,[13] 1% of children live to age 10, typically in less severe cases of the mosaic Edwards syndrome.[7]”

    Yeah, you know what? I’m not prepared for that. You know why? Nobody’s fucking prepared for that. Not even a little.

  33. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 12:33 am |

    90% of women who discover a fetus will have Down Syndrome will have an abortion.

    Why is that any of your business? Do you have a quota or something that you’re trying to fill? Does it make you feel ennobled to bring more suffering into the world? Do you need to validate your accepting and caring for actual, living people with disabilities by making sure there’s plenty of suffering to go around?

    There’s no way to spin that other than discrimination against oeople with Down Syndrome.

    How about thoughtful consideration of the suffering a child with Down Syndrome might have? How about not knowing how severe zir health complications will be? What with actually SEEING inpatient pediatrics and seeing what lots of these kids go through, it makes me pretty sick to see self-righteous fools claim that severe, painful medical issues all boil down to “discrimination.”

    Here’s another thing: FETUSES ARE NOT PEOPLE. No fetus NO MATTER WHAT has any “right to life.” At the common point in gestation for screening, they don’t have anything close to the brain development that would allow them to perceive ANYTHING. In anything resembling a human sense, they don’t exist yet, and are neurologically incapable of suffering, UNLIKE after their full gestation and birth.

    In my opinion, if you’re not prepared to parent a disabled child, you’re not prepared to parent.

    Fuck you. On behalf of millions of devoted, thoughtful parents who give their best to their children, fuck you. People don’t need to be saints to be good parents. They don’t have to martyr themselves to your satisfaction to be good parents.

    Yeah, millions of parents are not willing to see their children seize and die in a cramped hospital room with incurable diseases. Millions of parents are not willing to see tracheotomies performed on their averbal, perpetually-comatose children. Don’t think you’re making the world a better place by insisting that a baby who needs to have its diaphragm cut into to pull its intestines out of the space for its barely formed lungs is given a great, exciting gift with a four-month stay in the ICU, multiple surgeries, and likely death via slow suffocation. Don’t insist that the kid who is incapable of telling his mother where he hurts and terrified of the doctors whom he can’t understand all while screaming in pain and cowering by the examination table would only have a great life if his parents were better prepared and society weren’t more “prejudiced.”

    But I think it’s important that we point out the horrible realities that it is exposing[…]

    What horrible realities? Someone who didn’t exist yet isn’t going to exist. If my mom had a headache on the night I was conceived, I wouldn’t exist–that’s not a horrible reality, that’s just a rather boring thought experiment. If I spontaneously aborted, that would be sad for my mom & dad, who were living breathing people at the time and very attached to the imminent me, but I really wouldn’t have known any different and wouldn’t have lost anything (& I’m sure the next little ovum to be fertilized would have had a great life!). Heaven only knows how many little fertilized ova before me never implanted, never knew the world, and never had a chance to partake in this conversation.

  34. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl February 20, 2012 at 12:36 am |

    My uncle has hemophilia, and my mum grew up knowing she might be a carrier. When in the mid-70’s she decided to start a family soon, genetic testing was the first thing she had done. Prior to that testing, she put a good deal of thought into what she would do if she WAS a carrier. She decided that she would get pregnant, have an amnio to determine the fetus’s gender, and if it was male, abort. In the mid-70’s amnio was fairly primitive, and couldn’t tell you if the fetus was hemophiliac (in fact, I’m not sure it can even now). She’d rather have aborted a potentially healthy male fetus than risked having a hemophiliac son.

    When my mother told me about this plan of hers, i was stunned. My mother is the most anti-abortion person I know (politically she holds her nose and votes pro-choice, but on a personal level she thinks it’s a horrible thing). Also, hemophilia is a physical rather than mental disability. Her reasoning? Having grown up with a big brother who was in horrible pain on a daily basis, she felt she could not put an innocent child through that kind of suffering. Not if she had the means to prevent it. And my uncle (who would not exist if my grandparents had had access to that level of technology and had made that particular choice) agreed with her reasoning. The last thing he wanted was a nephew with his excruciatingly painful disorder.

    Now, I’m not saying every hemophiliac is going to feel that way. But that one did. People are complicated and their attitudes towards abortion for genetic disorders are complicated.

    Friends of a friend had amnio done and were told their fetus had Down’s syndrome. Living in Canada with our healthcare system may have played into their decision to continue the pregnancy. A little later they wanted a third child (their kid with Down’s was their second child), and had amnio done again. But this time with the intention of aborting if the fetus had Down’s. Already willingly raising one child with Down’s, they couldn’t face the idea of raising TWO severely disabled children.

  35. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 20, 2012 at 12:38 am |

    Blast. I’ve got a comment caught in moderation, probably because it contains a link to the Wiki article on anencephaly. I think EG just made roughly the same points, though.

  36. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 12:47 am |

    Second of all, I don’t like the idea of forcing parents who (for the sake of argument) ARE biased against ppl with Down’s syndrome/CF/tri 18 to birth a child with it.

    Look, I hate to break it to you, but evidence-based medical concern is not “bias.” Realistically being aware that you may never be able to talk to your child is not “bias.” Realizing that your child may live for only 15 days is not “bias.” Fearing that your child may have to endure lung transplantation and be on immunosuppressants for the rest of zir life is not “bias.” Not wanting to watch your child get wracked with recurrent bouts of pneumonia is not “bias.” Knowing that your child cannot participate in any of the activities that bind your family together is not “bias.” The suffering that these kids and families endure is real, and is not due to misperception or cultural construction. Being able to breathe vs. not being able to breathe are not equally-valid ways of interacting with oxygen in our world into which the patriarchy has unjustly interfered to privilege painless breathing over painful breathing.

  37. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 12:52 am |

    I intended it as an obnoxious eye-roll.

    You’re sadly so over-sensitive about women’s rights topics that you can’t face the main point of the argument and you have to keep making it about what you want it to be. If we have a society where 90% of people think that someone with Down Syndrome shouldnt be born, then we have problems in our society.

    We don’t have that society. We have a society in which 90% of women who find that the fetus they are carrying would develop into a baby with Down’s Syndrome decide that they, personally, don’t want to bear that child. That says nothing about whether or not they thing people with Down’s Syndrome “should be born” in general. It says something about whether or not they want to be the ones bearing them.

    And of course we have problems in our society. But solving every single one of our social problems would not address most of my reasons for not wanting to be the person bearing a child with Down’s Syndrome: I don’t want to have to suffer through my child’s heart surgeries; I don’t want to outlive my children. Down’s Syndrome actually causes significant health problems. These are not socially constructed.

    The next generation will have 90% fewer humans with Down Syndrome. How is that not horrifying?

    The same way I don’t find it horrifying when any woman chooses not to bear a child when she doesn’t want to. I find it to be a good thing, because the alternative is women bearing children against their will, and that’s what I call horrifying.

  38. Sarah
    Sarah February 20, 2012 at 1:02 am |

    For people who supposedly aren’t prejudiced against people with disabilities, some posters here sure have some prejudiced (and highly inaccurate) views about people with disabilities. Now a child with Down’s Syndrome cannot participate in “any of the activities that bind families together”? Wow. Who knew?

    It would be nice if this discussion could include some actual facts. As well as some perspectives from PWD–including people with intellectual disabilities.

    I know I’ve seen commentary on this issue from people with DS previously. On a quick Google I found this:

    http://www.intellectualdisability.info/diagnosis/prenatal-screening-a-personal-view

    (Note that “learning disability” is the term for “intellectual disability in the U.K.)

    I don’t understand the objections to the statement, “if you’re not ready to have a disabled child, you’re not ready to have a child.” It’s quite factual. Many disabilities can’t currently be screened for; many disabilities may be acquired later in life. I would seriously question whether anyone who assumes they can only “cope with” an able-bodied child is truly suited for parenthood. Because….what if you don’t end up with an able-bodied child?

    Children are not custom items where people get to pick and choose what they get. And I would hope that all prospective parents would be prepared to accept any child that they happen to have.

    And can we please drop the issue of infants who are certain to die shortly after birth? This is a conversation about disability, someone specifically raises the issue of Down’s Syndrome…and yet somehow the issue gets around to infants who are sure to die very prematurely. It’s absurd, and it doesn’t address the actual issue.

  39. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 1:10 am |

    Again, you’re making this about women’s rights and not about that shocking 90% statistic. I would entertain a wide array of compromises to bring.that statistic down to 0% such as:

    -state funds going to alleviating the financial burden of raising disabled children by 100%
    -educating the population on the misconceptions and joys of raising disabled children
    -repairing whatever failures of our system lead to any risks that disabled children will have poor conditions if their parent goes away
    -anything else. Anything, it means that much to people like me

    Sadly, we cant even begin to have that discussion because neither of you can acknowledge that the 90% statistic is horrifying.

    You cant even answer the simple question “what if 90% of females were aborted?” You just keep ignoring that one.

    When the screenings get more advanced and they begin to detect blindness, deafness, any sort of physical deformity, height, weight, future physical and mental disorders, intelligence, athleticism, etc… lets see if you can somehow reconcile 90% of potentially imperfect people never being born with you value system.

    I am fundamentally saddened that tomorrow’s youth will have dramatically smaller classes of special needs students because i know how much people with special needs have meant to my life, and there is plenty of anthropological evidence to suggest that people with special needs serve a positive role in larger society.

    I will leave it at that. Hopefully, after the heat of this debate subsides, you will realize how myopic you are being.

  40. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 1:17 am |

    Many disabilities can’t currently be screened for; many disabilities may be acquired later in life.

    So…because we can’t screen for or prevent every disability, we shouldn’t make decisions based on the screenings we can do? How does that make even the slightest bit of sense? Should we not try to prevent later-developing ones either?

    I would seriously question whether anyone who assumes they can only “cope with” an able-bodied child is truly suited for parenthood.

    And has anybody said that she can’t “cope with” a disabled child? There’s a significant difference between “can’t cope” and “would strongly prefer not to have to find out if she can cope or not.”

    and yet somehow the issue gets around to infants who are sure to die very prematurely. It’s absurd, and it doesn’t address the actual issue.

    That’s barely been a side conversation. According to the research I’ve looked into, US life expectancy for people with Down’s Syndrome averages around 49. I plan to still be around when my future child is 49, which means I would have over a 50% chance of outliving a child if he/she has Down’s Syndrome, and that is not an acceptable risk for me. You don’t get to decide what risks other people are required to take in order to achieve your ideal society.

    Now a child with Down’s Syndrome cannot participate in “any of the activities that bind families together”? Wow. Who knew?

    I suspect it depends on the family.

  41. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 1:25 am |

    Now, anonymous, you seem to be starting from the premise that every embryo/fetus conceived has some kind of right to be born, so that if a group of them aren’t being born, it’s “horrifying.” But what is this idea based on? It is indeed horrifying if women who would want to bear a child with Down’s Syndrome are choosing abortion because there are not sufficient social or economic supports in place to make bearing the child a feasible option. And it’s horrifying if they’re choosing abortion because they think that people with Down’s Syndrome are possessed by devils and therefore evil, because then they are choosing based on misinformation. But if they’re choosing abortion because of the very real suffering that Down’s Syndrome would entail for them due to its accompanying health and developmental problems, then no, I don’t find that horrifying, because I don’t think every random combination of genes has some kind of pre-ordained right to develop, or that women should decide whether or not to bear a child based on any particular group’s worth to society. I actually genuinely believe that the factor that matters in this decision is the desire of the pregnant woman. As we’ve seen time and time again, that’s a fairly radical position to take, but it’s the one I stick with.

    1. anonymous
      anonymous February 20, 2012 at 1:44 am |

      Ok we philosophically differ. The society you describe, where entire categories of people being eliminated from the population is not a cause for concern, is a society where the definition of rights becomes increasingly meaningless. You keep suggesting that this is really an issue of a fetus. It’s not. It’s about your ambivalence towards obvious evidence of widespread discrimination against a valuable type of person, and the effect that discrimination is going to have on future generations.

  42. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 1:28 am |

    @anonymous, #37:

    If we have a society where 90% of people think that someone with Down Syndrome shouldnt be born, then we have problems in our society.

    A fetus only gets to be a “someone” after it’s born, and you’re certainly not a “someone” at 15 weeks. By the way, since a fetus can’t consent to be born, and can’t consent to the suffering it may or may not endure, it is perfectly appropriate for a potential parent to make their best guess as to whether or not a person would consent to live and feel a certain way.

    This argument is about the eradication of people with Down Syndrome from the world, not about your uterus.

    No. “People” are members of the homo sapiens sapiens species who have been born and actually, you know, exist. Fetuses are potential people, not actual ones. No one is trying to eradicate PEOPLE with Down Syndrome from the world–we want to do whatever we can and make as many medical advances as possible to make sure PEOPLE with Down Syndrome get the best possible care and have the highest quality of life attainable.

    Here’s a question for you–if there were a targeted zinc-finger-protein that could inactivate the 3rd chromosome-21 in a zygote with Down Syndrome, would you cure that fetus? Would you give that fetus a much better chance to be able to speak to its parents, enjoy everything the world has to offer, not get Alzheimer’s, etc? Or would you condescendingly insist that the future child’s serious risk of suffering is just an equally-valid way to live? If you would cure a fetus, you’re acknowledging the non-equality of various health states (and, don’t you DARE conflate this with “non-equality of PEOPLE with different health states”!!)–so, are you making some fetal-personhood argument? Or are you saying that having Down Syndrome is a great thing that humanity is missing out on?

    You know–taking vitamin B-12 in the early stages of pregnancy can drastically reduce the incidence of neural tube defects…oh, my!! I guess we’ve heartlessly “eradicated” way too many anencephalics and spina bifida patients!! How spinal-cord-normative of us to want babies whose nerves aren’t sticking out their back in a sac and rendering them unable to walk! How lacking in parental love we must be if we don’t think we can have the same relationship with a sentient child as one who has giant cysts where its brain should be!

    The next generation will have 90% fewer humans with Down Syndrome. How is that not horrifying?

    Less Hirschprung’s disease, less leukemia, fewer brains being ravaged by Alzheimer’s before the age of 40, fewer heart defects and painful surgeries, fewer people who cannot understand who means to help them and who means to hurt them, fewer people unable to enjoy all the art and music the world has to offer, fewer people who never have the chance to become doctors/teachers/writers/engineers/chefs/dancers/etc., fewer people who will never be able to know the joy of having one’s own children, etc., etc., etc. That seems JUST FINE to me.

    I’d rather stop grandstanding over fetuses and actually devote my attention to the needs of those who ACTUALLY EXIST. That means I will gladly devote my utmost professional skills and tax dollars to improving every one of the issues above for those parents who decide that they do want to bring a child with Down Syndrome into the world–because I care about actual people.

    And you know what? There are 90% fewer humans with a combination of my mom & dad’s DNA than if they’d been coupling in 1910. These other 18 or so humans have not been “eliminated,” they have not been horrifyingly denied the chance at life–they just weren’t born, and that’s fine.

    Another thing–polycystic kidney disease runs in certain branches of my family (not my immediate one, thank Mendel!!)…NO ONE in my family has ever claimed that having fewer people with polycystic kidney disease would be “horrifying.” We’ve actually donated quite a bit of money to that particular goal. Not wanting future children to be born with a debilitating disease DOES NOT mean that we love my grandpa or uncle any less, it just means we (and they) would have preferred a parallel universe where they got to enjoy all life has to offer without strokes, uremia, kidney transplants, and heart failure.

  43. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 1:47 am |

    Look, I hate to break it to you, but evidence-based medical concern is not “bias.” Realistically being aware that you may never be able to talk to your child is not “bias.” Realizing that your child may live for only 15 days is not “bias.” Fearing that your child may have to endure lung transplantation and be on immunosuppressants for the rest of zir life is not “bias.” Not wanting to watch your child get wracked with recurrent bouts of pneumonia is not “bias.” Knowing that your child cannot participate in any of the activities that bind your family together is not “bias.” The suffering that these kids and families endure is real, and is not due to misperception or cultural construction. Being able to breathe vs. not being able to breathe are not equally-valid ways of interacting with oxygen in our world into which the patriarchy has unjustly interfered to privilege painless breathing over painful breathing.

    Um…yeah? Right there with you…hence the “for the sake of argument” in my comment. In other words, even if the reason WERE a bias/bigotry, I don’t see how forcing these people to have a child with a given condition is at all helpful, to anyone.

  44. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 1:50 am |

    For people who supposedly aren’t prejudiced against people with disabilities, some posters here sure have some prejudiced (and highly inaccurate) views about people with disabilities.

    Bullshit. You’re conflating “a significant increased risk of documented health effects that we can’t know ahead of time but could potentially cause severe harm” with “all children with disabilities are inevitably like this…”

    And you can be damn fucking sure these views are accurate–tell me, exactly how many patients in the pediatric ICU have YOU taken care of?

    But, of course, don’t confuse “an unacceptable risk” with “prejudicial certainty.”

    Now a child with Down’s Syndrome cannot participate in “any of the activities that bind families together”? Wow. Who knew?

    Quote me properly or fuck off. I said “bind YOUR family together.” Different families have different things that are important to them, and that’s perfectly okay. Do you expect people to give up their lifelong love of travel for the sake of a potential (i.e., not-yet-existing) person who may not be able to be away from a doctor that long? Do you think that parents who love art, literature, and music are selfish people for wanting to share those things with their children? Do you think a fetus who doesn’t have a brain yet is more important than the hopes and dreams of people who have consciously spent decades dreaming of a family? Are couples who love to go hiking, play sports, etc., bad people for not wanting to give those up for a potential child with CF?

    Children are not custom items where people get to pick and choose what they get.

    Yeah, people who don’t want to see their children suffer are just too damn “choosy.” Wanting your child to be able to breathe comfortably and wanting your child to be blue-eyed are TOTALLY the same thing!!

    And I would hope that all prospective parents would be prepared to accept any child that they happen to have.

    CHILD. Not fetus, CHILD. A fetus is not a child. Your argument is invalid.

    And can we please drop the issue of infants who are certain to die shortly after birth?

    Why the fuck should we? We were told that some parents are “biased” against infants with trisomy 18, which has a median life expectancy of 5-15 days.

  45. Sarah
    Sarah February 20, 2012 at 2:04 am |

    The idea that people with Down’s syndrome can’t enjoy music, art, literature = ableism.

    Period. I’m quite non-negotiable on that point.

    Source for the life expectancy statistic, please?

    The widespread ignorance about what life is like for many people with intellectual disabilities is sad, but not surprising.

  46. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    There’s the letter of the argument and the gist of what we are saying. You are getting increasingly pedantic so that you can continue to escape any acknowledgement that we have a very good and valid point. 90% of prenatal screenings that detect Down Syndrome lead to abortions is a horrifying figure no matter how much you try to euphamize it. It absolutely indicates that people with Down Syndrome are not appropiately valued by our society. Some of us care about that. You dont. Fine.

  47. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 2:08 am |

    FWIW, the medical system where I was living at the time screwed up my test results for the quad screen. So I don’t know. And not knowing, even not being in any sort of high risk group to speak of is….awful.

    Do I know for absolute certain what I would have done? No. But I would have liked the information, that’s for sure. I cannot imagine not being able to pay for it in the first place, or, as Santorum would eventually move towards, outlawing screening entirely.

    And yeah, it’s a fetus, not a baby. But an abortion between 15-20 weeks is no picnic, emotionally or physically–and I wish there were a way to honor that difficulty without feeling like we were giving up ground in the pro-choice/pro-life debate.

  48. Sarah
    Sarah February 20, 2012 at 2:09 am |

    Never mind the life expectancy thing; I didn’t realize that we were actually talking about two different conditions. Trisomy 18 ! = Down’s Syndrome. Which is why it is ridiculous to conflate the two in discussions such as these.

  49. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 2:11 am |

    Sarah, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the bloodwork done, but the prenatal blood test and amnio doesn’t just test for Down’s. It’s called a “quad screen” and tests for several conditions, including tri 18 and tri 21 (down’s). So you get both pieces of information at once, whether you want to or not.

    And since we’re talking about rendering these tests inaccessible…then yeah, I think it’s appropriate to talk about tri 18.

  50. Sarah
    Sarah February 20, 2012 at 2:27 am |

    Okay, thanks for the information. I agree that it’s important that people have access to screening for conditions that are extremely likely to end in early death. But let’s not pretend that anyone present in this particular discussion actually said that there’s a problem with discrimination against infants/fetuses with trisomy 18. That’s not the issue at hand. And I feel like a lot of discussions about disability and prenatal testing often use conditions which are not at all alike interchangeably.

  51. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 2:29 am |

    Neither Sarah nor I, in any comment, have suggested anything about outlawing tests or rendering tests inaccessible. Sarah has only pointed out the ignorant comments some posters are making about disabled people, and I am indeed passing judgment on our society as a whole due to that 90% statistic. I adamantly believe it exposes a widespread problem regarding how we view people with Down Syndrome and how we view parenting in general.

    This type of screening is outlawed in some countries that have cultural gender bias because it exposes the gender, and leads to girls being aborted. Our hypothetical scenario is actually not very hypothetical at all. That might not happen in Western cultures because we’ve made strides in women’s rights. Maybe we can address the problem in a similar way.

  52. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 2:29 am |

    Ok we philosophically differ. The society you describe, where entire categories of people being eliminated from the population is not a cause for concern, is a society where the definition of rights becomes increasingly meaningless.

    Oh my god you are SO full of shit. I see you’re going right back to the same bullshit trope of talking about “eliminating people” instead of talking about eliminating diseases.

    Yeah, I’m TOTALLY fine with preventing the “category of people” who suffer from incurable diseases from being larger than it needs to be. And if I could eliminate it I would. You know why? Because suffering is not the same thing as a category about gender, skin color, body shape, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or whatnot…people generally prefer not to suffer, and suffering is not and should not be an identity. And a risk of suffering is unacceptable to many parents, and rightly so.

    How, exactly, is preventing disease making rights meaningless? Down Syndrome does not have a “right” to exist. Down Syndrome is not a person. PEOPLE with Down Syndrome have a right to exist, and no one is saying they don’t. But fetuses aren’t people. In order to have any skin in the game, you actually have to have developed some skin! Bringing someone into the world is a major responsibility, and should be taken seriously.

    You keep suggesting that this is really an issue of a fetus. It’s not.

    What the everloving fuck? This is about a parent saying “What are the risks to my fetus, and do I think it would be appropriate/acceptable/humane to bring someone into the world like this?”

    It’s about your ambivalence towards obvious evidence of widespread discrimination against a valuable type of person

    PEOPLE with Down Syndrome are valuable, but Down Syndrome itself is not. Discriminating against PEOPLE with Down Syndrome is wrong, because they, like, exist and stuff, and have motivations and desires and goals, etc., but that is a question of the subjective experience of that actual person and how ze is treated. It’s not like Down Syndrome has feelings that will be hurt if it doesn’t get to affect as many people as possible. Are you claiming that people would be less valuable if they did not have Down Syndrome, or that Down Syndrome is somehow essential to the fabric of our society? What, exactly, does Down Syndrome give us that makes up for the heart defects, Alzheimer’s, Hirschprung’s, leukemia, limited opportunities, etc., etc., not to mention the considerable stress and grief of family members and the limitations on their lives? Not, mind you, what do PEOPLE with Down Syndrome give us, because any individual–existing!–person is valuable independent of any disease state they might have…but you are arguing for the perpetuation of a disease state.

    Do you also consider it wrong to use dietary control to prevent the advancement of mental retardation in Phenylketonuria (PKU)? Are we treating developmental delay as less valuable because we try to prevent it in these patients? Are we being deprived of the unique social contributions of those severely mentally handicapped by PKU when we modify children’s diets so they grow up with a fully-functioning nervous system?

    and the effect that discrimination is going to have on future generations.

    How?

    Yeah, and just think how much these last few generations have been impoverished by the way we’ve “eradicated” “people with” smallpox!

  53. K.
    K. February 20, 2012 at 2:32 am |

    <-person with highly stigmatized neurodevelopmental disability, far more stigmatized & feared than DS

    I am 100% pro choice. If, for what ever reason, a woman/other uterus bearer wants an abortion, I support that.

    I, personally, thing abortion bc disability when the child was otherwise very much desired is kind of crap. But guess what? My judgement (here meaning 'judging', not 'making an unflattering assessment of a person and telling them about it') is irrelevant. My opinions don't dictate legality, nor should they. My personal distaste for someone's choice doesn't mean I don't support their right to make it, whether I like it or not.

    The solution to ableist abortions-and don't tell me they aren't ableist, it's all based on fear/hatred of disability-is better support and education. People have inaccurate views of what it is to be disabled because the disability-as-tragedy narrative is the one that gets told. If society stopped presenting people like me & those with other disabilities as THE END OF TEH WORLD!!!!!! to parent, then it'd be less an issue. If society provided more support, it'd be less an issue. But noooo, it's all tragedy and rugged individualism…

  54. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 2:46 am |

    Neither Sarah nor I, in any comment, have suggested anything about outlawing tests or rendering tests inaccessible. Sarah has only pointed out the ignorant comments some posters are making about disabled people, and I am indeed passing judgment on our society as a whole due to that 90% statistic. I adamantly believe it exposes a widespread problem regarding how we view people with Down Syndrome and how we view parenting in general.

    ……except, that’s what the post is about. Outlawing tests and rendering them inaccessible. So, pass judgement all you want, but the topic at hand IS a presidential candidate talking about rendering prenatal screening out of the reach of most people.

  55. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 2:59 am |

    The idea that people with Down’s syndrome can’t enjoy music, art, literature = ableism.

    BULLSHIT. No one said they categorically can’t enjoy them. There is, however, a significant RISK that a person born with Down Syndrome may have vision, hearing, and mental deficits so severe that they can’t interact with the world in many very important ways.

    When you are dealing with a POTENTIAL person all you know is POTENTIAL risks–if you want to take the chance that your child’s disease course will be acceptable to you and to zem, go for it–that is your choice, and I offer you all the social, economic, and political support I can, but I think the least you can do is understand that the risk of severe suffering (and, yes, mental impairment can cause lots of suffering!) is a valid reason why parents would choose not to start a life.

    And, if you read my post more carefully, you’d understand that I was speaking in terms of the parents’ desire for their relationship with their child–parents aren’t bad people for wanting to interact with their children on a high level of functioning. If intellectualism is important to a family and intrinsic to how they relate to each other (e.g., it sure as hell is for mine!), it’s cruel to shame them for wanting that to be a part of their relationship with their kids. I’m saying it’s wrong to position a potential person with a not-yet-formed brain as more valuable than the wants and needs of ACTUAL LIVING people.

    The widespread ignorance about what life is like for many people with intellectual disabilities is sad, but not surprising.

    For the last fucking time, THIS IS ABOUT RISK, NOT CERTAINTY!!! Why the fuck are you unable to understand that?!? This is NOT in any way saying that ALL people with intellectual disabilities will be like “X,” this is about “there is a documented risk of these horrible complications happening, and I as a parent don’t want to risk that for my child…” and “It COULD BE that my child will be so severely mentally disabled that I will not be able to know or meet zir needs, and that is not an acceptable risk for me…”

    And, why are you lecturing us about ignorance when you don’t even know that Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18 are not the same thing!? And, for the record, this discussion was about ALL severe disabilities before anonymous got on that particular Down Syndrome soap box, and as such we will continue to discuss all potential discoveries of prenatal screening as we consider appropriate.

    1. anonymous
      anonymous February 20, 2012 at 3:28 am |

      Actually, I commented after some posters started bullying Chiara for having the opinion that she finds selectively aborting based on disability is horrifying. Now there are at least 4 of us who concur with that opinion. Not one of us has suggested any solution other than educating people or providing financial support to parents of disabled children. It’s baffling to me why Leftsideright is getting so hysterical over this. She’s had to backpedal or weasel out of ignorant comments several times, such as suggesting that people with Down Syndrome cant go on hikes or appreciate art and music. She keeps proving our point that we could benefit a lot from educating each other about people with disabilities.

      Down syndrome is not all suffering. There are many families with Down Syndrome children who get an immense amount of joy as a result. There are risks and there are rewards. All children have a risk of suffering in their lives. Like I said before, if you understand anything about probabilities, then you must concede that the 90% figure shows something is off. People are clearly not being educated on the rewards, and are probably using a lot of bad information regarding the risks.

  56. valor
    valor February 20, 2012 at 3:30 am |

    When my mother was pregnant with the fetus that would later become me, her initial tests showed that I would be born with my internal organs outside my body and with no brain. That, btw, kinda not a good thing. So my mom’s doctor was like, “you should maybe not have the kid.” And my mom was like, “um, I rather want my child, I was sort of looking forward to her. On the other hand, it seems like her slightly less than one hour long life would be pretty miserable. Is there any way we can be more sure about this no brain thing?” And doc said “let’s get an amniocentesis up in here.” (in no way would my mother’s doctor have used the phrase ‘up in here’) And lo, the fetus that would later become me had a brain and internal organs on the inside, and there was much rejoicing!

    In other words, Mr. Santorum, that particular amniocentesis (paid for by Planned Parenthood) prevented an abortion that the less accurate test (paid for by an insurance carrier) would have instigated. So, amniocentesis ftw!

    Also, if my mom had chosen to abort the fetus that would later become me, she would have been entirely within her rights, and imo, been doing a moral thing.

  57. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 3:34 am |

    Anonymous:

    Again, you’re making this about women’s rights and not about that shocking 90% statistic.

    Yeah, Maude forbid I care about women’s rights. I’ve already told you I DON’T CARE about the 90% statistic, because I don’t think fetuses have a right to be born, and I don’t think disabilities deserve to inflict themselves on non-consenting potential-persons.

    I would entertain a wide array of compromises to bring.that statistic down to 0% such as:

    Not going to happen. Unless you can reduce the risks of heart defects, reduce the need for gastrointestinal surgery, reduce the risk of my child wasting away to Alzheimer’s disease in early adulthood, I am never going to put a potential child through that, because I love my future children and I don’t want them suffer. You don’t seem to understand that medical conditions are not things we can “solve” by social policy. They have intrinsic hardships that we haven’t figured out how to cure or prevent yet.

    Sadly, we cant even begin to have that discussion because neither of you can acknowledge that the 90% statistic is horrifying.

    I agree with most of the policies you suggest (even though I facepalm somewhat at your hopeless idealism that any amount of social policy can make a disabled child losing a primary caretaker okay!?!), but what you fail to understand is that these policies would be enacted out of concern for ALREADY BORN children. This has nothing to do with the fact that I think fetuses have no special entitlement to be born.

    You cant even answer the simple question “what if 90% of females were aborted?” You just keep ignoring that one.

    I think you’re confusing “you can’t answer this question!!!” with “we think this is too stupid a false equivalence to even bother with.” So here: there is nothing in being female that brings inherent, unavoidable medical suffering. There is nothing in being female that inherently limits a child’s options in life. Addressing social policy is perfectly suited to fixing disparities between men and women, but at the moment it is SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE to rectify the suffering that occurs with fetal anomalies through social policy. (And, another very obvious point–women are actually kinda vitally necessary for the perpetuation of the species, y’know…)

    When the screenings get more advanced and they begin to detect blindness, deafness, any sort of physical deformity, height, weight, future physical and mental disorders, intelligence, athleticism, etc… lets see if you can somehow reconcile 90% of potentially imperfect people never being born with you value system.

    The fact that you seem to have cribbed your bioethics from GATTACA is not particularly impressive.

    Do you really think that 90% of parents will go through all the suspense of conception and waiting through 15 or so weeks of pregnancy just to abort a fetus who won’t be a football player? I leave you to that fever-dream!! Most parents are concerned for the well-being of their children, not for “perfection.”

    I am fundamentally saddened that tomorrow’s youth will have dramatically smaller classes of special needs students

    And the fact that fewer people will be suffering from disease means nothing to you? That a higher percentage of people born will be able to be independent and self-actualized? That more per capita resources will be available to actually alive special needs students?

    because i know how much people with special needs have meant to my life,

    Yeah, ’cause you’re really the one that matters here.

    And, do you think they wouldn’t have meant so much to your life if they did *not* have special needs?

    So, would you refuse to treat a patient with Phenylketonuria because their subsequent mental retardation would be so enriching to your life?

    and there is plenty of anthropological evidence to suggest that people with special needs serve a positive role in larger society.

    Yeah, and women’s reproductive choices are totally beholden to what larger society thinks it needs. Do you think that the suffering of people with disabilities is appropriate in exchange for your perceived social benefits? Do you think we have to maintain a certain proportion of people who may or may not enjoy their lives or even understand their condition, even if we know how to prevent their suffering, just to give you the positive effects you think it brings? Do you think the positive effects of diversity must be achieved by some people suffering? If Van Gogh had access to modern psychiatric care, do you think he should have it, or do you think you’d rather enjoy the irises?

  58. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 3:42 am |

    And yeah, it’s a fetus, not a baby. But an abortion between 15-20 weeks is no picnic, emotionally or physically–and I wish there were a way to honor that difficulty without feeling like we were giving up ground in the pro-choice/pro-life debate.

    But it’s no picnic FOR THE PARENTS, not for the fetus, who quite literally does not give a shit*.

    Look, I’ll be perfectly honest and say there are disorders (hypothetically, I don’t know of any that I’m carrying), that I would try to prevent with genetic testing if I were to go the in vitro route, but that I would not terminate if I were already pregnant. There are other anomalies that I would immediately abort, no matter what. My decisions and my risk assessments may not be the same as someone else’s, and that’s okay.

    *Meconium (the product of the first bowel movement) is not passed until just after birth, unless the fetus is stressed during the birth process–so fetuses giving a shit is really only possible very near to term, and even then it’s not a good thing.

  59. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 20, 2012 at 3:50 am |

    Early antenatal screening for Down syndrome that is carried is carried out to prevent births based on biological differance is eugenics, even when carried out under the guise of reproductive choice. We’ve been their before with T4, it’s a dumb idea.

  60. NBarnes
    NBarnes February 20, 2012 at 4:17 am |

    The next generation will have 90% fewer humans with Down Syndrome. How is that not horrifying?

    From John Holbo’s all-purpose internet winning essay Dead Right:

    “Note how Frum’s pretty-pretty – “aren’t the hungry strugglers picturesque!” – perspective is indeed that of an aesthetically-minded spectator. And a very asymmetric perspective it is.”

    http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2003/11/dead_right.html for the entire thing, which, if you haven’t read, you absolutely should.

  61. Ruth
    Ruth February 20, 2012 at 7:10 am |

    I think there is a slippery slope here, and I don’t think suffering can be defined objectively, either. Especially when talking about babies, or other people who can’t speak or communicate effectively, we can’t accurately judge suffering. Many of the conditions an amniocentesis will pick up are very likely to cause what I would perceive as suffering, or would cause an apparent inability to distinguish between suffering and not suffering, which I would also perceive as suffering, and I would get an abortion if there was a strong chance that a foetus I was carrying would have one of these conditions. But it’s not an objective or universal truth.

    There are parents that would perceive their foetus’ potential queerness as suffering, for example. So, as a queer person, I’m glad there’s not a test for that. I also have a disability which can’t be tested for. But I am able to say that I don’t feel that I’m suffering to the degree that my life should have been ended for the sake of mercy, and I think that should count for something.

    I don’t think women should ever be denied abortions, so I think there are conditions that we could one day test for but never actually should. Where I live, in some areas you can’t know in advance the sex of your foetus. You can still get an abortion for any reason, but to be sure that it’s not because it’s a female foetus, you can’t know if it’s female or not. I think this is right, as it doesn’t impact a women’s ability to choose abortion, but it stops the elimination of certain groups.

    I’m not just being biased against my own abortion! I actually think my parents should have aborted me, because they were idiots and were not in any position to raise a child. But not because I’m queer or disabled. I think it’s important for disabled people to speak out about this, but I think people should shy away from speaking on behalf of (other) disabled people if we are talking about suffering, because suffering is personal. Disabled people often need advocates, but not for people to either say that their suffering is extreme or that they are not suffering at all, just to report the truth.

  62. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 7:22 am |

    This type of screening is outlawed in some countries that have cultural gender bias because it exposes the gender, and leads to girls being aborted. Our hypothetical scenario is actually not very hypothetical at all.

    You fail to address the significant difference I have pointed out, which is that being female does not inherently increase your risk of heart problems, early death, early onset Alzheimer’s, and an inability to care for yourself. However, you know what’s not acceptable? Pressuring and shaming women into carrying female fetuses to term when they don’t want to. So nope, that doesn’t change my position.

    The solution to ableist abortions-and don’t tell me they aren’t ableist, it’s all based on fear/hatred of disability-is better support and education.

    Yeah, yeah. It’s so fucking ableist of me not to want to have to chew my fingernails as my child undergoes heart operations and dies young. All the support and education in the world isn’t going to change the health problems associated with Down’s Syndrome.

    But an abortion between 15-20 weeks is no picnic, emotionally or physically–and I wish there were a way to honor that difficulty without feeling like we were giving up ground in the pro-choice/pro-life debate.

    See, I think there is, because the relevant issue for me is the mother’s desire and experience. An abortion that late–particularly of a fetus that had been wanted–is a terrible experience because of what the pregnant woman has to go through physically and emotionally, and that is something I absolutely want to honor. Not because anything of value inheres of a fetus at that stage, but because the woman’s experience and desire and suffering matters. It disturbs me greatly that the right wing doesn’t want to acknowledge that what a woman wants and endures matters and categorically changes the nature of what has happened. Let’s not mimic them in that. The loss of a pregnancy and potential child at that stage is a very difficult thing (words are failing me, here, so please read that as more emphatic than it sounds), particularly when the woman had wanted to carry to term.

  63. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage February 20, 2012 at 7:28 am |

    Hi, neuroatypical person with a mild, but annoying, physical disability here.

    *waves*

    First, here’s anonymous’ original reference to the 90% statistic:

    90% of women who discover a fetus will have Down Syndrome will have an abortion. That is based on a study out of the UK.

    I’m going to have to call citation needed on that one. Second, asking women what they may choose to do were a given condition does not actually translate to that percentage of people making that decision once they are actually pregnant, contrary to the following conflations of the two. Third… being disabled sucks. It’s not some kind of noble suffering that the able-bodied learn from at the end. Most of the time it’s an annoying struggle dealing with the sociological and physical obstacles put in place by, as you put it, myopic people (I’ll lay off the cheap ableism trolling accusation just this once). I haven’t even started with the parents of PWD, who – if they’re ready and able to be parents at all – may be financially, emotionally, even physically drained by the effort needed to raise and care for a person whose body or brain doesn’t work as expected, or at all, particularly when social support for people with such conditions and families with PWD as members is minimal to nonexistent. I’m incredibly fucking lucky that my parents have highly stable and adaptive personalities, because I shudder to think what kind of state I would be in today if my folks had been negligent, or abusive, or simply overwhelmed, and thus been unable to or incapable of preparing me for life away from home. If my mother had been able to detect my condition, and decided she simply wasn’t ready to raise someone like me, it would have been better for everyone involved, the then-developing me included, if she’d decided to abort. The tragedy, to me, isn’t aborting potential PWD before they’re born and in the game; the tragedy is how many PWD are poorly treated, abused, and left to rot once we are born. Millions of women choose to bear PWD knowing the extra risks and difficulty; no one should be shamed or forced into bearing a child she is simply not in a position to care for.

    If preserving Down syndrome is that important, work to improve the social supports and education for people with Down syndrome and their families so that the prospect of bringing a fetus with trisomy 21 to term doesn’t scare the ever-loving crap out of people. Don’t shame women for being able to make that decision for themselves. Ending ableism does not involve forcing women to give birth to PWD, but ensuring they have the resources and support to properly raise a disabled person should she choose to.

  64. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    Again, you’re making this about women’s rights and not about that shocking 90% statistic.

    That’s because I don’t find it shocking. Gee, most parents don’t want to run a significantly higher risk of watching their children suffer and then outliving them? How shocking. Never could have predicted that one.

    When the screenings get more advanced and they begin to detect blindness, deafness, any sort of physical deformity, height, weight, future physical and mental disorders, intelligence, athleticism, etc… lets see if you can somehow reconcile 90% of potentially imperfect people never being born with you value system.

    Since my value system comes down pretty heavily on the side of “women get to make their own decisions about when they’re prepared to give birth and when they’re not,” I think I’ll be OK. I also like how you equate a genetic condition that causes health problems in a number of different biological systems with not being athletic or something. Again, you keep failing to address the very real health consequences of Down’s Syndrome. Those consequences do not go away with better social and economic support. They do not go away with better education. The suffering of the parents who have to watch their children suffer is not socially constructed.

    And given, as chava notes above, the suffering that a 15-20-week abortion entails, I really doubt that people are going to go ahead and abort an otherwise wanted fetus because the chances are that it won’t be athletic or it won’t be quite as tall as would be “ideal” in those parents’ minds. Your scare-tactic fantasy depends on women with wanted pregnancies being abortion-happy maniacs, willing to abort willy-nilly, at the drop of a hat, because of eye color or something. Your entire scare-scenario depends on the right-wing fantasy that pregnant women are irresponsible sluts who hate their fetuses and are just waiting for an excuse to abort. Interestingly, none of the pregnant women I’ve ever known have displayed that characteristic.

    I am fundamentally saddened that tomorrow’s youth will have dramatically smaller classes of special needs students because i know how much people with special needs have meant to my life, and there is plenty of anthropological evidence to suggest that people with special needs serve a positive role in larger society.

    But of course, that suffering I describe above is as nothing compared to how much it helped you to have Down’s Syndrome kids in your class. Women everywhere should bear babies with Down’s Syndrome so that you can have meaningful interactions with them that are emotionally important to you. Because it’s all about you and your emotional needs, and to hell with what that does to the women, right?

    As for that anthropological evidence, I’m sure it’s correct, because people tend to make the best of whatever situation they find themselves in. But that’s like saying that it sure is good that most sweaters have two arms, because most people have two arms. When our material circumstances change, our culture changes. If we all started growing third arms, we’d make different sweaters. And again, women in particular and parents in general are not and should not be required to prioritize their own suffering below some kind of cultural “greater good.”

  65. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 20, 2012 at 7:51 am |

    @anonymous

    I am fundamentally saddened that tomorrow’s youth will have dramatically smaller classes of special needs students because i know how much people with special needs have meant to my life, and there is plenty of anthropological evidence to suggest that people with special needs serve a positive role in larger society.

    I’m trying to decide which idea I consider more wrong,

    a. that women should have to give birth to babies they don’t want to give birth to, because it’s good for society, or

    b. that the purpose of people with disabilities is to enrich the lives of people without disabilities for now.

    Meanwhile, about the “prenatal testing such as amniocentesis” in the OP. There are a lot of prenatal tests that are not amniocentesis. Is Santorum against all of those too? First trimester screen, chorionic villus sampling, quad screen — probably, because abortion. But 20-week ultrasound? Rubella immunity, Hep B, HIV, anemia, gestational diabetes, urine tests, group B strep, fetal fibronectin, blood pressure, fetal position?

  66. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 7:54 am |

    I also want to point out that if prenatal tests were developed to screen for the two chronic conditions I have, depression and asthma, I would damn well use them. I doubt I would abort based on them, since they’re both very manageable given health insurance (and I wouldn’t be able to afford the screenings without health insurance, so I’m going to assume that I have it in this hypothetical scenario) and since I know how to handle them, but that kind of information would be gold to me when it came to knowing what to prepare for and what I didn’t have to worry about.

  67. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 20, 2012 at 7:56 am |

    Thank you, Auditory Damage. Your perspective is important.

    I have a mental illness, one that significantly impairs my ability to function in the world. Enough so, in fact, that my therapist is encouraging me to get on disability aid for the first time. (I’m terrified by this.) My partner has a related disorder, which has quite severely impacted her life and functionality. We’re talking about someday having children, my genetic children, though not hers. There are a lot of obstacles to this, which we’re also discussing, but we’ve also discussed a lot about under what circumstances we’d abort. They can’t currently screen for our particular disorders, but if they could, and we knew our fetus carried it, we would not abort, because at least we really do know how to deal with it. We would certainly abort a trisomy 18 fetus. We have not yet come to a conclusion on Down Syndrome. We would have to be very, very certain we had the resources to provide and care for such a child in the way they need and deserve. We have our own disabilities to deal with and adapt to, and we have to consider how that factors in.

    For me the question is very personal: Are we capable of parenting such a child well? Are we stable enough, do we have enough physical, mental, and emotional resources to do well by such a child? What happens when both of us and the child hit a bad patch, all at once? It’s a cold calculus, but one that has absolutely nothing to do with the worth of this hypothetical maybe-child, and everything to do with the wealth or paucity of what we could give her.

  68. Natalia
    Natalia February 20, 2012 at 8:04 am |

    Neither Sarah nor I, in any comment, have suggested anything about outlawing tests or rendering tests inaccessible. Sarah has only pointed out the ignorant comments some posters are making about disabled people, and I am indeed passing judgment on our society as a whole due to that 90% statistic. I adamantly believe it exposes a widespread problem regarding how we view people with Down Syndrome and how we view parenting in general.

    When you decide you’re going to create a life – you’re facing a lot of potential risks. A lot. You can give birth to a “perfectly healthy baby” who will then develop health issues, or suffer an accident of some kind – so screenings are not a guarantee.

    Most parents know this. And screenings are often a way of exercising what little control you have. It’s not a Nazi-style eugenics philosophy put into practice: “I want to rid the world of people with Down Syndrome! Mwahaha!” It’s usually much more complicated than that.

    Kids with DS can have a wide range of developmental issues and health problems – and one doesn’t know what the extent might be, and how well the family may cope. So the 90% statistic? Not weird or horrifying at all, in that context. Because you’re not dealing *with an actual child*, what you’re dealing with, at that point, *is the possibility of a child*.

    So I find the comparison with aborting female fetuses to be off-the-mark. Even though if I knew a family in a situation where a girl would be a serious issue (a woman who just had her third or fourth child, a girl, was recently murdered by her family in Afghanistan, for an extreme example), I wouldn’t judge them for making that call either.

  69. Arkady
    Arkady February 20, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    Anonymous, I’ve seen the 90% figure before (can’t remember full citation, sorry), as an example of selection bias in statistics. As amniocentesis carries a risk of miscarriage it is an optional rather than routine test in the UK (and often only used in women over 35, where the risk of chromosomal abnormalities is higher), and pregnant women/couples who know they will not abort no matter what the diagnosis often do not get the test. Thus, those who take the test may have already made the decision, which is one reason why the number is so high.

  70. Athenia
    Athenia February 20, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    Yeah, I can’t really justify aborting due to a disability–however you want to swing it. However, abortions happen all the time when the fetus’s abilities or disabilities are unknown.

    I think, we, as feminists/womanists, need to support the work to make life as accessible to everyone. Just like in countries where they abort because the fetus is female, the problem will be lessened when tackle systematic problems–and it will truly help everyone.

    Every time I see a mother haul a stroller up the subway steps, I just think of how the elderly and the differently-abled would also benefit from an elevator.

  71. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 9:51 am |

    Also, I am no fan of Rick Santorum, but his position in this particular case is that amniocentesis in particular should not be forced to be paid for by employers who disagree with the practice, but he is not saying it should be outlawed or covered by some insurance policies.

    I am not saying I support that position, but this whole issue is being clouded with misinformation.

  72. Sandy
    Sandy February 20, 2012 at 9:55 am |

    EG, auditorydamage, LeftSidePositive, K. – thank you.

    If preserving Down syndrome is that important, work to improve the social supports and education for people with Down syndrome and their families so that the prospect of bringing a fetus with trisomy 21 to term doesn’t scare the ever-loving crap out of people. Don’t shame women for being able to make that decision for themselves. Ending ableism does not involve forcing women to give birth to PWD, but ensuring they have the resources and support to properly raise a disabled person should she choose to.

    Can we stop equating people who don’t want to START someone else’s life with severe disadvantages/disabilities/pain/high risk of death/etc. with mistreating someone who is ALREADY BORN and ALREADY EXPERIENCING the world? Because, really, it’s not the same thing.

  73. Harriet Gale
    Harriet Gale February 20, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    What troubles me most in this discussion is that so many of you are trying to sort of justify women who decide in favor of abortion based on screening results whereas their decision does not need any justification.
    The idea that there are “good” and “bad” reasons for [other person’s] abortion is somehow dangerous and very pro-life. The pro-choice concept is not about “good” and “bad” reasons for abortion; it’s about the fact that if it’s not our body then it’s not our decision.
    Women have the right to choose not because it will be the wisest decision possible, but because no one else can make this choice.

    Also many of you somehow romanticize the notion of parenthood. People decide to have children not only when they have a huge amount of unconditional love ready to be dispensed. Many people become parents for reasons which are very selfish and less that pretty. Again, unless they abuse their children and we can prove it, there is nothing we can do about it.

  74. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    well, most of fact based posts are not getting through moderation. This has not been a healthy discussion. For some reason, you keep making it about abortion when it’s about a shocking statistic that reflects society’s misguided attitude towards Down Syndrome.

    I also take issue with the idea that we cant have opinions about what people do with their bodies. I am not in favor of laws that ban people from smoking cigarettes by themselves in their own houses. But I think smoking is stupid. If someone wants to cut her feet off, I would tell her that its a stupid idea. When people want to abort otherwise wanted babies based on misinformation about Down Syndrome, I am shocked and saddened and I feel very comfortable saying so.

  75. Blue Jean
    Blue Jean February 20, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    well, most of fact based posts are not getting through moderation. This has not been a healthy discussion.

    Pzzzt! Thank you for playing, anonymous troll. Extra points for the slightly more intricate way of saying “Nobody here agrees with me, so I’m taking my ball and going home.”

    Now stick the landing and we’ll see what your score is…

  76. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    Actually, half the people here agree with me. The other half keeps debating me on something that I am not debating about.

  77. --bill
    --bill February 20, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    auditorydamage, (post 67 above):

    Here’s a link to the abstract of the 90 percent figure:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10521836?dopt=AbstractPlus

  78. anonymous
    anonymous February 20, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    I should also point out the irony of your post–ridiculing me for saying it hasnt been a healthy discussion in a post that only conveniently clips that one sentence, calls me a troll, and ignores the rest. I would think, as feminists, we would be more sensitive to others’ viewpoints and not stoop to this level if juvenile bullying.

  79. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine February 20, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    If preserving Down syndrome is that important, work to improve the social supports and education for people with Down syndrome and their families so that the prospect of bringing a fetus with trisomy 21 to term doesn’t scare the ever-loving crap out of people. Don’t shame women for being able to make that decision for themselves. Ending ableism does not involve forcing women to give birth to PWD, but ensuring they have the resources and support to properly raise a disabled person should she choose to.

    Thank you! Jesus, this discussion is frustrating. I don’t plan to have children, personally–you know one big reason why? Because my brother has moderate disabilities, and I will be his legal guardian soon. I also have a cousin with severe disabilities, and my mother had several neurodegenerative conditions in her old age. The idea that people would be anti-choice because they don’t know any PWD is so fucking offensive to me. I would abort any fetus if I got pregnant, because I do know both how much joy and how much work can come from loving PWD–and because I want to be able to do my best to be responsible to people who are already born.

    Choice is choice. Abortion is a legal right and a moral good because it ensures women’s bodily autonomy. I don’t give a fuck what thought’s going through your head as you exercise your legal right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term.

  80. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 20, 2012 at 10:43 am |

    I consider choosing to become a parent as an inherently selfish act. You choose to be a parent why? Because you want to be one. You. Want. As it should be, IMO, because the alternative (deciding to have a child to satisfy someone or something else) is pretty screwed up.

    There are lots of possible disabilities. Downs is a pretty serious one (albeit nothing compared to Tri-18). Aside from trying to figure out the potential child’s quality of life, there is also the additional strain that will be placed on the parents. This is not like saying “oh, I want a boy instead of a girl” and it’s not “I want him to have blue eyes!”

    I’m not sure what my wife and I would have done if the test had come back positive for Downs (and follow ups confirmed). That was one potential choice that terrified me. Thankfully, I never had to face it. To a portion of the people who have posted above, I have just self-identified as evil (or, at best, uninformed or something). So, clearly, I should raise a kid with Downs! Evil parents are great at that! Wait…

  81. William
    William February 20, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    Chiara’s intitions are absolute right and anyone trying to argue against that is in denial.

    Time to nit pick! In theory, what you’re describing would be more accurately termed rationalization or, possibly, intellectualization. Denial would imply that people were merely claiming that these kinds of abortions didn’t happen. So, you know, know your terms before you act like an asshat.

  82. Marissa123
    Marissa123 February 20, 2012 at 11:03 am |

    Ok I wanted to weigh in on what has turned into a heated discussion. I think we very much need to talk about the very popular idea that disabled people are better off dead. But I’m not so sure we should do so in a discussion about Rick Sanatorum and access to reproductive health services and choice.

    My side of the story is as a person who was recently diagnosed with a disabling condition and all of the ableist discrimination I’ve since been subject to. Friends told me that they would kill themselves if they were in my situation. (Which is pretty much telling me to go kill myself rather than taint the earth with my less than perfect body.) My Ph.D. program professors told me after I had come back from a semester break right after finding out about my condition that they were surpassed to see me back in the program. Apparently if someone is diagnosed with a serious condition then he or she needs to automatically give up all life dreams and previous work. There is a STRONG opinion held by so much of society that disabled individuals would be better off dead, out of sight, nonexistent in one form or another….

    So there are many problems with this topic as we have been addressing here. One of which is the assumption that a fetus is a person. But, on the flip side, what complicates the issue is that by the time one can test for various conditions, the pregnant individual has sometimes already decided to parent/give birth to the fetus and may have become extremely attached to it (not always!!!!! f*ing restrictions on reproductive choice). Considering this, it may be worthwhile to extend this discussion of disability issues into the arena of pregnancy. But I have SO many issues and reservations with that because it comes down to _always_ being the choice of the individual who is pregnant, and this person needs no justification. Also it is especially problematic to address this in a thread about Sanatorum because clearly the anti-choice right is going to cling to a thinly-veiled concern for disability rights as a way to enact an anti-choice control over this lives and bodies of female-bodied individuals. Also the larger topic of the thread is whether we should support _legal_ restrictions on reproductive choice, which of course is bullshit.

    It may just be too dangerous and too much at stake to extend this discussion into the realm of pregnancy. But certainly it is a discussion that needs to happen and needs to be visible. As feminist deeply involved in academic theory and not-necessarily-academic activism in intersectional feminist issues, I had NO IDEA that eliminationist ideas were so prevalent with regard to disability. More visibility of these issues would have seriously helped me cope with it when it happened to me.

  83. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 20, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    Chava: Second of all, I don’t like the idea of forcing parents who (for the sake of argument) ARE biased against ppl with Down’s syndrome/CF/tri 18 to birth a child with it. Doesn’t do the child any good, that’s for certain.

    There’s a girl in my city who’s being raised by her grandmother for just that reason. It got worse- her mother kept her fraternal twin. So, she gets to grow up with the knowledge that her mother rejected her because of a condition she has no control over.

    Conversely, I have a neighbor who has a little girl with Down’s Syndrome. I’m not sure if she knew beforehand, but she’s certainly adapted to it well. That girl is adored by her whole family. The girl’s mother moved back to the city to be close to the grandparents, and has the resources to make sure her daughter has a happy life.

    People react to having a child with disabilities in different ways, and I’d argue that having an abusive/rejecting parent might affect a non-neurotypical person more than it’d affect a neurotypical.

    Some people just don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around that they can commit to a child’s medical costs. Some people don’t have supportive families and friends they can rely on, should they leave a profoundly disabled/medically fragile child behind.

    Some people have genes that ensure that their children will only have a very short, painful life. If the mother decides that she can live with that, that should be her decision, and not anyone else’s. If she decides she can’t- again, her decision. But she should definitely have all the facts in order to decide.
    Let’s please not pretend that Down’s is on the same level as, say, colorblindness or even epilepsy. There are all kinds of work-arounds for both, but Down’s Syndrome is a lot more then just (?) neurological impairment.
    *And I don’t care what the British say, a learning disability is a lot different then Down’s Syndrome or other varieties of neurological impairment. I have ADD; the only thing that keeps me from living independently is a lack of money.

  84. jennifer
    jennifer February 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm |

    the fact that Santorum wants to cut pre-natal testing demonstrates a real hostility not to abortion, but to women’s health and women’s bodies.

    Agree with this in Jill’s post but also second Marissa @91. With respect to Down’s in particular, and probably other conditions, there are medical ethics discussions happening regarding the effects of termination of pregnancies on the incentives for research dollars to help the current population, as well as the availability of services–I haven’t seen any discussions that suggest that abortions should be limited, but rather suggests such as genetic counselors should present more information on the variability of conditions like Down’s, etc. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/magazine/a-fathers-search-for-a-drug-for-down-syndrome.html and http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/the-quandary-posed-by-a-new-down-syndrome-test/ as examples.

    @Marissa–I’m facing a situation myself that may be permanent or temporary, but yeah, the ableism is pretty awful out there. Luckily I had been somewhat familiar with those issues when I started to have my health problems and so that made it easier to deal with, but I was definitely surprised at some of the people who’ve expressed really awful things to me, including people with disabilities or people who have close friends/relatives with disabilities and a whole lot of medical personnel. I’ve found the various disability bingo cards to be a nice vent. Hope you can find some good allies in your community.

  85. Sarah
    Sarah February 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

    Why isn’t this discussion an appropriate place to discuss attitudes towards disability? Especially when there are some really problematic things that have been said?

    I don’t think we should let Rick Santorum, or anti-feminists, dictate the terms of discussion in feminist spaces. No one here has expressed support of him, or even of this particular policy.

    We simply cannot pretend that ableism in society can be divorced from this issue. I would like to hope that a feminist space is capable of having this discussion without shouting down anyone who brings up the issue.

    On this thread, I notice a lot of talk about the problems with disabled people and caregivers often face, but not so much acknowledgement of the solutions which are being advocated by disability rights activists. Institutions are not an inevitable part of society. Neither is abuse of disabled people. These are feminists issues, and I hope for the day that mainstream feminists and feminist organizations spend a fraction of the time on these issues as they do on the abortion one.

  86. K.
    K. February 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

    Yeah, yeah. It’s so fucking ableist of me not to want to have to chew my fingernails as my child undergoes heart operations and dies young. All the support and education in the world isn’t going to change the health problems associated with Down’s Syndrome.

    Um.
    Yeah. It is.
    It was also ableist as fuck when my mother said that if she’d known I’d be autistic & epileptic she would have considered abortion bc it made HER suffer. BC it was scary for HER. It’s All About Mommy!

    I support people’s right to abortion, even the ones I find distasteful. That doesn’t mean I can’t call ableism what it is.

  87. blondie
    blondie February 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

    “Good for me, but not for thee” judgmental hypocrisy runs rampant in arguments about abortion.

    You’d think the percentage of women who had or will have an abortion in their lives is something like 1-2%, instead of 40%. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/252560-overview

  88. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    Institutions are not an inevitable part of society. Neither is abuse of disabled people.

    Indeed. But given that institutions and institutional abuse are, you know, a part of society right now, and don’t seem to be going anywhere, their existence is going to factor into any decision I make about continuing a pregnancy or having an abortion, rather than basing that decision on some wonderful time in the future after the revolution when we’ve sorted out society.

    Again, neither you nor the now-banned anonymous are addressing the actual suffering and health problems associated with Down’s.

  89. Azalea
    Azalea February 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    At the end of the day, no fetus hasa *right* to be born, being female doesn’t give the fetus a right to be born, beng disabled doesn’t give the fetus the right to be born. A fetus is not a member of any protected class until it is bon because at that point its no longer a fetus, it’s a baby. If the pregnant person wants to abort, it’s their rght to do so.

  90. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

    It was also ableist as fuck when my mother said that if she’d known I’d be autistic & epileptic she would have considered abortion bc it made HER suffer. BC it was scary for HER. It’s All About Mommy!

    It was all about her. You didn’t exist yet. She is a human being and entitled to be scared and entitled to care about her physical and mental well-being. She didn’t owe a fetus anything.

    Now, it may have been shitty of her to tell that to YOU, a living sentient person, because hurting people’s feelings is wrong and generally mean-spirited. It’s probably pretty shitty that she prioritizes her ONGOING well-being over the well-being of her child who is actually present and actually has needs. But, you’re conflating someone with an attitude that “It’s all about Mommy!” WHEN YOU EXIST to the idea that it’s all about Mommy when Mommy’s is the only experience that yet exists.

    (This applies as well when Daddy is in the equation, assuming of course that Daddy is a valuable input in Mommy’s decision-making regarding her body…so It’s All About Mommy & Daddy, to the extent that Mommy wants it to also be about Daddy, which from an ethical perspective boils down to It’s All About Mommy.)

  91. trees
    trees February 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    It’s women, the mother and/or grandmothers and aunties that do the vast majority of care giving in the majority of families. Women are making decisions about what they are realistically able to do. I am the child of an intellectually disabled mother, and my beloved daughter is profoundly disabled and terminally ill. I married (and divorced) a man who claimed to be a feminist, but I am a single mother with 100% of the responsibility. Watching my child suffer is gut wrenching, and not something I would wish on my worse enemy. And lets be clear that it is women who are doing the overwhelming majority of the work of raising children with disabilities. My daughter is the greatest joy of my life, but also my heartbreak.

  92. K.
    K. February 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    It was all about her. You didn’t exist yet. She is a human being and entitled to be scared and entitled to care about her physical and mental well-being. She didn’t owe a fetus anything.

    Given that I was a fertility drugs baby (something I forget not everyone knows, for some reason. I guess bc everyone in person knows), it’s…inconsistent for her to be all “I want a baby, except…THAT ONE.” Not like she would owe a fetus anything. If she’d chosen to abort, well, I wouldn’t be around to care. Yelling at an actually-there kid that she wished she’d aborted is shitty.

    Now, it may have been shitty of her to tell that to YOU, a living sentient person, because hurting people’s feelings is wrong and generally mean-spirited. It’s probably pretty shitty that she prioritizes her ONGOING well-being over the well-being of her child who is actually present and actually has needs. But, you’re conflating someone with an attitude that “It’s all about Mommy!” WHEN YOU EXIST to the idea that it’s all about Mommy when Mommy’s is the only experience that yet exists.

    It was totally shitty.

    I find a lot of things relating to parenting kids w.disabilities to be incredibly selfish. However, that is drifting waaaay off topic, given that I am solidly in favor of pregnant people being offered prenatal testing…and full & complete information about the results (so, like “there is X percent chance your fetus has Whatever, and the phenotype could vary from A to B, here are some resources to understand some real life people w Whatever”, not “OMG DISABILITY AHHHHH BURDEN!”). And they should be empowered to do what they will with the information-not pressured either way.

    There was somewhere I was going with that…I think in the direction of “prenatal testing is good, choice is good, it’s crappy that PWD & potential PWD are so devalued”.

  93. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann February 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

    Politicalguineapig, let’s not start putting disabilties into some kind of “badness” heirarchy, mmkay?

    I have epilepsy. This morning I fell down the stairs and slammed face first into the tile floor after a partial seizure. I really don’t appreciate, in light of that, my disability being dismissed as a mere “neurological impairment.”

  94. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    Given that I was a fertility drugs baby (something I forget not everyone knows, for some reason. I guess bc everyone in person knows), it’s…inconsistent for her to be all “I want a baby, except…THAT ONE.”

    Without minimizing how shitty your mother’s comments sound, I want to point out that the use of fertility drugs makes one no more or less obligated towards a potential baby. Deciding to terminate if the fetus turns out to have a severe problem does not make one “inconsistent.” Women who use technology to concieve get this line ALL THE TIME. Lately women have gotten a lot of ire over selective reduction of HOM (higher order mulitple) and twin pregnancies, since they “should” be grateful for a any pregnancy they get, those infertile bitches.

  95. Marissa123
    Marissa123 February 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm |

    “These [disability rights issues] are feminists issues, and I hope for the day that mainstream feminists and feminist organizations spend a fraction of the time on these issues as they do on the abortion one.”

    Sarah, thank you so much for saying that!! I was worrying whether me bringing this up was labeling me as anti-feminist rather than taking head-on the fact that feminism is intersectional, and with intersectional feminism comes disagreement and “border wars” so to speak, all of which do keep feminist discourse active and poignantly relevant. You convinced me that we DO need to discuss disability and discuss it here in a post about reproductive health care. We simply need be attentive to productive ways of addressing disability and pregnancy that don’t impede on reproductive rights to chose or turn into a woman-pregnancy-shaming battles. Yes more discussions of disability and intersectionality, even when these discussions bring us into uncomfortable and difficult to navigate territory!

  96. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    Given that I was a fertility drugs baby (something I forget not everyone knows, for some reason. I guess bc everyone in person knows), it’s…inconsistent for her to be all “I want a baby, except…THAT ONE.”

    I infer that you think this would not be inconsistent for a person who got pregnant on purpose without undergoing treatment for infertility. If so, why is it inconsistent for a person who got pregnant on purpose by undergoing treatment for infertility?

    Also, I think it’s truly awful that your mother told you that.

  97. K.
    K. February 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    I infer that you think this would not be inconsistent for a person who got pregnant on purpose without undergoing treatment for infertility. If so, why is it inconsistent for a person who got pregnant on purpose by undergoing treatment for infertility?

    I think it’s inconsistent in general for someone to want a baby but NOT THAT ONE THEY’RE DEFECTIVE. Just a touch moreso for someone who is going through expensive procedures to get pregnant to then decide the kid they conceived isn’t the kid they want.

    I suck at language.

  98. mamram
    mamram February 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm |

    I am fundamentally saddened that tomorrow’s youth will have dramatically smaller classes of special needs students because i know how much people with special needs have meant to my life, and there is plenty of anthropological evidence to suggest that people with special needs serve a positive role in larger society.

    As somebody with an intellectual disability (who had to tolerate sitting in those special needs classes, although I’m glad it apparently enriched your life so), I actually find this pretty insulting. You seem to think that people with disabilities are completely defined by them, and so you cannot see the huge difference between valuing those people and valuing their disabilities. You’re hiding it behind some fuzzy nonsense about difference and joy and blah, but it’s there.

  99. Puggins
    Puggins February 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    When we had our first child, my wife had a level-2 ultrasound done due to a history of heart defects on her side of the family. The ultrasound came back fine, with one exception- the fetus had an echogenic bowel, which has a very tenuous correlation with Down’s Syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis. The specialist offered the quad screen, and, after a lot of introspection and deliberation, my wife turned it down. She had decided to have the baby regardless, and the (remote) chance that the amnio could trigger a miscarriage was one that she wasn’t going to take.

    Now you can argue all you want about the wisdom of that choice. Here’s my point- the next twenty weeks were a living hell for me. I was CONSTANTLY thinking about the possibility of my future daughter having Downs or (far worse) Cystic Fibrosis. We were privileged enough to have a choice of going that route. I would never wish that on another human being, and the idea that someone would have to go through the same thing we did because they couldn’t afford to have a quad screen done is horrifying.

    I don’t understand why some people here chose this thread to champion the cause of Downs Syndrome. In a nutshell, you’re saying that it’s perfectly okay to deny people with less privilege the ability to understand what is happening with their pregnancy. How is that supposed to make me more sympathetic to your cause in any way?

  100. haley
    haley February 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    I want thank LeftSidePositive for all of their comments posted in this thread. I agree with the ethical positions and logical consistency presented in your posts.

  101. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    Brittany-Ann: I wasn’t trying to hand-wave epilepsy. I am aware it can occasionally be injurious or lethal. I think I was trying to point out that disabilities have a wide range, and it ought to be up to the women involved to decide what they can cope with, as they are likely going to be the primary caretaker. Considering the high rate of sex abuse of disabled children and adults, that’s another concern-should the father/any male relative be trusted with caretaking duties? Is the father even going to stick around if they end up with a child who doesn’t met parameters?

    Anonymous and any other fundies: disabled people ≠ society’s morality pet.

  102. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm |

    I’m almost certainly going to get slammed for this, and the only defense I can offer is nonstop Ny/DayQuil for the last two days. Fuzzy head.

    In high school–I graduated in 2006–I volunteered at a school for children with special needs, 6 weeks through 7 years. I mean seriously volunteered: before school, after school, for an hour during my free period, and 40 hours a week in the summer; they would have hired me for the last portion had I not been inconveniently Jewish. (Or had they not been rabid evangelicals who, I know for a fact, prayed for my soul daily, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    I also babysat for the kids there, a lot; there aren’t many people who will sit for children with serious disabilities, so I was quite popular. I sat days, nights, sometimes overnight. I became extremely close to one family, who had three kids under four, one of whom had spina bifida, epilepsy, and hydrocephalus. I took vacations with them, and was basically part of the family.

    When I went to college, I planned to go into special ed. My plan changed because I learned that being an ed major, and actually teaching, made me want to shoot either myself or possibly the entire education establishment.

    What I’m trying to say is, I don’t run around saying “disabled people are less-than and shouldn’t be here” or anything like that. That said, when I am pregnant, I will have every test possible and if the fetus has, or is highly likely to have, a disability, I will have an abortion. This isn’t in spite of what I’ve seen, in spite of the wonderful kids I’ve known. It’s because of it.

    For all that Sean was a happy child, he had to go through painful surgeries. He had to take medicine he hated. His brain damage gets worse with each unstoppable seizure. When he started school, he had to go to a different classroom, where kids who will always wear diapers have to go. He’ll never read. For all that Daley always smiled and dragged me over to show off her latest art project, she’s already had two heart surgeries. She’ll never be able to go out without getting looked at. She’ll never be able to be independent.

    I also worked at a camp for adults with special needs. They had it harder. Nobody thought they were cute anymore. They required two people to help them go to the bathroom. If they had anger issues, they had to be held down. My mother heard an interview on the radio once (does she remember the program? no, of course not) with adults with Down Syndrome. Almost all of them said they wished they hadn’t been born. And those were the ones who could communicate.

    What I’m saying is, it’s not all about me me me. I’m lucky enough to be educated and financially comfortable. I’m physically healthy, aside from this cold. But I would not have a child with, or likely to have, a disability. Because I’ve seen the pain it can cause the children. So much of what I hear is “Oh, but Diana Sue/Daniel Sam has changed my life! She lights the room with her smile! She’s always so positive! Even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing about her/him” In addition to weirdly fetishizing Diana or Daniel, what a jerk thing to say. What medical problems have they had? How do they feel about people staring at them? What’s being said is “Even if I could, I wouldn’t keep my child from having to go through these things, because they make *me* happy.”

    Obviously I can’t protect my children against everything. But what I can protect them against, the hurt I can save them, I damn well will. But I say “I”, because, even if I judge the hell out of people who say things like that, and even if I would do it differently than people who choose to not have pre-natal testing done, I still respect that it’s their choice to make.

    (“I am fundamentally saddened that tomorrow’s youth will have dramatically smaller classes of special needs students because i know how much people with special needs have meant to my life, and there is plenty of anthropological evidence to suggest that people with special needs serve a positive role in larger society.”

    That’s basically what I’m talking about right there. The idea that the “larger role in society” is somehow more important than how the kids might feel. Also, a lot of the seriously, seriously disabled kids never make it into those classes. I know too many who died without ever even breathing on their own, or moving their limbs, or communicating. I know a little boy who had a rare mitochondrial disorder and died when he was five after leading a lonely, painful, often-hospitalized life. You bet your ass I would have kept him from having to go through that. Those kids get lost in these discussions.)

  103. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    I think it’s inconsistent in general for someone to want a baby but NOT THAT ONE THEY’RE DEFECTIVE. Just a touch moreso for someone who is going through expensive procedures to get pregnant to then decide the kid they conceived isn’t the kid they want.

    What is inconsistent about somebody getting pregnant on purpose and then, as @chava says, “deciding to terminate if the fetus turns out to have a severe problem”? And what about having to go through expensive procedures to get pregnant on purpose makes this more inconsistent? Does getting pregnant on purpose constitute an unconditional and irrevocable moral commitment to give birth?

  104. AM
    AM February 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm |

    I came across this discussion via Google News, and though I am not an active member of this community, I feel pretty close to this topic and wanted to weigh in…

    It seems the issue here is that many people feel threatened by any notion that some decisions being made during pregnancy are torubling to others. I think a lot of people with disabilities and close to people with disabilities have felt that Down Syndrome screenings havebeen touchy territory for a long time. There has never been any ethical or policy debate around the emergence of these tests. They came about simply because testing for Down.Syndrome is easier to test for than, say, autism or blindness or psychological disorders. Some of the comments in here regarding this topic come off as very callous given the justified feeling of being targeted that people with Down Syndrome and their families are feeling by not just the screenings, but the overwhelming rejection of those births. 92% is the stat and it’s pretty hard to tell us that that doesnt reflect a societal attitude towards disability.

    To me, that’s what I think @anonymous was struggling to articulate. I dont think she was trying to conflate it with discussions about policy around the right to choose.

    I also think that some of the language here is textbook ableism, and we could all use a little more introspection on this subject.

    I will leave you with one hopefully uplifting note (hopefully you will see it that way, if not, I am open to your thoughts).

    The Dutch have been requiring expectant mothers to be educated on the condition of Down Syndrome in particular before undergoing these screenings. I believe there isa combination of literature and access to advisors as part of this program. There, the rate of abortions for positive test cases is somewhere around 50%. A little education can go a long way. There is an irrational fear playing into the 92% number and it’s our responsibility to respectively inform each other as much as we can on this divisive topic so that we can find a path forward together that addresses valid concerns.

  105. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm |

    Being neither infertile nor disabled, I’m not in a position to pass judgement here, but I will remark that a lot of the articles/blogs/books by infertile women figure primary infertility as a disability in its own right, and the “you should be GRATEFUL for any baby you get” attitude as ableist.

  106. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    I think it’s inconsistent in general for someone to want a baby but NOT THAT ONE THEY’RE DEFECTIVE. Just a touch moreso for someone who is going through expensive procedures to get pregnant to then decide the kid they conceived isn’t the kid they want.

    And how does this differ in any way from the right-wing Christianist position that we all just have to shut up and accept what God gives us? Because I don’t. I don’t believe that some random conjunction of sperm and egg obligates me to carry it to term. I only have to carry to term if I want to use my body to build that particular conjunction of sperm and egg into a baby. That’s not inconsistent. I don’t have to live on a roulette wheel spin, and I see no moral reason why I should.

    You’re acting like the people who say that those of us who want to have a baby should just adopt a teenager from foster care, because hey, if you want a kid, you should be willing to accept any kid. That’s a load of bullshit: I make the choices I can in the circumstances I have, and there’s nothing inconsistent about prioritizing my desires and needs when making those choices.

    What your mother said to you was shitty. My mother’s mother said that she too “wished she’d had an abortion” to my mother. My mother has no significant disabilities (adult-onset asthma does not seem to me to merit the name). Her mother is just an asshole. So, in my opinion, is your mother.

  107. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm |

    By the way, if it’s ablist of pregnant women to dare to consider their own desires and comfort levels when deciding whether or not they want to run a very high risk of their future child needing heart surgery or of actually outliving that child, when, in your estimation, is it OK for a pregnant woman to actually prioritize her own desires and comfort? Ever?

    Because it sounds to me like you’re parroting the same old shit about women, particularly pregnant women, having a duty to prioritize the needs of everybody else–including people who don’t yet exist–over their own. To consider even your own potential suffering when it comes to burying your child is selfish and ablist. When is a woman allowed to put her own needs first?

  108. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm |

    You know what LeftSidePositive. . .fuck you and your ableist bullshit.

    I just wanted to get my thesis out there in the open straightaway. Now for the caveats. I am 100% pro-choce. 10,000% pro-choice. Any woman should be able to choose to have an abortion at any time for any reason. Each individual woman (or anyone else with a uterus) has an absolute right to control the contents of zer uterus. Each individual has an absolute right to have complete control over the internal condition of their body in all manners and at all times. What I choose to do with my body is my business, and I 10,000,000% support the choices of every other person when it comes to what they want to do with their body.

    OK. So hopefully that was clear.

    Now, on to the question of born people (not fetuses) with Down’s Syndrome. Their Down’s Sydrome is not an inherent problem. It does not inherently cause more suffering than if in some hypothetical universe they were the same person but didn’t have Down’s Syndrome (in which case they wouldn’t actually be the same person though). You know who gets to decide the value of having Down’s Syndrome? People with Down’s Syndrome. People with Down’s Symdrome decide how much value their life has, whether it’s good that they have Down’s Syndrome or not, whether it would be better if they had been born without Down’s Syndrome or not. Their life, their reality, their choice. You are basically arguing that the world would be a better place if fewer people were born with Down’s Syndome. Fuck you. If that’s the cumulative result of the choices that individual women make in regard to their pregnancy, then fantastic. But there’s nothing inherently good about it as a societal trend. Not that there’s anything inherently bad about it either. The whole point is the having Down’s Syndrome has no inherent positive or negative value independent from the perception a person with Down’s Syndrome has of zer own individual condition. You, however, are coming dangerously close to not only being an ableist windbag, but actually ceasing to be pro-choice. You are coming dangerously close to saying women should choose to abort fetuses that are likely to be born with Down’s Syndrome. And that’s bullshit.

    Bottom line: how people with Down’s Syndome choose to interpret their experience is none of your business. Whether women choose to abort a fetus or not that is likely to be born with Down’s Syndrome is also none of your business. (Obviously if you yourself have a uterus though you have a complete right to do anything you want with it).

  109. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

    This whole thing also makes me wonder: do the people arguing against abortion of (potentially?) disabled fetuses have problems with abortion in general? Or are they saying it’s totally cool to abort what would be a healthy child but not to abort what would be a child with serious medical issues? That’s kind of a skeevy position to take, no?

  110. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm |

    AM: The Dutch also have socialized health care and smaller, tighter-knit communities, which might also account for the lower abortion stats. The education helps, but so does not having to worry about going bankrupt if the kid needs a surgery or ten.

  111. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

    It does not inherently cause more suffering than if in some hypothetical universe they were the same person but didn’t have Down’s Syndrome

    From what I’ve read about Down’s Syndrome, people with it run a significantly higher risk of heart defects (50% of people with it develop heart defects, according to Wikipedia), leukemia (10-50x more common in people with it, same source), thyroid disorders (33% of people with DS, Wikipedia), and significantly higher risks for various other ailments including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease, and an average life expectancy of about 49 years.

    None of that sounds like it might inherently cause more suffering?

  112. K.
    K. February 20, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

    And how does this differ in any way from the right-wing Christianist position that we all just have to shut up and accept what God gives us? Because I don’t. I don’t believe that some random conjunction of sperm and egg obligates me to carry it to term. I only have to carry to term if I want to use my body to build that particular conjunction of sperm and egg into a baby. That’s not inconsistent. I don’t have to live on a roulette wheel spin, and I see no moral reason why I should.

    Because inconsistent and “shouldn’t be allowed” are vastly different things? People are allowed to be inconsistent. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like their inconsistency, since it’s not my business unless they choose to make it so. It’s not like I’m going to seek out women who had abortions because of potential disability to try to make them feel bad.

    Hell, I’m inconsistent because I think ableist abortions are shitty, but you better believe I support the right of people with uteri to have abortions for any reason and no reason. Inconsistency is human.

    This is one of those topics that’s really hard to not get emotional about, because I want my life & the lives of other disabled people to be seen as valuable, but it is utterly unconscionable to even think of restricting a woman’s right to bodily autonomy in a halfassed attempt at pretending to value disabled people, if that makes sense?

  113. EG
    EG February 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm |

    I just don’t see the inconsistency that you’re seeing, because in my view, deciding to have a child isn’t a choice you make once and then you’re set–it’s a choice you make every step of the way of conception and pregnancy, with new information and new circumstances at every step. Do you want to have a baby? How about now, when you know you’ll have to endure these particular fertility procedures? How about now, when you’re pregnant and violently ill? How about now, when your partner has lost his job? How about now, when you’ve just moved out of the first trimester but someone close to you has unexpectedly died and you’re overwhelmed with grief? How about now, when you’ve got the results of the amnio back?

    Circumstances change, you get new information, you develop new concerns, and every step of the way, you’re making a choice. A new decision based on new circumstances/information/concerns seems consistent, not inconsistent, to me.

  114. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

    Well, EG, I’m by no means an expert on the various medical aspects of Down’s Syndrome. But during the course of my life I have spent roughly a year and half working directly with adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities in varying capacities: hanging out with them, driving them around, cooking for them, telling them jokes, playing basketball with them, changing their adult diapers, administering their medications, listening to them as they talked about the prejudice they faced in their daily lives. Many of my clients had Down’s Syndrome. And some of them wished that they were “normal,” that they didn’t have Down’s. And others didn’t have a problem with the fact that they had Down’s and accepted their lives for what they were. So yeah, the condition is neither inherently good or bad. I believe each individual has a right to define their own reality. Do heart defects and leukemia and thyroid disorders cause suffering? Of course. But Down’s is a complex phenomenom that has both biological and socially constructed components, and each individual will experience it differently. At least one of the people I worked with who had Down’s I ended up feeling strongly emotionally connected to, and I considered her a friend. She was in her 50s and had had a hard life, having spent time in an oppressive institutional environment as well as years on the street. She was a survivor of sexual assault and had numerous health problems, physical and psychiatric. But she was also a proud woman who lived by her own rules and definitely didn’t appreciate it when anyone viewed her or her condition as a “problem.”

    I’ll be honest. . .I was reading this comment thread pretty closely until LeftSidePositive’s comment @48, at which point her misconceptions and value judgments about people with Down’s Syndrome just became too much for me and I got really pissed and skimmed the rest of the thread so that I could hurry ahead and post. So I’m not sure how well my post fits into how the thread has been flowing along since comment 48.

    But what you’ve seemed to be saying EG about the sort of child you want to parent makes absolute sense to me. I’d want any prospective mother to put herself first and center her own needs, desires, values, strengths, and limitations when considering these issues. I’m more annoyed by Abby Spice’s framing of the issue. She’s certainly entitled to her opinion, and I definitely support her choice to abort a potentially disabled fetus. But I would also question how much she really understood about the disabled kids she worked with and how much she really respected them as people. It seems like she’s kinda decided to take on an “abled person’s burden,” and that kinda skeeves me out. This narrative of how disabled people need super special help and sympathy is a big part of how they continue to be oppressed. Disabled people need abled people to respect them on their own terms and in many cases to also leave them the fuck alone.

  115. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm |

    LotusBen:

    You know what LeftSidePositive. . .fuck you and your ableist bullshit.

    Yeah, being upset when babies die is ableist!!! I’m sorry, their deaths were only socially-constructed and if only there were different social attitudes they wouldn’t die in agony! Actually, scratch that, because I must be aliveist, and we can’t fucking have that!!!

    Now, on to the question of born people (not fetuses) with Down’s Syndrome.

    FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUYOULYINGFUCKINGSACKOFSHIT!!!!!

    Shall we review some fucking evidence, you dishonest shitstain?? Here is what I’ve said:

    “Can we stop equating people who don’t want to START someone else’s life with severe disadvantages/disabilities/pain/high risk of death/etc. with mistreating someone who is ALREADY BORN and ALREADY EXPERIENCING the world?” (This was literally my first sentence on this whole thread–how the fuck did you miss it?)

    “Yes, we as a society are woefully behind in addressing issues that would greatly improve the lives of already-born disabled people and we need to work on that,”

    “No one is trying to eradicate PEOPLE with Down Syndrome from the world–we want to do whatever we can and make as many medical advances as possible to make sure PEOPLE with Down Syndrome get the best possible care and have the highest quality of life attainable.”

    “If you would cure a fetus, you’re acknowledging the non-equality of various health states (and, don’t you DARE conflate this with “non-equality of PEOPLE with different health states”!!)”

    “I see you’re going right back to the same bullshit trope of talking about “eliminating people” instead of talking about eliminating diseases.”

    “Down Syndrome does not have a “right” to exist. Down Syndrome is not a person. PEOPLE with Down Syndrome have a right to exist, and no one is saying they don’t. But fetuses aren’t people.”

    And that’s only my *first* few quotes on the matter.

    HOW FUCKING DARE YOU lecture me about the difference of born people versus fetuses when that has been MY ENTIRE FUCKING POINT!!!!

    Their Down’s Sydrome is not an inherent problem. It does not inherently cause more suffering than if in some hypothetical universe they were the same person but didn’t have Down’s Syndrome.

    This is disingenuous and fucking dishonest. Have you seen what people have to go through with Hirschprung’s disease? Do you think heart surgery is a picnic? Is Alzheimer’s disease just delightful? Are you really so committed to grandstanding about your conceptual purity that you refuse to see a difference in life enjoyment in dying before 50 versus at 80???

    You know who gets to decide the value of having Down’s Syndrome? People with Down’s Syndrome.

    Do you want to explain to me how the fuck someone is going to decide the value of their own Down Syndrome while they’re in utero without a developed brain, O Enlightened Douchebag?!

    You are basically arguing that the world would be a better place if fewer people were born with Down’s Syndome. Fuck you.

    I’m a big fan of “coherent argument + fuck you = emphasis” but “fuck you” in itself does not an argument make. I suppose you think the world is now a worse place because fewer people are born with congenital neurosyphilis?

    I place my question of anonymous in #48 to you–if you could treat Down Syndrome in utero, would you? And to my related question in #59–are we wrong to prevent mental retardation in patients with PKU? Are you just confabulating a fetal personhood argument (which is in all possible ways bullshit no matter what the status of the fetus)? Or are you making some kind of naturalistic fallacy that development is destiny?

    The whole point is the having Down’s Syndrome has no inherent positive or negative value independent from the perception a person with Down’s Syndrome has of zer own individual condition.

    Spare me the postmodernist bullshit. MUCH of disability is socially disadvantaged and culturally constructed, but not ALL of disability is culturally constructed. Some things–like potentially-fatal heart defects–actually genuinely suck no matter how enlightened we pretend to be about it. Pretending that wasting away from Alzheimer’s at a tragically early age is anything other than horrible is just being willfully obtuse.

    You, however, are coming dangerously close to not only being an ableist windbag, but actually ceasing to be pro-choice. You are coming dangerously close to saying women should choose to abort fetuses that are likely to be born with Down’s Syndrome.

    YOU ARE SUCH A FUCKING LIAR. Here is what I’ve actually said on the matter:

    “That means I will gladly devote my utmost professional skills and tax dollars to improving every one of the issues above for those parents who decide that they do want to bring a child with Down Syndrome into the world–because I care about actual people.”

    Whether women choose to abort a fetus or not that is likely to be born with Down’s Syndrome is also none of your business.

    And so why the fuck haven’t you excoriated the people on this thread who’ve said that “There’s no way to spin that other than discrimination against oeople [sic] with Down Syndrome. Any other explanation is wrought with denial. In my opinion, if you’re not prepared to parent a disabled child, you’re not prepared to parent.” (anonymous) Why the fuck are you criticizing ME for saying that parents should be respected for making choices that are in fact valid, and then trying to hide behind some “oh but I’m pro-choice” bullshit WHEN OTHERS ARE ACTUALLY SHAMING PARENTS for their choices, and then you have the fucking gall to tell ME what’s none of my business?

  116. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann February 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm |

    PGP,

    I was addressing that one particular statement, not your entire comment. It was that one statement, after all, that was like a slap to my face. That statement was absolutely unnecessary toward making your point that only the women themselves can decide how much they can deal with.

    Hours later, I’m sore as hell. I’ll be worse tomorrow. Having someone tell me that others have it worse doesn’t help me. It’s extremely disrespectful, and to be frank, I’m sick of hearing that kind of shit from TAB. Hearing it from allies is even worse.

  117. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm |

    EG, I responsed to you, but it’s in mod. I want to try to summarize and see if I can get the summary through. Basically, I worked with adults with intellectual disabilities for a year and half and got to know some of them quite well. Some people with Down’s Syndrome wish they didn’t have it; others are OK with their life as it is. There are medical problems associated with Down’s Syndrome, but that doesn’t mean that having the condition will result in net suffering for each individual who has it.

    That said, I have absolutely no problem with you or any other woman getting an amniocentesis, finding out the fetus is likely to be born with Down’s Syndrome, and having an abortion. Any prospective mother who puts herself first and centers her own needs, desires, values, strengths, and limitations when considering these issues gets my complete and unconditional support.

  118. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm |

    Brittany-Ann: I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to sound like a total jerk, and I don’t want you to have a crappy day tomorrow because I didn’t get how epilepsy affects people. I guess this is my last post here for a while because it seems like lately, I’m offending people every which way. And, yes, on this thread that is my fault, and I’m going to own it. In regards to the Vagina Monologues- I’m still going to say it doesn’t deserve its pedestal, but that’s neither here nor there.

  119. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm |

    again- It’s a women’s choice to choose what she wants to do with her body and her life. It’s a very difficult decision to make. Who are we to decide if a women has made the wrong choice one way or another. I stand with women, because only they know what she can and cannot do.

    This isn’t about the disabled – or whether they have a right to be born (I don’t think anyone has a right to be born – I think it’s up to the women who takes the burden. Not the state, not anyone. — It’s hers. plain simple and to the point.)

    Honestly – I don’t care why women have an abortion, it’s not my right to bud into her personal life. It’s simply none of my business, nor is it anyone elses.

    I really can’t stand people who get on the soap box crying, whining, carrying on about how they are protecting the babiezes — that’s until they are born, then after that – Screw – them — they are on their own.

    Until you are the women facing the decision — you don’t get a say. Sorry — But you don’t.

    I see this as another ploy to take away women’s rights at all levels. What next? No pap smear because it might lead to a women to take birth control? Or no mammograms because the women might be pregnant.. Or how about no medical procedure on a women from menstruation to menopause because she might get pregnant, because as you know it might have an affect on the would be fetus – How about forced births – requiring women to submit to pregnancy so they can be women.

    So, no, when we go down this ridiculous discussion about what women should do with their bodies, even with other women it makes me want to projectile vomit.

  120. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

    K.:

    Hell, I’m inconsistent because I think ableist abortions are shitty

    For one thing, understanding the risks of a diagnosis is not “ableist.” Acknowledging that there are limitations and medical complications that we cannot at present ameliorate is not “ableist.” It’s medically accurate. Risk assessment is not a character flaw. Please stop shaming women who are trying to make the best decisions for themselves AND their families (and future families). They do not need to be told they’re being “shitty.”

    because I want my life & the lives of other disabled people to be seen as valuable

    So, do you see the births of fetuses with future disabilities as an important part of that goal? Do you need a certain number of people to share your condition to feel validated? (And if not, why is preventing genetic/congenital disability troubling to you?) Would your life be more, less, or as valuable if certain disorders were preventable? How, indeed, does the preventability of a disorder (and the choices of those who wish to prevent it) have any bearing whatsoever on how people do or should see persons with disabilities?

    Does valuing the life of a person with disability necessarily entail that we must value the disability itself? Which disabilities? Is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy something that we would feel we missed out on if it disappeared? To love a child dying of Tay-Sachs, must we bring another into the world to experience it? Does prenatal testing and abortion of an HbSS fetus mean that a couple doesn’t see persons with sickle cell anemia as valuable? Is a parent “shitty” for not wanting a fetus with holoprosencephaly to be born? If these are legitimate reasons to abort, what makes aborting other disabilities “ableist”?

  121. K.
    K. February 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm |

    My feminism will be intersectional or…

    oh wait.

    It’s totally bullshit.

  122. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

    It’s totally bullshit.

    Well, there’s a compelling argument!

    I did provide you with several questions about the implications of your “intersectionality,” if you’d care to actually address them…

  123. shfree
    shfree February 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm |

    Brittany-Ann, as a fellow epileptic who is struggling with her brain, her meds, and the two of them just not getting along these past few months, I feel you. Most of the time I’m fully functional, and while I don’t like it when people are “OHMIGOD YOU HAVE EPILEPSY HOW CAN YOU LIVE ARE YOU GOING TO SPAZ OUT RIGHT NOW???” I also don’t much care for the idea that losing control of my body isn’t a big deal, when it is pitched at me by someone else. I get to make that call, just like each person gets to make the call with each condition they have. I personally have mostly come to terms with my epilepsy and the place it has in my life, but if I have seizure, and I come back to lucidity (I have full tonic-clonic with loss of consciousness) and remember that whoever was taking care of me while I was coming back to myself was an utter asshat, there would be hell to pay, as I am very fearful and emotional when I initially regain consciousness. I do not need some asshole telling me that it happened to me before and epilepsy is no big deal when I can’t even remember my god damned name.

    Oh, and as far as wanting to get rid of epileptics, well, no. I like being here. Also, I want my rights. HOWEVER, I will wave a happy flag if no more of us were born. Seizures suck so hard, you don’t even know.

  124. Sarah
    Sarah February 21, 2012 at 12:13 am |

    ITA with K. and LotusBen. LotusBen, thank you for trying to point out the perspectives of people with DS. That’s something I haven’t seen a whole lot of on this thread.

    In terms of public policy issues, I–like everyone else on this thread, I think–don’t think the state should be involved in regulating tests. BUT there’s another issue, which is that currently a lot of money–including public funds–is being spent to learn about the genetics (presumably for the goal of creating prenatal tests) of non-fatal conditions. (Including autism, my own disability.) Now THIS I have a major problem with. In an era where services and education for PWD (and others) are being cut all over the place, the fact that we’re pouring all this money into creating new tests for non-fatal conditions is deplorable. Maybe we can’t prevent people from using tests which already exist, but there is a serious question of resource allocation when it comes to inventing new ones. And society’s current priorities with regards to disabilities is really fucked up.

    So…yeah. This discussion encompasses a LOT of issues that the mainstream feminist and reproductive rights movement generally misses.

    And then mainstream feminists wonder why people who don’t fit the dominant race/class/ability/gender/etc. norms of the movement are reluctant to identify as feminist.

  125. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 12:27 am |

    currently a lot of money–including public funds–is being spent to learn about the genetics (presumably for the goal of creating prenatal tests) of non-fatal conditions.

    That presumption is absurd. You can test people after they’re born, and then people can discover the risks they’re running of a given condition, if they want to. You can learn to separate out genetic predispositions from the environmental conditions that trigger or exacerbate them and then help people avoid the conditions that prey on their vulnerabilities. There is an interest in developing medications and treatments that have to do with genetics as well, I believe. Getting rid of all those possibilities and what they have to offer people is just…spiteful.

    In an era where services and education for PWD (and others) are being cut all over the place, the fact that we’re pouring all this money into creating new tests for non-fatal conditions is deplorable.

    “All this money”? How much, precisely? Do you seriously want me to believe that social services and education budgets are being cut not because the right wing in this country has been incredibly successful at moving our discourse ever further to the right and channelling all our money into the military and corporate welfare and tax breaks for rich people, but because we’re just “pouring” money into medical research? That seems…highly unlikely to me. I’m in favor of funding social services, education, and medical research, and letting those three priorities be pitted against each other is just playing the right wing game where progressive groups and priorities have to scramble for the crumbs they drop instead of paying attention to who actually has the pie.

  126. Sarah
    Sarah February 21, 2012 at 12:36 am |

    Now I’m against all medical research? Sigh.

    I specifically stated non-fatal conditions. Perhaps I should have been more specific–I’m used to talking about this issue in the specific context of autism, and usually to a more informed audience.

    Please, please, please look up the social model of disability. Not every disability is a medical condition.

    This is disability 101.

  127. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 21, 2012 at 1:01 am |

    BUT there’s another issue, which is that currently a lot of money–including public funds–is being spent to learn about the genetics (presumably for the goal of creating prenatal tests) of non-fatal conditions.

    Did it ever occur to you that learning about the genetic basis of disease is an extraordinarily important step in *treating* a disease?? That, like, gee, maybe learning what causes something might go a long fucking way toward fixing it?!

    OF COURSE public funds are used for medical research! Do you want to think for a minute of how many thousands, if not millions, of lives have been saved by advances in biomedical research before you kvetch about the medical community doing what it’s supposed to do?!

    In an era where services and education for PWD (and others) are being cut all over the place,

    Gee, d’ya think that might have something to do with why ethical people might be reluctant to bring a fetus with a genetic anomaly to term?

    the fact that we’re pouring all this money into creating new tests for non-fatal conditions is deplorable.

    For one thing, the NIH has gotten quite a few budget cuts recently, so you might want to rethink your animosity and petulance.

    For another, PEOPLE DESERVE to be informed about their health and to make the best decisions for THEMSELVES and THEIR FAMILIES. Being against medical advances for people who need them is deplorable.

    YOU DO NOT GET TO SPEAK FOR families who want or need testing to plan their families and to address major debilitating genetic conditions. They do not owe you their sacrifice. They do not owe you their fetuses to be born. Their experiences are not yours. Their needs are not yours. Their medical needs and access to information are not yours to withhold.

    For yet another, fatal vs. not-fatal is a mind-fuckingly pointless distinction to make. Who the fuck are you to decide that a condition that would require a round-the-clock caregiver and thus require families to give up jobs or put a child in an institution is not a big deal and that a family should be satisfied being surprised by it? Who the fuck are you to ignore the vast differences in quality of life that “non-fatal conditions” encompass?

    Maybe we can’t prevent people from using tests which already exist,

    You phrase that as though you’d love to prevent people from getting accurate medical information if only you could. Fuck you. Other families shouldn’t have to suffer to meet your standards of postmodern, positivity-demanding, endlessly self-sacrificing parenthood. By all means celebrate those who lovingly raise children with disabilities, but once that crosses the line into insisting that parents are beholden to whatever fetus comes along, or that disabilities are goods in themselves, and trying to foist that onto parents WHO DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU, you’ve seriously jumped the ethical shark.

    but there is a serious question of resource allocation when it comes to inventing new ones.

    Guess what? It’s not a zero-sum game, and you’re painting a blatantly false dichotomy. For fuck’s sake, raising the capital gains tax to income tax rates would likely provide all the money for research AND ongoing care/education/support services, and probably have some left over.

    If you want to advocate for increased services for persons with disabilities, go ahead–I agree with you. But don’t do it at the expense of parents who don’t know how to/can’t afford to/don’t have the emotional strength to birth and raise a child with a detectable fetal anomaly. Don’t act like medical and genetic research that empowers families and may lead to valuable treatment options is the enemy. Don’t insist that someone be born with an untreatable medical condition to which they cannot consent (or that parents be left in the dark about potentially-identifiable medical conditions) just to show off how enlightened you are.

  128. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 21, 2012 at 1:15 am |

    Just because there is a prenatal test for something doesn’t mean that a women will use it to determine whether she is going abort – She might need to know to see if she can handle the disability or to find services that can handle the disability, to talk about early treatment plans, and to help her family decide the right choice for them.

    Just because “YOU” find it morally questionable, doesn’t mean that the general public has a right to discuss and restrict a women from making a choice that is best for her and her family. “YOU” aren’t facing the decision, and “YOU” aren’t paying the price with your body.

    Women should have every right and every access to science to help her to make the decisions, and she has a right to include and exclude who she wants in that decision.

    If you don’t like it ‘tough” cookies.

  129. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 21, 2012 at 1:20 am |

    LotusBen:

    Basically, I worked with adults with intellectual disabilities for a year and half and got to know some of them quite well.

    Has it ever occurred to you that this experience does not qualify you to know the full range of clinical severity possible, and that maybe the risks of more severe disease presentations, which parents cannot control, are an unacceptable risk to them? The fact that people are aware of these risks does not make them “ableist.” Maybe the adults you worked with did not represent the most extreme cases–like the 10% who die before age 5 (Halliday, et al. Pediatrics, 2009)? Who, for fairly obvious reasons, are unlikely to show up in your sample?

    There are medical problems associated with Down’s Syndrome, but that doesn’t mean that having the condition will result in net suffering for each individual who has it.

    This is really belittling to the actual medical conditions that some people face. It’s also insulting to parents who don’t want to put their children at risk.

    You’re also confusing an already-born person making the best of what they have (a basic facet of healthy and adaptive human psychology no matter what the circumstance) with the hypothesis that the circumstances themselves are in fact representative of their Panglossian “best of all possible worlds…”

  130. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 1:36 am |

    What a fascinating discussion going on here. For me, as a parent of a wonderful young girl with Down syndrome, I am amazed at the degree of ignorance and hateful attitudes so-called feminists have towards the disabled. I would hope that my daughter has better regard for human diversity and dignity than is bring displayed by many of the posters here. At best it points to the degree of deeply imbedded discrimination towards the disabled any why screening directed towards birth presentation systematically devalues their lives.

  131. Natalia
    Natalia February 21, 2012 at 2:21 am |

    What a fascinating discussion going on here. For me, as a parent of a wonderful young girl with Down syndrome, I am amazed at the degree of ignorance and hateful attitudes so-called feminists have towards the disabled. I would hope that my daughter has better regard for human diversity and dignity than is bring displayed by many of the posters here. At best it points to the degree of deeply imbedded discrimination towards the disabled any why screening directed towards birth presentation systematically devalues their lives.

    Mike, you seem to believe that someone else’s decision to abort because of DS is an insult towards you and your daughter. Why?

    I know someone who aborted a pregnancy, because she was broke and living in a new country at the time. Should I tell her, “Well, I was broke and living in a new country – but I still had my son! So fuck you and your classist shit!” Except that… this would be deeply wrong of me? And cruel? And ridiculous?

    It’s someone else’s decision, after all. And *they* are the ones who get to live with it.

  132. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 21, 2012 at 2:37 am |

    One thing I’d point out to you LeftSide is that having Down’s Syndrome is an important part of the identity of a lot of people. It’s not just some disease they happen to have that causes them pain, like say, a person with diabetes might feel about zer condition. Many people with Down’s think of Down’s as part of what makes them “who they are.” It’s not only that it increases the risk of heart defects or thyroid problems, which of course is tragic. A big part of Down’s is the intellectual disability aspect of it. And I really do believe that the intellectual disability aspect of it would not cause that much suffering if it were not for social prejudice and oppression. This aspect of the disability being a “problem” is chiefly socially constructed. So this is why “curing” Down’s isn’t as simple ethically as say curing something like diabetes or cancer. I’m sure almost everyone with Down’s would be happy to be free of negative physical complications that can result from the condition. But in terms of the cognitive impairment, they seem split to me. Some wish they were “normal,” others accept this aspect of Down’s as part of what makes them unique. Again, this is only based off my limited experience–you are right: I am no expert.

    I think this point I just made in the above paragraph is related to what intially pissed me off about what you were saying. You’ve seemed insistent in this thread on viewing Down’s in exclusively medical terms, exclusively as this debilitating medical condition that causes nothing but suffering. And I know for a fact that this perspective would offend and hurt a lot of the adults with Down’s whom I’ve personally known. They know it’s not all roses, but not all of them accept that their lives are this horrible tragedy. And you probably weren’t even trying to say that their lives are this horrible tragedy, but that’s how I initially interpreted a lot of your rhetoric. So I’m sorry I got triggered and was quick to assume bad faith.

    A lot of the points you’ve specifically made against me I don’t think are really worth responding to point-by-point. It seems like you were mainly trying to defend yourself and say I misinterpreted you. Okay. I probably did misinterpret what you were saying. I did have a strong emotional reaction and then began reading between the lines of what you were saying and seeing things that may have not been there. And I obviously did miss things you said that would have put what you were saying in a more nuanced context. I’m not perfect. I would still maintain, though, that my main mistake was being too quick to judge, rather than intentionally distorting what you were saying. I wasn’t trying to lie about what you said.

    Ok, one last thing. When I called you “ableist,” I was talking about some of the rhetoric you were using and some of the things you were seeming to imply about the lives of people with Down’s Syndrome. I wasn’t at all referring to your position on amniocentesis and how it can be used to abort fetuses that might be born with Down’s. We’re in agreement that this is a woman’s choice. My paragraph about me being pro-choice wasn’t just me covering my ass. I really believe that it is totally appropriate for a woman to choose to abort a fetus that will be born with Down’s based off all the many, many reasons you listed. And fuck Rick Santorum for thinking otherwise, right? Also, I don’t think potential persons have any value (apart from whatever value might be assigned to them by the pregnant woman carrying them). I don’t think potential persons have a right to life. Period. So we completely agree on that.

    I can’t really say why I chose to go after you and not the commenters here who were spouting off various forms of veiled pro-life bullshit. I suppose perhaps because I assumed that since this was a feminist website no one here would take pro-life bullshit seriously. Whereas some of your sentiments on Down’s seemed important to challenge, lest lurkers reading this thread take them at face value. Plus I was just pissed. Emotions don’t always make sense.

    Anyway, sorry that I was the one that started the round of name calling. Sometimes it’s just more fun for me to be self-righteous and powerful than reflective and vulnerable.

  133. valor
    valor February 21, 2012 at 3:49 am |

    Hm, I have to say that while the discussion is interesting (and quite tense), I feel a bit that it has gone off topic. Whether amniocentesis and prenatal testing should be covered by basic, government-mandated insurance is the question of the day. And I can’t see any other reason than yes.

    I 100% agree that there need to be better social services for persons with disabilities. I myself have an ability quirk, and I have to say that b/c of it, I cannot have children, and if I could, I wouldn’t unless I were certain they didn’t have the gene that causes my issues. Because they suck. A lot. I hurt, every day. my mother hurts, every day; my sister hurts, every day. If I knew I was going to have a baby that hurt, every day, from the day it hit puberty to the day it died a premature death, would I? I wouldn’t. I don’t think its moral to give birth to a child that hurts all the time. I don’t think it’s right to cause someone that much pain. But that’s me. I certainly don’t think every one feels the way I do, and it isn’t my place to judge other people’s choices. That’s the point of social justice. I have the right to act on my morals, and so do other people.

    That isn’t Down’s or tri-18, or anything you can test for now. I don’t know much about Down’s syndrome, I admit, but I have met people with Down’s who seem quite happy, and those who seem quite miserable. Down’s doesn’t inherently alter the value of a persons life. It may inherently alter the quality; I don’t know. A lot statistics are being thrown around in here. I don’t know where they came from, and certainly haven’t time to read the studies and methodologies, I can’t assess their value.

    That said, amniocentesis gives information. Information is value-neutral. A woman might decide to get an abortion after having an amnio come back positive for something; she might decide to have one if the ultrasound shows the ‘wrong’ gender; she might decide to have one because she just doesn’t want a baby, and as long as *she* decides, not her family or her doctor or her country and government, to be honest, then to me, those are all the same. SHE DOESN’T WANT THE BABY. I get that some people are against the definite article in that sentence. People seem to think that there’s a value difference between “she doesn’t want *a* baby” and “she doesn’t want *the* baby,” but in my mind, there is not. We can not, we must not, force women to give birth. That is the very rock on which we stand.
    Amniocentesis is important. Amniocentesis helps women make informed decisions about their pregnancies and their bodies. Amniocentesis helps doctors plan for difficult pregnancies. It determines bedrest, diets, and exercise plans for women who plan to carry their babies to terms. Amniocentesis is GOOD. And Rick Santorum is an ass.

  134. Shit TAB People Say « A Bookish Beemer
    Shit TAB People Say « A Bookish Beemer February 21, 2012 at 8:09 am |

    […] “X disability is worse than yours.” […]

  135. LMM
    LMM February 21, 2012 at 8:23 am |

    I specifically stated non-fatal conditions. Perhaps I should have been more specific–I’m used to talking about this issue in the specific context of autism, and usually to a more informed audience. Please, please, please look up the social model of disability. Not every disability is a medical condition. This is disability 101.

    You know, I’m going to butt in here and point out that I absolutely detest these kinds of conversations. Not necessarily because anything you’re writing is wrong from your POV, but because, as someone else with an ASD, I am sick of people presuming to speak for me — and that includes other autistic individuals *and* individuals involved in disability research. I *do* consider ASDs to be inherit disabilities that are worth treating, if not curing, and the fact that those with opposing views do not even consider my perspective worth acknowledging during these discussions is incredibly silencing.

    Incidentally, one of the fields where individuals with ASDs are at the least disadvantage relative to neurotypicals is the hard sciences. Defunding genetics research, therefore, would take money away from one of the fields that employs a large number of the very people you want to help.

  136. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 21, 2012 at 8:41 am |

    I specifically stated non-fatal conditions. Perhaps I should have been more specific–I’m used to talking about this issue in the specific context of autism, and usually to a more informed audience.

    If you’re used to talking about autism, then maybe you should stick to autism. Because I have bipolar, which is considered to be non-fatal, and I would fucking love to see a cure for it. I’m not sure I’d take it myself — at this point, my disorder is built into my identity — but I would love to be able to keep any child of mine, or any child ever, anywhere, from ever having to live through what I and others have.

    Some conditions may be just another way of being — although, as we’ve seen, not everyone who has them agrees with that — but some are painful and disabling and no one should have to live with them.

  137. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |

    Perhaps I should have been more specific–I’m used to talking about this issue in the specific context of autism, and usually to a more informed audience.

    Please, please, please look up the social model of disability. Not every disability is a medical condition.

    Perhaps you should have been more specific, because this is not a thread about autism. This is a thread about prenatal testing for medical conditions. So yes, that’s what I’m talking about. If you’d like to talk about disabilities that are not medical conditions, feel free to do so, but you don’t get to single-handedly change the subject of the thread.

  138. ann
    ann February 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |

    There are a couple of thoughts that just don’t seem likely to work together – that better govt help and education would improve the lives of disabled kids/families. Also, that when people are free to make the choice, which results in 90% of down syndrome babies aborted, all is well because these are wanted babies.

    Once 90% of a particular disease is aborted, what is the likelihood of taxpayers wanting to give money to those who did not abort? It just doesn’t seem that once people got rid of their expensive problem, they will be all that willing to fund the 10% who did not. How likely is it that downs people will have the classes and things that are spoken of here when so few of them are born? How likely are people to accept someone’s limitations when they feel they should have been aborted?

    A lot of these thoughts sound good individually, but just don’t gel together.

    A side note – some of you also have mentioned wanting a child you can relate to intellectually – then you talk so trashy. The filthy language you use indicates someone who can’t relate to anyone intellectually. You are an embarrassment to feminism.

  139. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |

    Also, Sarah, you do not get to keep on shifting goalposts. The topic of this thread was pre-natal testing, which encompasses a range of conditions from the horrific to the neutral. Then we were all informed by anonymous that what we really had to talk about was Down’s Syndrome, and no more talking about Trisomy 18 or Tay-Sachs or anything like that. And now you’re saying that the main context you want to talk about is autism, which we don’t even have a genetic test for?

    Then you say we’re “pouring all this money” into developing genetic tests, and when I point out that we’re not “pouring” much money into any kind of medical research, you decide play semantics because I used the general phrase “medical research” instead of “identifying genetic origins/presuppositions.”

    Do you think you could actually, you know, address anything I or LSP has said? The high probability of early death? The heart problems? The fact that genetic knowledge can be used for all kinds of things other than prenatal testing? The fact that non-fatal conditions can be awful and you don’t get to make that call for other potential parents? The fact that this country doesn’t spend all that much money on medical research of any kind?

    No. You don’t get to keep changing the

  140. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 9:40 am |

    terms of the discussion and then say that the problem is that we’re ill-informed.

  141. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 9:44 am |

    For me, as a parent of a wonderful young girl with Down syndrome, I am amazed at the degree of ignorance and hateful attitudes so-called feminists have towards the disabled. I would hope that my daughter has better regard for human diversity and dignity than is bring displayed by many of the posters here. At best it points to the degree of deeply imbedded discrimination towards the disabled any why screening directed towards birth presentation systematically devalues their lives.

    I love it when people say “as the parent of a wonderful young [child].” Seriously, does anybody ever refer to themselves as the parent of a terrible young child?

    It’s very good that you love your daughter and value her. I value her too, because she is a person. However, your partner’s decision and your love for your daughter should not be so fragile that it is threatened by my decision not to use my uterus just as you would. It is, after all, my uterus, and my life, and the fact that you can’t seem to accept that that means I might make different decisions from the ones you wish I would and that those decisions just might be legitimate speaks volumes about your insecurity.

  142. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

    Well, this sure got heated.

    What I’m hearing from a good chunk of the posters is that if someone chooses against bringing a fetus with a disability to term, that person is an ableist jerk.

    I don’t see it that way. There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not to bring a child into the world (in fact, my wife and I encountered paralysis by analysis for a while!). Many of those things are selfish concerns. Of COURSE they are! Who’s doing the deciding? You are. I think considering, as best you can (which means avoiding ignorant fear!), the likely quality of life of said child is also important. There are lots of things involved there – potential disability being only one of them. And it will always be relatively easy to pass judgment from afar.

    I don’t know how much ignorant fear affects that 92% abortion stat for fetuses that test positive as having Downs. I’m open to the possibility that the answer is “significantly.” If that can be addressed without it becoming an excercise in trying to shame people into bringing such fetusus to term, I’m cool w/it. Knowledge is good. But seriously, how easy would it be to turn that into an excercise in shaming women who abort? After all, if it’s shameful to abort because of Downs, how is it not as bad (or worse!) to abort simply because you don’t want a child, or aren’t ready for one yet, or…

  143. Sarah
    Sarah February 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

    Geez, I didn’t know that this thread was specifically designated to discuss prenatal tests for only certain conditions. I just re-read Jill’s original post, and nothing that she said indicated that this was about any specific prenatal test.

    I think I am done engaging here. So much of what I’ve said has been utterly misconstrued. I am not Santorum, I do not support him. If you want to talk about shifting goalposts, well…why is it that people who’ve brought up disability issues on this thread have often been treated as though we’re endorsing Santorum’s comments?

    I don’t want to be a further part in a conversation in which PWDs’ thoughts on their own lives are consistently devalued, in which only non-disabled (in the sense of not having a particular disability) people’s views on a particular disability count. See responses to LotusBen’s comments about what actual people with DS think.

  144. Sarah
    Sarah February 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    Just to clarify my position:

    -I don’t think that anyone who chooses to abort a fetus based on potential disability is “an ableist jerk,” though I would note that ableism is so prevalent in our society that most people do hold some ableist beliefs, consciously or not. And having a disability doesn’t make one immune to internalized ableism, or ableism against another disabled group.

    -I do not support any state regulations on abortion or prenatal testing, though I question whether the state should be actively trying to create new prenatal tests for non-fatal conditions–especially when services for PWD is in such a deplorable state. When it comes to medical research, I think people who actually have the conditions in question should have a greater say in determining where research funds go.

    -I think high rates of abortion after positive prenatal tests for certain conditions are indicative of widespread ableism and institutional problems. I’d like to see this combated through improved services for PWD, greater integration into society, and better public understanding of the value of PWD’s lives. I think any conversation that tries to talk about prenatal testing without also talking about these issues is incomplete and, like K said, an intersectionality fail.

  145. LMM
    LMM February 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

    And having a disability doesn’t make one immune to internalized ableism, or ableism against another disabled group.

    Glad to know that my beliefs — or anyone else’s on this thread — aren’t even *acknowledged* as valid conclusions based on personal experiences. Nope. They’re just due to internalized bigotry.

    Silencing much?

  146. Sarah
    Sarah February 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

    I didn’t mean that phrase to specifically refer to you, LMM.

  147. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

    Reality Check: the risk of a world with no people living with Tri 21/other disabilities is vanishingly remote. A substantial percentage of pregnant people don’t have the resources to consider selective abortion for one thing. W/R/T Tri 21 specifically, the evidence is that the prevalence of people BORN with Tri 21 is stable if not growing. US example: since the late ’70s, there has been a stable prevalence thru 1990 (MMWR weekly 8/26/1994), and RISING prevalence more recently (Shin et al., Pediatrics 2009). Furthermore, prevalence of children with significant disabilities overall is RISING (Boyle et al. Pediatrics 2011).

    So any “eliminationist” rhetoric via abortions due to availablility of prenatal testing is unfounded, unwarranted, and only serves to undermine uterus-bearing people’s health and autonomy.

    Second, people who get advanced screening, like amnio, are a self-selected group. Amnio has a spontaneous abortion risk of ~1:700 and a large proportion of people who want THAT pregnancy to result in birth, are NOT willing to take that risk (waves!!!). It’s decidedly more worth it to HAVE amnio if 1) you already have serious concerns and 2) you’ve already got termination as a possible choice. Generalizing from this study to 90% of all uterus-bearing people is ludicrous, and extrapolating from that study to “90% fewer Tri 21 people” is patently misunderstanding the implications and findings of that study. (And even in THAT study, the rates of terminations were consistent over time, not rising.)

    As for the abelism inherent in a (hypothetical or actual) person’s decision to abort: we live in abelist cultures, I can’t think of how abelism *wouldn’t* figure in on some level. Perhaps subliminally, perhaps from experience, perhaps because of the resources and support needed vs. available, etc. But these are real things, and it’s not *wrong* to think about them, or have them factor into the choice.

    Abelism is a *systemic* problem, and it doesn’t belong on the metaphorical back or literal uterus of ANY ONE PERSON OR HIR PREGNANCY to fix abelism. You disagree with zir reasoning? Gotcha! Don’t make that choice for yourself, and DON’T prescribe for anyone else. It’s hard enough to exercise uterine autonomy without your 2c worth, however well intentioned. Legitimate concerns about abelism are appropriately directed at Institutions and in our personal discourse, not inside someone else’s body.

  148. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    Geez, I didn’t know that this thread was specifically designated to discuss prenatal tests for only certain conditions. I just re-read Jill’s original post, and nothing that she said indicated that this was about any specific prenatal test.

    She didn’t. That was you and anonymous, whining that we had the gall to continue discussing trisomy 18 even after you had made it clear that what you wanted to talk about was Down’s Syndrome. And then, bizarrely, you announcing that the really important topic was prenatal tests that didn’t exist yet, such as one for autism.

    When it comes to medical research, I think people who actually have the conditions in question should have a greater say in determining where research funds go.

    So…not the people who actually do the research and are expert in the field and might have a sense of what research projects and goals are feasible and/or likely to lead to further advances in knowledge, then? Gotcha.

    If you want to talk about shifting goalposts, well…why is it that people who’ve brought up disability issues on this thread have often been treated as though we’re endorsing Santorum’s comments?

    Maybe, and this is just a shot in the dark, because this is a thread attached to a post about Santorum’s comments? Far-fetched, I know, but just within the realm of possibility, perhaps.

    But I do admire the way you managed to, once more, deftly avoid taking responsibility for your own topic-switching by deflecting. Again.

    I don’t want to be a further part in a conversation in which PWDs’ thoughts on their own lives are consistently devalued

    Then let me make this perfectly clear: when it comes to whether I decide to abort or carry to term a pregnancy that would result in a baby with severe disabilities, PWD’s thoughts on their own lives are absolutely valueless. Because they are not me, and I am the one whose uterus it is, and the potential life in question is not theirs. Their thoughts have as much value as do the thoughts of a randomly selected bunch of people without disabilities on whether or not I should abort: none whatsoever.

    Abelism is a *systemic* problem, and it doesn’t belong on the metaphorical back or literal uterus of ANY ONE PERSON OR HIR PREGNANCY to fix abelism. You disagree with zir reasoning? Gotcha! Don’t make that choice for yourself, and DON’T prescribe for anyone else. It’s hard enough to exercise uterine autonomy without your 2c worth, however well intentioned. Legitimate concerns about abelism are appropriately directed at Institutions and in our personal discourse, not inside someone else’s body.

    Thank you, IrishUp. Quoted for truth.

  149. LMM
    LMM February 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

    I didn’t mean that phrase to specifically refer to you, LMM.

    No, but it definitely *applied* to me.

    More generally, insisting that this is a “conversation in which PWDs’ thoughts on their own lives are consistently devalued” while *simultaneously* dismissing the opinions of other PWDs as being simply due to internalized bigotry strikes me as the height of hypocrisy. Either you respect the opinions of PWDs or you don’t. And if you do, then you have to respect *all* opinions, not just the ones that you agree with.

  150. Sarah
    Sarah February 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    Good thing that I didn’t actually say that PWD’s thoughts are simply the result of internalized ableism, then.

  151. Emolee
    Emolee February 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

    Women are not communal vessels who provide babies for the greater good.

    This was said way upthread and needs to be repeated.

    Conversations about the lives of people with different disabilities are certainly valuable, but don’t have any bearing on Santorum’s bullshit legislative goals or on whether pregnant people should be able to have prenatal screening or abortions. We are talking about medical care for the pregnant person’s own body. See the above quote again!

  152. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

    I’d like to give Irishup a standing-O. Well said.

  153. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |

    Sorry – but leave my choices and my uterus alone – I have a right to decide how and if I want to procreate – And how I make the dessication to procreate is up to me and me alone. I will not have a child to make anyone else feel better about themselves in conjunction to society.

    If you need my uterus to make your point then you are seriously doing it wrong.

    If you have a problem with getting an abortion for children with down syndrom — THEN DON’T!!!! You don’t have to like, agree, or even feel good about decisions women make for themselves or their families – It’s not your decision, never was, never will be. You have no idea what thought or reasoning went into HER choice and you should never have – It’s a private and personal choice.

    I am sick and tired with people saying – we need to have this discussion — No we don’t – because it’s none of our business. If you want to discus it in terms of what you would do in that situation then do so, just don’t include what I should do, or assume that I will agree with what you will do.

    Men — HAVE NO RIGHT — in the decision – NONE what so ever, unless a women includes a man in her decision making process.

  154. Esti
    Esti February 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

    I find this conversation so upsetting, because this is obviously a really emotional topic all-around and (most) people seem to be putting forward their own views in good faith, but everyone still ends up yelling FUCK YOU in all caps. And it just doesn’t seem necessary — I think there’s a lot of common ground on this issue, and very little actual disagreement.

    To be clear: obviously what Santorum is saying is unconscionable, as I think most people here would agree. And I am fully pro-choice, and I would never tell an individual woman she should not have chosen abortion, regardless of the reason that she did.

    But that doesn’t mean we just say “well, she chose her choice, so NO CONSIDERATION OF THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES IS PERMITTED.” Wanting to affirm the increasingly-threatened sanctity of the right to choose doesn’t mean that we can’t look at aggregate effects of disability- or gender-linked abortion, and think that those effects are regrettable. I absolutely think it’s sad and regrettable that there are places in which parents are aborting female fetuses because they don’t want daughters. I would absolutely like to see that not happen. That doesn’t mean I think that any individual woman “should have” chosen differently, or that I would try to prevent her from choosing abortion for any reason she could dream up. But as some other people on this thread have suggested, it does mean that we might want to look into why people don’t want to have daughters, or have children with disabilities, and see whether there are educational resources or pre- and post-natal support that might reduce the number of people who feel that way.

    It doesn’t have to be about reducing choices for women. It can be about increasing them.

  155. Iris Tyto Alba
    Iris Tyto Alba February 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    Please read this post, amniocentesis is NOT just used for genetic testing, it has several other life-saving uses:

    http://lilacturtl.tumblr.com/post/18026900992/santorum-on-amniocentesis

    So while the debate about abortion and disability is difficult and important, it really is an aside, here–if amnio is not covered, women and their babies will be denied life-saving treatment because the cost will be prohibitive.

  156. AM
    AM February 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    Irishup, good thing you’ve partially done your research, but amniocentesis is no longer the only way to prenatally screen for Down Syndrome. Simple blood tests are hitting the market and will cover a much larger percentage of pregnancies, and if the trend grows and the 92% stat holds true, it will likely lead to a decline in the population of people with Down Syndrome.

    Sarah has the most defensible position here: don’t violate the rights of women and also don’t ignore the impact that these realities have on the PWD community. Nobody has ever suggested “shaming” women. That has been invented on this thread many times over. All people like Sarah and I are asking for is education on the subject and an acknowledgement that there’s a problem here that we can and ought to address.

    Why is this so controversial for you? Why does someone like leftwideright feel it’s necessary to cast vulgar insults towards people with this viewpoint? To me, it makes many people here appear very intellectually one dimensional, and in some instances, very mean-spirited.

  157. blondie
    blondie February 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

    Sticking our noses into women’s reasons for aborting is intruding into their personal autonomy. If women have a right to hold their own body sacred from intrusion by another, they also have the right to decide who they allow to intrude, when, and why. If you want to deny women the right of bodily integrity and personal autonomy which is enjoyed by all men, just say so. It’s really that simple.

  158. matlun
    matlun February 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

    I think high rates of abortion after positive prenatal tests for certain conditions are indicative of widespread ableism and institutional problems.

    But surely this depends on the details of which “certain conditions” we are talking about and is not a general point?

    Or do you think that many people going for abortion after testing positive for Tay-Sachs disease is a sign of ableism? What about cystic fibrosis?
    (What is the problem with “eliminationism” when we are talking about eliminating serious diseases? I do not see this as more problematic than eliminating smallpox).

  159. Mello
    Mello February 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

    AM, no on here is suggesting there shouldn’t be more research and support concerning PWD. No one thinks already-born PWD don’t deserve all the support we as a society can muster for them. No one–that’s a complete red herring and has shite-all to do with issue at hand.

    The fact is, whenever anyone says “I’m uncomfortable with a woman getting an abortion for thus-and-so reason,” they’re dipping their toe into “pro-life” waters. Pure and simple. Having a discussion about ableism is great and should be done more often. But not if it leads remotely near any sort of stance that suggests a woman shouldn’t be allowed to do as she pleases with her own body.

    Someone upthread mentioned that aborting a Down Syndrome child was not like aborting a child who didn’t have blue eyes. Well, guess what? If there comes a day when we can test for it, I support a woman’s right to abort a non-blue-eyed fetus if she chooses. Yes, I would consider it a dumb reason–which doesn’t matter in the slightest as it wouldn’t be my body under consideration.

  160. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |

    we might want to look into why people don’t want to have daughters, or have children with disabilities, and see whether there are educational resources or pre- and post-natal support that might reduce the number of people who feel that way.

    I think those are important efforts to support, but given that the conversation was opened with anonymous claiming that 90% of women think that the world is better off without people with Down’s Syndrome and was continued by Sarah refusing to address the significant health problems associated with it and the other conditions amnio screens for as well as wistfully noting that we can’t “prevent” women from using screenings that already exist but we shouldn’t fund the development of future ones, as well as K saying that deciding to abort was “shitty,” the thrust of that conversation was all about blaming and shaming pregnant women for wanting information and then making decisions based on it.

    Where I live, in some areas you can’t know in advance the sex of your foetus. You can still get an abortion for any reason, but to be sure that it’s not because it’s a female foetus, you can’t know if it’s female or not. I think this is right, as it doesn’t impact a women’s ability to choose abortion, but it stops the elimination of certain groups.

    This came from farther up and I think was in mod, so I didn’t see it until now and I want to address it. Not being allowed to know the sex of your fetus absolutely impacts a woman’s ability to choose abortion. You’re withholding information from her that she could use to make her decision. That’s like saying that not allowing teenagers to know about their HIV status doesn’t affect their ability to choose safe sex. Of course it does. It just does it in a slighly roundabout way.

  161. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    I find it really interesting that many pro-choice feminists view people with disabilities as somewhat less human than themselves. One group upholds their claim to rights by riding rough shot over the rights of a minority group and shows complete disregard to the effects of antenatal screening on minorities, simply based on their differance. Maybe replace the word “disabled” with “female” in a few of the rants as an exercise in equality.

  162. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm |

    I find it really interesting that many pro-choice feminists view people with disabilities as somewhat less human than themselves. One group upholds their claim to rights by riding rough shot over the rights of a minority group and shows complete disregard to the effects of antenatal screening on minorities, simply based on their differance. Maybe replace the word “disabled” with “female” in a few of the rants as an exercise in equality.

    I find it really interesting that you read women’s decisions to abort as comment on whether or not born people are less human. You uphold one group’s claim to humanity by riding roughshod over women’s bodily autonomy and show complete disregard to the effects of withholding screening and shaming women on those women, simply based on their ability to act as human life support systems. Maybe replace the word–oh, that’s right. You don’t use the word “woman” in your rants, because you don’t seem to think the pregnant woman’s needs, desires, experiences, and values are important enough to merit your attention.

    How about this, then. You explain how deciding to abort is riding roughshod over the rights of any group. No group has a right to my uterus.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

      LOL. Classic. I will leave it to you to discredit your own cause, you don’t need any help from me. I just find it really interesting that your uterus is more important than anything else in the world.

  163. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm |

    Mike Sullivan

    Where did you get that from? No one on this thread is saying that having disabilities makes you less human. What people are saying that a women has a right to decide how and when she wants to procreate. It’s her body — her choice.

    Jill

    So every women who decides to abort should reveal why she is aborting to a public authority so people can examine her decision making capabilities? This is like saying, sure go ahead have an abortion after you stick this up your vagina, and btw, we require you to reveal your personal decision whether you like it or not so we can tell you if it’s okay to do it.

    No, and HELL NO, you don’t have a right to know why I make a medical decision. Period. It’s just like you don’t have the right why I decided to have a hip replacement, kidney removal, heart transplant, etc..

    When you signal abortion out for reason to be studied and make it a requirement you make that same information plunder for the very people who want to end a women’s right to her own body.

  164. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    And NO you don’t have a right to know why I am having an abortion or not having one.

    And NO, my reasons are not up for debate, nor reason discussion by you or anyone else UNLESS I let it be.

    Sorry, but HELL NO.

  165. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

    Referring to people as diseases and saying they suffer from their conditions is saying that they are less human, just as if I said being a male or female was a disease, or that a male/female suffers from being male/female. Happy to accpet that the majority here have no understanding from the perspective of the disability sector. It is just interesting that so many are indifferant to a minority group, but then that’s not new.

  166. matlun
    matlun February 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

    I think it’s a very complicated, and very important, conversation to have if we actually want women to have a full range of rights and choices.

    I agree with this even though I think we have different perspectives.

    I think it is simply unavoidable that as medical science progresses and some conditions becomes avoidable or treatable, the corresponding PWD communities will shrink or even disappear. Perhaps this will also happen for Down’s syndrom if the above abortion rate predictions hold.

  167. Esti
    Esti February 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |

    WitchWolf, we study all kinds of medical decisions that people make. I would never support mandatory disclosure of the reasons one is seeking an abortion (and I highly doubt Jill would), and I recognize there is potential for surveys to be used to intimidate or shame women, but that doesn’t mean that no research can be done in ethical and helpful ways. If, for example, PP wanted to collect that kind of information — and again, only if women chose to disclose it — I can’t see a reason why that would be a problem.

  168. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

    One group upholds their claim to rights by riding rough shot over the rights of a minority group and shows complete disregard to the effects of antenatal screening on minorities, simply based on their differance.

    I really do not understand how my choosing not to purposely give birth to a baby person with a disability rides rough shod over the rights of people with disabilities. Which rights of people with disabilities does this affect? The only right I can think of is the right to be born regardless of the mother’s wishes, and there is no such right.

    And no, my uterus is not the most important thing in the world. But what it is, is my uterus. What was somebody saying up thread? Oh yes:

    Women are not communal vessels who provide babies for the greater good.

  169. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

    I just find it really interesting that your uterus is more important than anything else in the world.

    Well, when you can create babies in your body and push them out of your genitals, you can feel free to prioritize anything you like ahead of your decision whether or not to do so. But given that bodily autonomy is what, number 3 on the universal declaration of human rights, you’re going to have to do some serious arguing to convince me that something else should be so important as to take the fate of my uterus out of my hands, or that I should prioritize somebody else’s desire or values..

    Referring to people as diseases and saying they suffer from their conditions is saying that they are less human

    Perhaps you could note where I referred to people as diseases? As for your second allegation, it is so stupid I can barely believe it. Of course people suffer from their conditions–it happens all the time. I am depressive; I suffer from that condition. I am asthmatic; I suffer from that condition as well. What on earth about those facts makes me less human? Human beings suffer. It’s one of the things that can happen. And yes, heart defects and leukemia entail suffering.

  170. Emolee
    Emolee February 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

    I just find it really interesting that your uterus is more important than anything else in the world.

    Your house isn’t the most important thing in the world, either- but you should still have the right to decide who can use it and for what purpose.

    Not a perfect analogy, of course, but I get so frustrated that when it comes to abortion, very basic ideas like autonomy and ownership fly right out the window. Our bodies are ours- and while we may choose to share them- and even sacrifice them- for others, the law should not force us to.

  171. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

    Esti

    Again, just because it might be of interest to science doesn’t mean that they have a right to it. It’s an extremely personal choice done so for many reasons.

    Jill stated

    So I disagree that looking at women’s reasons for abortion is a violation of personal autonomy, or that it’s reflective of a desire to deny women their rights to bodily integrity. I disagree that it’s simple. I think it’s a very complicated, and very important, conversation to have if we actually want women to have a full range of rights and choices.

    This tells me that she would have no qualm about requiring women to disclose why they are seeking abortion, because she didn’t believe that it violated “personal autonomy.” – I think it does, and it’s a dangerous and disingenuous path to qualify a medical procedure.

    I have no problem with women disclosing because they want to, but I have many issues with them disclosing because they are forced to and see it the same way as I see the VA law about forced vaginal ultra sounds. A women has made a deeply personal and private decission to have a medical procedure done – no one has a right to know the reasons,

    Every medical procedure that I have had done, I had the opition of doing a survey – and have done some, that I believe that would help others, but questions I find intrusive, I do not answer. I should have the right to determine.

    I went for medical treatment and was told that because they get funding, even though I self-paid full price, that I had to release information – I declined to participate and found another office that kept my records confidential.

    Sorry, but no one has a right to my medical records, unless I give them permission to do so, this is the law.

  172. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

    LOL. Classic. I will leave it to you to discredit your own cause, you don’t need any help from me. I just find it really interesting that your uterus is more important than anything else in the world.

    Yes, my uterus and what happens to it, is, for me the most important thing in the world. Because what is in it, can kill me, what I put in it can kill me. What happens in it can kill me — Simply having my uterus can stop me from doing things —

    So yes, it’s important — I have every right to regulate it.

  173. A few more links « Fraser Sherman's Blog

    […] significance of consent seems to elude her). Another shot at McArdle here. •Prenatal screening, according to Rick Santorum, is just as bad as abortion, pretty much. •Rich Lowry at National Review defends […]

  174. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

    So now this thread has gotten to the point of attracting a guy whose rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of any forced birther, except in purporting to be based in disability advocacy? A guy who just can’t seem to grasp that fetuses aren’t people, and thinks some things are just so much more important than women having control over their bodies? Wonderful. Not that I’m a bit surprised, given the slippery slope leading to that sort of attitude, something I first mentioned back in comment no. 12.

    You know, I have a disability too, an incurable chronic illness that probably has some sort of genetic origin, has not had an effect on my life that I consider to be positive in any sense of that word, and, I have little doubt, will be the death of me one of these days — rather suddenly, I expect, just like with all the times in the past that things have come very close to that outcome. (Obviously, I’m not talking about having a trans history.)

    If there were a pre-natal test available for that illness, and people with a family history of it started taking the test, and some unknown percentage of pregnant women who got back a positive result decided to terminate their pregnancies to spare their future child the misery that having that illness can and usually does cause throughout a lifetime — or for any other reason, including the burden of parenting someone who manifests the illness in childhood — it would be none of my goddamn business, and it would have no effect whatsoever on my life or the life of anybody else with that illness. No more than it would for someone with a family history of the illness to choose not to have biological children at all, for the identical reason or reasons.

    Although, I guess, the next frontier will be for some people to say that a woman who chooses not to get pregnant in the first place because she risks having a disabled child is being selfish and ableist because she’s not fulfilling her societal duties. I see very little — and perhaps no — theoretical difference between that argument, and the positions some have taken on this thread.

    And if that constitutes “filthy language” that makes people ashamed to be feminists, too bad.

  175. Azalea
    Azalea February 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |

    171
    Mike Sullivan 2.21.2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I find it really interesting that many pro-choice feminists view people with disabilities as somewhat less human than themselves. One group upholds their claim to rights by riding rough shot over the rights of a minority group and shows complete disregard to the effects of antenatal screening on minorities, simply based on their differance. Maybe replace the word “disabled” with “female” in a few of the rants as an exercise in equality.

    Mike I realize I commented much earlier and you may not have read every sngle comment here but yeah, I could care less if a woman aborted a FETUS because it was assigned female on an unltrasound or otherwise. Why dont I care? Because a fetus, female, disabled, or otherwise, is NOT a person. That’s just all there is to it.

  176. H
    H February 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

    Mr. Sullivan’s profile links to a site called savingdowns.com. This site essentially reduces people with down syndrome to the status of a pet. People like this do not actually value human life as they are perfectly willing to gamble with someone else’s life. It is a morally bankrupt individual that espouses such a world view. You see some people with DS may live “full” lives, but others may very well not do so. Yet we should impose a lower IQ, a shorter life span on average,an increased incidence of various cancers, near uniform sterility among males, and an exceptionally difficult child bearing process for the women who can give birth statistically, because we love them?

    Not everyone gets the rosy picture painted by people like Sullivan yet we should gamble with lives that are not our own and subject children to a stacked deck which is full of possible negative outcomes greater than those which “normal” children face? Such thoughts are some of the most wicked that we can come up with.

    I’m going to touch on one other thing here, the idea that the opinions of the parents of those with disabilities actually matter here, especially with respect to quality of life. Guess what parents, you are not the one holding the bag here, how much you love your child does not matter here one bit. The only people able to speak to their quality of life is the person with the condition, no one else. The only time you really get to have a decision or an opinion in the matter is before there is a mind separate from yours involved.

    As for the people with disabilities their opinion on their quality of life is theirs alone and they really cannot speak to the decisions or opinions of others. People like Santorum and Sullivan need to stop acting like they should impose their world view on other people who can make a choice whatever that may be, and the potential people who never asked to be born in the first place.

    While this is about uteri, this really isn’t about uteri at the end of the day. This is about whether people should have the ability to give their children the best possible shot at good health, and a long life.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

      Oh the irony, spoken like a true eugenicist. Keep on digging.

  177. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

    Ann, #148:

    Once 90% of a particular disease is aborted, what is the likelihood of taxpayers wanting to give money to those who did not abort? It just doesn’t seem that once people got rid of their expensive problem, they will be all that willing to fund the 10% who did not.

    I think this is a totally unsubstantiated assertion. Taxpayer funding is the result of public relations and advocacy campaigns, not of total burden of disease. In fact, how much money is spent on various disorders (in research or support) has just about nothing to do with the numbers of people suffering from it. Just consider the difference in NIH funding for breast cancer ($715 million last year), compared to lung cancer ($221 million last year), even though lung cancer kills about 4x more people than breast cancer annually (39,520 vs. 156,940 in 2011).

    Moreover, it reminds me very much of the argument that we should reinstate the draft so that once enough people start dying they will suddenly care and address the problem of people being killed in war. Which is to say, it commits a lot of people to certain suffering (without consent!) for the uncertain goal of mobilizing opinion for change. If you want to see more funding for PWD, then advocate for it! Tell endearing stories, champion the human rights of born persons, discuss the social and personal value of supporting persons reaching their full potential, advocate the ethical imperative that families need resources to make choices unconstrained and to act according to their familial values. But don’t insist that other people have to create more children to pad your numbers which creates more net suffering for a very roundabout attempt to reduce suffering.

    This method is also highly, highly vulnerable–numbers of PWD haven’t suddenly dropped, and yet state and local governments are slashing services right and left. External factors and political ideology have a great deal more to do with disability funding than the actual number of persons with a condition.

    Also, if the overall burden of disease is lower, for a given amount society is willing to spend on disability treatment and support (which, as above, I postulate is hardly correspondent to actual burden of disease) will mean greater per capita resources available.

  178. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    And also, Ann #148:

    A side note – some of you also have mentioned wanting a child you can relate to intellectually – then you talk so trashy. The filthy language you use indicates someone who can’t relate to anyone intellectually. You are an embarrassment to feminism.

    What the fucking everloving fuck? Are you seriously such a bloody goddamned tone troll that you can’t fucking appreciate a discussion unless we fucking type it out in white motherfucking kid gloves?? Is your douchebaggery so severe that you will fapping imagine yourself superior just because your head is too far up your putrid ass to manage to pronounce a few fucking four-letter words? Are you seriously such a pompous asshole that you think we aren’t fucking aware that we’re swearing? It’s for FUCKING EMPHASIS, motherfucker!!!! Is your god-forsaken cranium so constricted that you lose all bloody ability to parse a fucking sentence with a goddamned PG-13 word in it?

    If you had any fucking appreciation for the possibilities of communication, you would damn well understand that profanity has a shittastic capacity for self-expression and holds a bloody important place in human speech. Learn to love some goddamned verisimilitude, for fuck’s sake! God’s testicles, can’t you even bloody appreciate the damn need to accurately convey or enhance the shit out of some emotional content of written fucking communication? Have you just pissed away your bloody literary education jacking-off through bowdlerized bollocks that you don’t fucking admire the value of boundary-pushing profanity of James Joyce, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, all the way back to William Fucking Shakespeare! George Carlin would weep for you.

    “The sign of a Philistine age is the cry of immorality against art.” –Oscar Wilde

    “If I cannot swear in heaven I shall not stay there.” –Mark Twain

    http://ourdailybeard.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/in-praise-of-profanity/

    http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/athena/activity/h/humor/Really.crude/fuck.grammar

    Are you just too pissy and narrow-minded to consider the value of the juxtaposition of asswiping academic concepts with the raw bleeding expression of how they resonate with people’s fucking lives? What’s the fucking point of finding your damn voice if you can’t swear the shit out of it?! Jesus Christ on a dildo, didn’t you fucking bother to consider the damn role a shit ton of turdbombs might play in ass-kicking certain fucking shitty views outside the fucking realm of the damn debate? Maybe, wankstain, if you weren’t clutching your jizzed pearls over the appearance of some shit-talk you might have fucking noticed its use in some damn social condemnation of a dishonest fuckwit or a self-entitled arse?

    I hope I’ve made myself clear, but if not I leave you with Tim Minchin on the opinions of those who object to swearing and ignore cogent points:

    And if you look into your motherfucking heart and tell me true
    If this motherfucking stupid fucking song offended you,
    With its filthy fucking language and its fucking disrespect,
    If it made you feel angry, go ahead and write a letter,
    But if you find me more offensive than the fucking possibility
    The pope protected priests when they were getting fucking fiddly
    Then listen to me motherfucker – this here is a fact,
    You are just as morally misguided as that motherfucking,
    Power-hungry, self-aggrandized bigot in the stupid fucking hat.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

      Excellent post. I don’t really need to say anything, you are quite capable of discrediting your own position. One of the best posts yet.

  179. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm |

    Not everyone gets the rosy picture painted by people like Sullivan yet we should gamble with lives that are not our own and subject children to a stacked deck which is full of possible negative outcomes greater than those which “normal” children face? Such thoughts are some of the most wicked that we can come up with.

    Please dial back your rhetoric. If a woman chooses to give birth to a child with Down’s, she is not “subjecting children to a stacked deck.” This rhetoric is disrespectful of the currently alive people with Down’s Syndrome who do not view their lives as some horrible ordeal and are happy they are alive and accept their Down’s as part of who they are. It’s also disrespectful of women who choose to give birth to a child with Down’s, and it doesn’t seem like a very pro-choice thing to say.

    I completely reject Mr. Sullivan’s forced birther perspective and his misognynistic comments and women and their uteri. I support the right of all women to have completely control over their own bodies at all times and get an abortion for any reason. But in our zeal to rightly condemn those who would shame women for wanting an abortion, can we not implicitly shame those who would choose not to get an abortion? Can we not denigrate living people with Down’s Syndrome. For example you said:

    You see some people with DS may live “full” lives

    This is extremely disrespectful. Many people with Down’s Syndrome do live full lives, and no scare quotes are necessary to bracket the word full.

  180. blondie
    blondie February 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

    Sorry to disagree with you Jill, but I must believe that women have a simple right to bodily integrity and personal autonomy. Until that right is recognized and not in peril, I would be concerned that legitimate efforts to understand what societal, personal, financial or other concerns lead a woman to seek an abortion would be used as ammo against women holding that right, the selfsame right that men will never have to defend. So, to me it is simple.

  181. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

    Mike, I looked briefly at your blog. I think it’s disingenous for you to act like you are merely speaking out on behalf of a disadvantaged minority when you use such rhetoric as “unborn children” on your website. You should realize that most feminists do not believe that fetuses and children are the same thing. We do not believe life begins at conception. I know there’s been some rhetoric on this thread that has been bordering on bigoted toward people with Down’s. But most of us maintain that a woman has a right to control her pregnancy no matter what. So we’re fine with women aborting a Down’s Syndrome fetus or carrying it to term, but this is no different than our stance that we are fine with a woman aborting any fetus or carrying it to term. So we are not discrimating against people with Down’s (and fetuses are not people, anyway).

    I don’t believe that a clump of cells lacking any form of subjective awareness is a person or has a right to life. And even if (maybe) fetuses in the third trimester or something have some extremely limited form of subjective awareness, that does not give them a right to exist in a parasitic relationship to a woman’s body, and it does not give you a right to force a woman to continue to endure this parasitic relationship against her will. We do not force people to donate blood in order to keep others alive who might need a blood transfusion. If you or I are not legally obligated to donate blood to save the life of a thinking, feeling, breathing person–then why should a woman be forced to provide blood and dozens of others vital bodily functions to keep alive an entity that has attached itself to her body and as likely as not doesn’t have any thoughts or feelings to begin with?

    And in case it wasn’t clear to you, I’m not talking about Down’s fetuses, I’m talking about all fetuses. No fetus is a person; no fetus has a right to life.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 21, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

      Except LotusBen for the fact that we are talking about discrimination. When it comes to antenatal screening, it is disabilities that are targeted for abortion, nothing else. If you are pro-choice and oppose discrimination, then give us a level playing field – screen for everything (hieght, intelligence, autism, eye clour, left handedness, ethnicity, race, red hair, anything you like), don’t just target our community. Then you can have your choice of the type of child you want if it is that important to you. Then when we have resolved discrimination and we can discuss eugenics. I am not interested in debating the ethics of abortions, I am interested in our community being treated on an equal basis with others. It would seem from the posts here that the majority of pro-choicers are quite content with discriminating against the disability community, or at best indifferent to drastically reducing their numbers.

  182. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm |

    Mr. Forced Birther actually thinks he’s being clever and superior. He probably has a Rick Santorum poster on his wall.

    If Santorum weren’t so loathsome, I would really want him to get the nomination so that he could go down in flames to an inglorious, humiliating, Goldwater-like defeat.

  183. Kathel
    Kathel February 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

    LeftSidePositive @191 – That rant needs to be bronzed and mounted as a tribute to the English language. Bravo!

  184. Chataya
    Chataya February 22, 2012 at 12:09 am |

    I am not interested in debating the ethics of abortions, I am interested in our community being treated on an equal basis with others. It would seem from the posts here that the majority of pro-choicers are quite content with discriminating against the disability community, or at best indifferent to drastically reducing their numbers.

    Fetuses are not a part of your community.

    Fetuses are not a part of any community.

    Fetuses do not have a right to be born, no matter their ability, race, or gender.

    People who can give birth are in no way obligated to you or anyone else to produce more people for their community.

    You cannot “drastically reduce the numbers [of a community]” by aborting a fetus that is not a part of any community.

    My uterus and everyone else’s uteri do not owe you a damn thing.

  185. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 22, 2012 at 12:14 am |

    Also, the parent of someone with a disability is not actually a part of the community of people who HAVE that disability. The autistic community is having a huge problem with groups of parents and family members speaking for auties as if they were auties. They aren’t. You aren’t.

  186. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 12:14 am |

    @LotusBen

    One thing I’d point out to you LeftSide is that having Down’s Syndrome is an important part of the identity of a lot of people.

    I think this is basically circular reasoning. The human brain generates a self-construction and naturally values what it is, because that’s what human brains do (and indeed they should!). To say that because someone is able to find joy in a situation, or that they like themselves how they are is a valid compliment to pay to the power of human psychology, but it is not an argument that the situation itself is a blessing, since human fortitude can overcome a great deal. This does not mean it is ethical to subject a future person who cannot consent to a condition just because some other brain has been able to cope with it. And it CERTAINLY is not an argument that the disorder must be preserved in the population, or that the condition that some people are able to value in themselves must itself be considered a positive good in the abstract.

    And again, if the identity of a neurological disorder is something you want to preserve, I haven’t noticed you lamenting the decline in the incidence of neurosyphilis, or dissuading people from taking preventive measures for PKU. I’ve asked you about them already, and you haven’t answered. Why aren’t these disorders considered “identities” that apparently need to be protected? Why isn’t treating/curing these considered an ethical dilemma?

    A big part of Down’s is the intellectual disability aspect of it. And I really do believe that the intellectual disability aspect of it would not cause that much suffering if it were not for social prejudice and oppression. This aspect of the disability being a “problem” is chiefly socially constructed.

    I’m sorry, but I simply refuse to accept the notion that intellectual disability is just socially constructed. This is not to say that belittling, othering, withholding of resources, etc., do not cause a great deal of emotional pain for actually-existing persons (I can’t BELIEVE I have to keep making that clear!), so this should be addressed urgently. HOWEVER, let’s not pretend that it’s just social prejudice that prevents a person with an IQ of 45 (median for Down Syndrome) from living independently. Let’s not pretend that all the social support in the world can ever replace the simple comfort of doing for yourself.

    The fact that persons with moderate mental retardation are not about to turn into teachers, doctors, and physicists is not socially constructed. And for parents who want their future children to have unrestricted opportunities to live independently in their world and to choose which achievements to pursue, I think it’s actually pretty denialist to act like it’s only society’s ableism that makes developmental disability a limitation, and it’s also pompous and condescending to act like a parent is wrong to care about the capabilities of a future child when deciding whether or not to have one. Not being able to understand one’s world to a significant degree can be frustrating and frightening, no matter how patient, well-educated, and skilled caregivers are.

    I also don’t think you understand what suffering means in this context–no one is saying that one must be in acute existential torment or wanting to end one’s own life for limitations to cause “suffering.” If a group of people have the ability to make their own sandwiches, and another group does not, from a public health perspective there is suffering of sandwich-specific apraxia in the second group, even if that group is emotionally able to cope. It’s also not “ableist” to accurately point out that group B cannot make their own sandwiches (it would be ableist to withhold sandwich ingredients from them, which they may enjoy in other ways, or to imply their limitations in sandwich-making reflect badly on them as people).

    Reading and discussing George Orwell is very, very important TO ME, and I would feel MY world would be greatly impoverished without it (I’d even go so far as to say my attachment to Orwell is part of my “identity”), and it’s not “ableist” of me to think this is an important opportunity that I want to do my best to give any child I might have. This is NOT to say that I consider myself better AS A PERSON than someone who can’t analyze literature (that actually would be ableist), or that such an already-existing person doesn’t have the psychological skills to find meaning and joy in zir world (also ableist). But, when we’re talking about potential people to whom I have the fiduciary obligation of deciding whether or not to conceive or birth them, it is not wrong of me to consider what limitations I would not want to have on my life and not give to another a life I would not choose for myself.

    You’ve seemed insistent in this thread on viewing Down’s in exclusively medical terms,

    We’re talking about fetuses, you understand? Fetuses don’t have personalities, they don’t have internal experiences of their Down Syndrome, and they won’t necessarily have the same positive experience as some other person. With a fetus, all you’ll have is the probabilities of various medical complications and the burdens therefrom. You can’t construct your desired mental landscape for a fetus because it doesn’t have one yet, and you can’t know what it’s subjective experience will be.

    We are also talking about the representation of Down Syndrome itself in future generations, and if limiting its incidence is “eliminationist.” This doesn’t have people attached to it–this is about commenters here acting like there won’t be “enough” Down Syndrome in the future, and I am asking, should the medical effects, including cognitive ones, of Down Syndrome itself (divorced from the experience of those who have it, since we’re talking about imposing these medical effects on FUTURE people) be an imperative to perpetuate?

    exclusively as this debilitating medical condition that causes nothing but suffering.

    I never at any time said anything even remotely like that, and for that I’m going to add another fuck you for trying to seem so fucking enlightened. Stop it. You’re not the first person to notice that people with disabilities enjoy their lives. That’s not even an original observation. We’re talking about perpetuating a medical condition onto new generations, and if the suffering is sufficient to give an ethical person pause before imposing it on a non-consenting person (whether a different ethical person may decide that this potential life is one that should be lived is entirely irrelevant). We’re talking about the weighing of potential risks, not that they are definite and constitute “nothing but suffering.” We’re talking about the extent to which this suffering is real, unavoidable, and not socially constructed.

  187. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 12:15 am |

    I am interested in our community being treated on an equal basis with others.

    Then you have no problems. Nobody’s community has a right to use my uterus or any of my biological systems against my will. Your community is not being discriminated against. It is being treated equally.

  188. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 22, 2012 at 12:17 am |

    197
    Jill 2.21.2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink *

    To clarify: I absolutely oppose any effort to require women to disclose reasons they terminate pregnancies. I absolutely support efforts to study the reasons why women terminate pregnancies, because I think those kinds of studies are crucial to forward women’s rights.

    Changing your opinion now?

    You said you had no problem with gathering of the information because it didn’t interfere with personal autonomy, now you are saying you don’t want to require them, please describe what the difference is?

    I have no problem with studies as long as the studies don’t infringe on the rights of the women’s privacy and without her permission, to me it’s a violation of her choice if information is gathered without her knowledge.

    Yes, I would like to know how many women choose to abort for sex, genetics, etc. but I think those same studies could be used to harm women, to take away their rights. Instead of concentrating on the end result we should be moving in the direction of education and be supportive of a women who chooses for what ever reason.

    As I said, I don’t care why a women has an abortion, it’s her body, her choice.

    Am I interested in coerced forced pregnancy and abortion? Oh hell yeah, because in either of those cases a women looses her voice her right to choose. But I see those two issues as very separate from why a women chooses to carry or have an abortion.

    Why is it important to do research on abortion? Why not find out reasons why women carry their pregnancy to term. (which again, I really don’t want to see, it’s none of my business.)

  189. AM
    AM February 22, 2012 at 12:17 am |

    @Mike Sullivan, you make a good point.

    What everybody is missing is the irrational manner in which this is presented to pregnant women. We only screen for a small set of characteristics and then present them as “if it’s positive, it has all these risks”. People here keep quoting the 50% risk of heart and thyroid issues and use that to justify the 92% rejection rate. I dont blame them, but you break it down, it is really dishonest on the part of the medical industry. There’s no context provided such as the risk of heart problems if you dont have Down Syndrome, and we’re not testing for all the conditions that would lead to risks. For all we know, if we tested for everything under the sun, you might never have a screening that results in less than 50% chance of issues as serious as the heart and thyroid conditions that people with Down Syndrome might face. We are cherry picking conditions and falsely presenting the meaning of the tests to these potential mothers.

  190. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 22, 2012 at 12:22 am |

    hieght, intelligence, autism, eye clour, left handedness, ethnicity, race, red hair, anything you like)

    Since we can’t actually test for things like height or intelligence, both of which are influenced by environment as well as genetics, I think this argument is lacking. Also, I would like to point out that things like race and ethnicity don’t really need tests, they’re kinda obvious.

  191. AM
    AM February 22, 2012 at 12:28 am |

    @leftsideright, you didn’t seem to mind when someone got banned from this very thread for using foul language against you. You keep exposing yourself as a self-absorbed extremist. If this weren’t such a sensitive topic, I wouldn’t bother saying anything. But this matters to people and you’re being so disrespectful. Grow up.

    1. LeftSidePositive
      LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 12:47 am |

      @leftsideright, you didn’t seem to mind when someone got banned from this very thread for using foul language against you. You keep exposing yourself as a self-absorbed extremist. If this weren’t such a sensitive topic, I wouldn’t bother saying anything. But this matters to people and you’re being so disrespectful. Grow up.

      Um, I don’t think the profanity was the issue with anonymous, but rather the seriously flawed thinking, blatant shaming, misrepresenting others arguments, trolling behavior, etc. If you’ve been around here very long, I think you’d notice “fuck” is not exactly unknown around here.

      If you had any fucking understanding of nuance, you’d understand that anonymous got called out by Jill (not by me–I never said anything about it, so I don’t know where you’re getting this idea that I was trying to ban anyone for saying anything “against me”???), not for “foul language” (ha!!) but for using a gender-based slur.

      I’ll also have you know that I took a great deal of care to make sure that my language was only filthy, and did not contain any gender-, race-, or orientation-based slurs. So fuck you.

      And, by the way, my screen name is LeftSidePositive–not leftsideright or leftwideright…seriously, what’s up with that?

  192. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:30 am |

    Quote Mike @ 202:

    Except LotusBen for the fact that we are talking about discrimination.

    First of all, you can’t discriminate against a fetus. Because they are not people. I’m not sure how to make that more clear.

    It would seem from the posts here that the majority of pro-choicers are quite content with discriminating against the disability community, or at best indifferent to drastically reducing their numbers.

    Again, nobody wants to discriminate against the disability community (a word choice I question, frankly–it seems inappropriate to lump autism and cerebral palsy and Down and Tay-Sachs and Prader-Willi and spina bifida all into one “community”, when they all present such different challenges and require such different services).

    I’m not indifferent to reducing the number of people who have disabilities. I actively support it. Once those people exist, I want to offer them every possible support. But I am actively in favor of preventing the occurrence of people with disabilities, whether physical or neurological. I think it would be great if no one with the sorts of things I mentioned above were ever born again. I realize there are people who have those syndromes and are happy. But there are far more who aren’t. How many people with Down (good job, by the way, to the people who managed to turn the whole discussion into “you want to kill our children with Down”–and it is children; I notice your website has pictures of CHILDREN, cute little children, because who could be mean about children) will ever be able to live completely independently?

    Yes, Mr. Sullivan, I want to drastically reduce the number of children born with Down Syndrome. I make no apologies for that.

    If a woman could take a pill before pregnancy that would drastically reduce her chances of her fetus having Down, would you have a problem with that?

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 12:41 am |

      Excellent, so we have established that your pro-choice view is underpinned by eugenics (prevent births of those deemed unworthy) and that to be worthy of living, one has to be able to live completely independently – doesn’t sound good if your unemployed or homeless. And you say you don’t want to discriminate – Oh the irony.

  193. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 12:39 am |

    And that, according the research I last read, which, granted, was conducted a few years back, there are no genetic markers distinguishing one race from another, because race is a social construction.

    When it comes to antenatal screening, it is disabilities that are targeted for abortion, nothing else.

    Wait, weren’t you one of the people rabbiting on about sex-selective abortions? And yet none of us oppose letting pregnant women know the sex of their potential infants, do we?

    Again, you are assuming a world in which pregnant women hit the second trimester and decide to abort because of eye color or athletic ability or some such nonsense. That doesn’t happen. The real world is not Gattaca. Women with wanted pregnancies are not rabid abortion-crazed maniacs just waiting for an excuse to abort. There are no genetic tests for eye color because 99.99999% of potential parents do not give a shit. There is no demand. And that’s not because potential parents irrationally think eye color is OK but genetic defects are signs of evil worthlessness, even though the two categories are equivalent. It’s because eye color has no relationship whatsoever to any future medical problems, premature death, intellectual connection, or ability to care for oneself. It’s not a meaningful category when it comes to choosing whether or not to continue a pregnancy or when it comes to assessing what risks the resulting child will be running. Neither is height or ethnicity (and yeah, I’m pretty sure I already know at least half of any of my future children’s ethnicity) or any of the other things you note. There is no equivalency here. So stop trying to pretend there is.

  194. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    Jill 2.21.2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink *

    To clarify: I absolutely oppose any effort to require women to disclose reasons they terminate pregnancies. I absolutely support efforts to study the reasons why women terminate pregnancies, because I think those kinds of studies are crucial to forward women’s rights.

    Changing your opinion now?

    You said you had no problem with gathering of the information because it didn’t interfere with personal autonomy, now you are saying you don’t want to require them, please describe what the difference is?

    WitchWolf–I don’t want to speak for Jill, but I’m pretty sure the difference is the word REQUIRE.

  195. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 12:43 am |

    you didn’t seem to mind when someone got banned from this very thread for using foul language against you. You keep exposing yourself as a self-absorbed extremist. If this weren’t such a sensitive topic, I wouldn’t bother saying anything. But this matters to people and you’re being so disrespectful. Grow up.

    Could you link this? I find it somewhat hard to believe, given that I and others use foul language against each other all the time and yet live to comment another day. And of course LSP is being disrespectful. People who chastise others for swearing and claim that swearing means that you can’t relate to anybody on an intellectual level don’t deserve to be respected when it comes to that particular issue. Because they’re being so very stupid.

  196. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 22, 2012 at 12:44 am |

    Mike Sullivan — You talk like some one who believes that babies come from storks, delivered to the front door like some 1950s video. They do not. That nothing happens to women giving birth or carrying a fetus. There are risks to her – Just because a group of cells has potential to become a life, doesn’t mean it is. The group of cells doesn’t have a right to be forced on the women. Some women take that chance, but it’s her right, not mine or yours, but hers.

  197. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 12:45 am |

    Excellent, so we have established that your pro-choice view is underpinned by eugenics (prevent births of those deemed unworthy)…And you say you don’t want to discriminate – Oh the irony.

    Don’t be silly. Being pro-choice is underpinned by the idea that no fetus is inherently worthy of being born unless the pregnant woman deems it so. It is completely non-discriminatory.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 12:55 am |

      You said “I am actively in favor of preventing the occurrence of people with disabilities, whether physical or neurological.”

      That’s eugenics, why put up the pretence?

  198. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:45 am |

    Mike @213, hon, if you’re talking to me, please either quote or use the post number so I know if I should be spending time deciding between being offended or amused at how you’re twisting my words.

    And you didn’t answer my question. If a woman could take a pill to prevent or deeply decrease the likelihood of getting pregnant with a fetus with a disability, would that be okay with you? If not, I assume you’re launching a campaign to ban folic acid?

  199. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 22, 2012 at 12:48 am |

    Abby Spice

    Yes that would be a great word to start with but way above she said that she has no issue at collecting this information because she didn’t believe that it violate a women’s personal autonomy, and they are are necessary, in order to understand abortion. So yes, for me I need to know what the difference is in her mind and why it doesn’t violate a women’s personal autonomy?

  200. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:49 am |

    EG:

    Being pro-choice is underpinned by the idea that no fetus is inherently worthy of being born unless the pregnant woman deems it so.

    I need that short enough to put on a bumper sticker or t-shirt or something. That’s beautifully put. Might get my car keyed, though.

  201. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:55 am |

    WitchWolf @ 219–I don’t actually see how Jill is being unclear, but I won’t try to explain her position, as it isn’t, you know, mine. I mean, I may share it, but I’m not…anyway. It makes sense to me, and I hope it will to you.

  202. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:58 am |

    221
    Mike Sullivan 2.22.2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink
    You said “I am actively in favor of preventing the occurrence of people with disabilities, whether physical or neurological.”

    That’s eugenics, why put up the pretence?

    Ooooookay, if we can’t have a discussion without throwing around words like eugenics I’m pretty well done, thanks.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 1:47 am |

      Good exit Abby, you state a eugenic view point and then say your done because you don’t like your eugenic position being pointed out to you.

      As to your question, I have no issues with good nutrition to enhance pregnancy – that promotes and respects life. Killing unborn children because of their genetic differance is an entirley different matter and is eugenics. That does not promote or repect life or human diversity.

      There is not a single thing I would change about my daughter and I would happily adopt a child with Down syndrome. It is an enriching expereince.

      The debate has moved on, its not just about “unwanted pregananices” its now about selecting the type of child – eugenics. This has been a good discussion, it has clarified that many here do in fact support eugenics under the guise of choice. It will be the defining issue of our time.

  203. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:59 am |

    Especially since you still refuse to answer my very simple question.

  204. AM
    AM February 22, 2012 at 1:05 am |

    Sorry, I guess I wasn’t aware of the nuances of all these insults. Jill said anonymous was banned because she said “bitches”, which, yes, is a gender biased insult. I would never have guessed that that is farther over the line than “fuck you”, which is a threat based on a sexual act. Hard to understand where the lines are drawn here. Pardon me.

  205. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 1:12 am |

    Excellent, so we have established that your pro-choice view is underpinned by eugenics (prevent births of those deemed unworthy)

    You know what? I always thought eugenics was bad because it killed ACTUAL LIVING PEOPLE, lied to families who entrusted persons to medical care, sterilized people WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE OR BY FORCE, performed barbaric medical experiments on non-consenting persons, and took actual living children away from actual living parents. We don’t say, “Think of the brown eyes!!!” We say, “Think of the PEOPLE!”

    Eugenics was not a tragedy because schizophrenia, epilepsy, and blindness were attacked. It was a tragedy because Franz, Berthe, and Wilhelm were attacked.

    and that to be worthy of living

    You have to be alive to be worthy of living. Otherwise, I don’t really fucking care. Either:

    a) you don’t exist yet, so I don’t owe you anything,
    b) you don’t exist anymore, so since my zombie-making powers are a little rusty there’s not much I can do for you.

    “No, you know where the sanctity of life came from? We made it up. You know why? ‘Cuz we’re alive. Self-interest. Living people have a strong interest in promoting the idea that somehow life is sacred. You don’t see Abbott and Costello running around, talking about this shit, do you?” –George Carlin

    , one has to be able to live completely independently – doesn’t sound good if your unemployed or homeless.

    No, I’m pretty sure no one ever threatened those actual people who do not live independently. I’m pretty sure all that was said is that inability to live independently carries certain irreducible burdens and is a valid quality of life issue to consider for bringing new life into the world.

    I am, however, EXCEEDINGLY interested in how exactly a fetus could be considered “unemployed.” I mean, don’t child labor laws say “under age 16″? Technically, negative six months is less than sixteen years, so one could make the argument that one couldn’t employ a fetus even if one wanted to.

    And “homeless”?? I’m pretty sure a fetus has a home, called “some woman’s uterus.”

  206. H
    H February 22, 2012 at 1:42 am |

    LotusBen Why don’t you quote everything I said? You distinctly said that many people with downs syndrome lead “full” lives, notice how you did not say all of them lead “full” lives. What do you say about those who do not live what you define as a “full” life? (They are really the only people who can define just what a full life is. But let us ignore that for a moment.) This is what makes this entire debate so ridiculous, people never consider that the people who actually are left holding the bag are not all happy about that fact. Why don’t you think about how disrespectful it is to increase the overall likelihood that someone who isn’t actually you would come to experience what they would call misery themselves? It’s not you or I who loses if our child ends up hating their lives because they are sick all the time or suffer some other malady or live in a place where they starve. It’s also not us who win if our children are happy and enjoy their lives with lots of food and general good health, they are the ones who win and lose here because their lives belong to them once they become people.

    We obviously can’t ensure that our children will consider their lives good. The only thing we can do is give children the best chance to be healthy and happy. That means women taking care of themselves during pregnancy, men being around if possible, that may even mean adopting instead of having children, that means testing for abnormalities and not inflicting them on children if otherwise avoidable.

    By the way carrying to term someone with a genetic abnormality that does in fact have a higher instance of leukemias and other problems is in fact giving them a stacked deck. I’ve never heard of someone who wanted cancer, have you? Have you heard of anyone who wants to starve? You and I are not the ones who get to say “Oh that’s not so bad.” or “Oh that’s horrible.” They are. What we do get to decide is whether or not we are going to make these kinds of questions issues for them as they get older.

    You can make any decision you want; but don’t you dare pretend that looking at things with rose coloured glasses for things that effect people other than yourself is anything but treating people like objects whose experience doesn’t matter to you at the time when you have the opportunity to make a decision. We can run like hell if we get scared and we just feel like giving up. If people who have these problems feel like that, they have to either figure out how to live, or kill themselves. They don’t get to run away from what ever it is they get dealt. You and I don’t have to live with the actual consequences, they do. All the money you and I may spend, all the time and energy we may expend is irrelevant because we can choose to run like hell if we want. They don’t get to run away. We the parents do.

    Hell “normal” people don’t even get to run away when it is their own life at issue. So exactly why do we have this discussion from the point of view of the people who don’t actually get left holding the bag? Why do some of us feel like we should use the law to make everyone else’s decisions about this for them?

  207. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 22, 2012 at 1:52 am |

    Killing unborn children

    They are fetuses, not children. If you want to berate women because they choose an abortion and you are OBVIOUSLY anti-choice, say that. Be the troll we know you are. Stop screeching “eugenics!!” and admit that you are against women’s right to choose.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 2:03 am |

      Fetus, unborn children – it’s different words for the same human being, its not a big deal – just language.

      I’m no troll, you can follow my web link, I am not hiding under a syndonym. Yes it’s about eugenics, choosing the type of child. Do you support eugenic abortion? If you support abortion for any reason, that includes eugenic abortions. Its not a big deal – thats your choice, I am just establishing where the views are on eugenics. For example, Abby says “I am actively in favor of preventing the occurrence of people with disabilities, whether physical or neurological.” That’s eugenics. You might object to the label, but it is accurate.

  208. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 22, 2012 at 2:25 am |

    Fetus, unborn children – it’s different words for the same human being, its not a big deal – just language.

    *sigh* Why can’t you just say you think all abortion is bad? I’ll take your word that you’re no troll, but that just means you are an asshole. It’s a women’s choice about her body. If you manage to carry a child with Downs then you can do that. But you can’t vilify women who choose not to, because you are not them. You are not them, you have no control over their bodies, you can’t deem what is the appropriate reason for her choice over her body, and you can’t choose what information is given to her about her body. Because YOU ARE NOT HER.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:02 am |

      Not discussing eugenics then huh?

  209. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 2:29 am |

    LeftSidePositive. . .not sure if this will seem like a flounce or not, but whatever: it’s fun. You seem to be one of these indefatiguable people who has a passion for rollicking but rational debate, which certainly makes sense given your affinity for George Orwell. BTW I love 1984 but haven’t delved that deeply into his overall body of work.

    Anyway, I am not that type of person. I generally only can be open-minded in an environment that I feel is emotionally safe. I’m fine with criticizing and mocking random strangers’ views, but I’m generally only open to piercing criticism from those I trust. Hypocritical and kinda shitty, I know, but what can I say? I am self-serving, lazy, and proud of it.

    So yeah, long story short. . .I find your views on intellectual disability to be offensive and ableist, but I don’t want to discuss this with you because I don’t care whether I change your mind or not (it will be easier just to skip the parts of your comments I find offensive from now on). Also, I don’t want to give you an opportunity to challenge some of my basic assumptions about life and make me feel deeply uncomfortable. Again: the self-serving and lazy thing.

    I will say just one thing though. I seriously have no problem with any woman having an abortion for any reason. With due respect, I feel like this hasn’t sunk in with you. I disagree with some of your overarching theories concerning disability. BUT this doesn’t mean I’d want you to bear a intellectually disabled child against your will. I want your child to be whatever you could possibly hope for–a potential afficiando of George Orwell and everything else. I don’t think it is ableist of you at all to have any preference about the child you want to conceive, bear, or raise.

    That’s it. Sorry I’m crapping out.

    P.S. Abby Spice: I also find your views on disability incredibly offensive and ableist. This is also not something I am going to discuss. Laterz.

    *throws rocks and runs*

  210. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 2:53 am |

    As to your question, I have no issues with good nutrition to enhance pregnancy – that promotes and respects life. Killing unborn children because of their genetic differance is an entirley different matter and is eugenics. That does not promote or repect life or human diversity.

    It’s good to be reminded that the forced birthers crowd is pretty diverse. Thanks, Mike!

    There is not a single thing I would change about my daughter and I would happily adopt a child with Down syndrome. It is an enriching expereince.

    So what?

    As I said to you upthread – my son is the best thing to have ever happened to me, hands down. Does this mean I get to berate someone else for aborting a pregnancy while they were also broke and living in a new country – which was the situation I found myself in when I was pregnant?

    There are many reasons why someone would choose an abortion – and guess what, those reasons reflect that the world we’re living in is far from perfect! If someone finds themselves in a situation in which they are choosing as to whether or not they want to bring a DS child into the world – and it’s a choice they want to make but feel they are unable to, that’s fucked up. And it’s already being addressed in places like Denmark, as pointed out upthread.

    But that STILL doesn’t mean we get to shame people for aborting a pregnancy because of DS – or for ANY other reason! Providing people with information and support is not the same thing as holding their bodies hostage for a crusade, for God’s sake – but that’s pretty much what you’ve been advocating here.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:09 am |

      So what? So what indeed. I’m not indifferant to eradicating the world of Down syndrome in the guise of choice, its eugenics. Nothing to do with anyone elses bodies. As I have said, just establishing where this community lies on eugenic abortion. The message is clear enough, the majority do. It’s been a useful discussion. Hardly surpising given the roots in Sanger. Thanks.

  211. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 3:04 am |

    I find your views on intellectual disability to be offensive and ableist, but I don’t want to discuss this with you because I don’t care whether I change your mind or not (it will be easier just to skip the parts of your comments I find offensive from now on).

    Honest question – why are her views offensive and ableist to you? She expresses herself pretty harshly, but this is the kind of sensitive topic that no one can speak about without getting emotional, I guess. I know I get pretty emotional about it – as a parent (and as someone who hopefully wants to have more kids, and hence doesn’t know if DS is in the cards – there is always that possibility).

    I mean, it’s worth pointing out that most societies are ableist to one degree or another. So obviously, if one places a high premium on being able to intellectually relate to another person – they’re not doing so in a vacuum.

    But creating a life is a pretty big undertaking – and I think people are allowed to say, “This is how I want this experience to be. This is what I can handle. This is what I can’t handle.” It doesn’t mean they’ll get what they want either – guess what, no one does, in the end! Like I already said – many potential parents just want to exercise what little control they have.

    Parenthood is totally unpredictable, after all.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:12 am |

      Another tick there for eugenics then , choosing the type of child they have.

  212. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 3:04 am |

    *sigh* Why can’t you just say you think all abortion is bad? I’ll take your word that you’re no troll, but that just means you are an asshole. It’s a women’s choice about her body. If you manage to carry a child with Downs then you can do that. But you can’t vilify women who choose not to, because you are not them. You are not them, you have no control over their bodies, you can’t deem what is the appropriate reason for her choice over her body, and you can’t choose what information is given to her about her body. Because YOU ARE NOT HER.

    QFT. Not to revel in my male privilege in an unseemly sort of way, but as a lazy person (see my above post), I am seriously totally grateful that here are a whole set of ethical/logistical issues I’ll never need to trouble myself with. There is absolutely no reason I’ll ever need to have an opinion about whether one should abort or give birth in any particular situation because I don’t have a uterus and am physically incapable of either choosing to have an abortion or choosing to bear a child. So, as a lazy person, that is a huge burden off my shoulders.

    The ethical tasks that I face in regard to these types of pregnancy issues, on the other hand, are relievingly easy. Just support all uterus-possessing people in whatever they want to do. BAM! Done. Always puzzles me how certain out-of-control power freaks like Mike Sullivan, Rick Santorum, et al have difficulty mastering this basic life skill. It’s easy guys, all you need to do is just relax. You don’t even need to think about it. Just relax. Let it go.

    Reminds me of the bumper sticker: “Focus on your own damn family.” Why are the simple things so hard for some people?

  213. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 3:19 am |

    So what? So what indeed. I’m not indifferant to eradicating the world of Down syndrome in the guise of choice, its eugenics. Nothing to do with anyone elses bodies. As I have said, just establishing where this community lies on eugenic abortion. The message is clear enough, the majority do. It’s been a useful discussion. Hardly surpising given the roots in Sanger. Thanks.

    Um, DS is not going to get eradicted – some people will always choose to carry DS pregnancies. There will probably be less DS in the future as more and more people get access to screening. You have every right to your view on that, but guess what? You don’t get to make that point via removing choice from potential parents.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:25 am |

      Time will tell Natalia, not everyone is into eugenics, but we know where the majority of this blog stand – pro eugenic abortion. The debate is just starting, we are not rolling over whilst minority groups are decimated. It will be interesting to see where this goes, that’s for sure.

  214. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 22, 2012 at 3:27 am |

    Nothing to do with anyone elses bodies.

    So you’ve found a way to grow a human fetus completely outside the uterus of a woman?

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:28 am |

      Dud, what has eugenics got to do with a uterus?

  215. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 3:28 am |

    Time will tell Natalia, not everyone is into eugenics, but we know where the majority of this blog stand – pro eugenic abortion. The debate is just starting, we are not rolling over whilst minority groups are decimated. It will be interesting to see where this goes, that’s for sure.

    You’re kinda a pompous dick, that’s for sure.

  216. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:31 am |

    Thank you Natalia. I think that reflects the respective strengths of our positions. Resort to insults rather than defend your viewpoint.

  217. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 3:31 am |

    For eff’s sake Mike, I don’t believe in eugenics!! According to Wikipedia, which I’m planning to use as my authority on the matter, eugenics is a “social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population.”

    Now, first of all, I’m a big believer that the most effective way for a population’s genetic composition to improve is through random mutations over thousands of generations. Also known as evolution. (which as a probable Christianist you might reject, I dunno). The sum total of our human technology, on the other hand, at this point seems to be leading us toward a massive die-off rather than a stable equilibrium with the rest of the biosphere. So I don’t have a lot of confidence that biotechnology will suddenly “improve the genetic composition” of the human race. We’ll probably make a lot of mistakes with it, actually. and end up making our genetic composition worse. In other words, I don’t believe what eugenics strives for is even possible, let alone desirable.

    I just support women being able to do whatever they want to do with their bodies. This means I support them being able to have any abortion for any reason. I don’t hold some belief that this will improve the genetic compostion of the human race. I have no idea what overall effect of it will be on the genetic composition of the human race, and I don’t care.

    I just don’t like bossing women around.

    1. Mike Sullivan
      Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 3:51 am |

      LotusBen @ 242 – that’s a long post for a subject you don’t care about.

      Yes eugenics – and includes eradicating so-called “undesirable traits” from the population. Traditionally through sterilisation in the 1920 and 30’s and then by killing children under the age of three under the T4 programme in Germany in 1939. The modern method is genetic screening and selective abortion. Same intent and consequence, but the technology is new.

      So yes, the issue is about eugenics, the means is through selective abortion. That is why the core issue is firstly one of eugenics, not someones body – that’s for librarygoose and natalia’s benefit.

      That’s me over for clarifications. Let’s see what the future holds.

  218. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 22, 2012 at 3:31 am |

    The only way this can not be about a woman’s bodily autonomy is if you can grow fetuses with out them, so those uterus.

    Also, did you mean dude? Cause I’m cool with that, but dud I find oddly offensive.

  219. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 3:31 am |

    Dud, what has eugenics got to do with a uterus?

    You say you’re a parent? Did your daughter spring forth from your brain, kinda like Athena? Or was there a woman with a uterus involved in there somewhere?

  220. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 3:57 am |

    So yes, the issue is about eugenics, the means is through selective abortion. That is why the core issue is firstly one of eugenics, not someones body – that’s for librarygoose and natalia’s benefit.

    Thank you, kind sir! I had no idea that pregnancies and abortions have apparently *jack shit* to do with people’s bodies! I stand corrected! And enlightened!

  221. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 22, 2012 at 3:58 am |

    Until you can grow a fetus with out using a woman’s body, it is an issue about someones body. You asshole.

    That’s me over for clarifications.

  222. H
    H February 22, 2012 at 4:01 am |

    Sullivan would probably be against doctors simply fixing trisonomy 21 or any other inheritable disorder like sickle cell etc. what with eugenics and all.

  223. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 4:11 am |

    Honest question – why are her views offensive and ableist to you?

    In short, I believe the limitations around intellectual disabilities are socially constructed, whereas LeftSidePositive seems to be saying they are largely inherent and inevitable. So I think it’s offensive and victim-blaming to say something bad (like the limitations placed on intellectually disabled people) is actually an inevitable result of who people are. And it’s ableist because it perpetuates ableism, a system where abled people are privileged over disabled people in our society. Of course, I’m not saying LeftSidePositive is doing any of this intentionally. She seems to have a lot of compassion toward disabled people. Ableist beliefs just are the norm in our society, as you point out, and even though I’ve internalized a lot of them unwittingly, too, I still usually find them offensive.

    But creating a life is a pretty big undertaking – and I think people are allowed to say, “This is how I want this experience to be. This is what I can handle. This is what I can’t handle.”

    I completely agree. What I find offensive is her intellectual theory regarding disability. I don’t have a problem with her preferences regarding the type of family she wants, which require no justification. I support her doing whatever she wants to do with her life.

  224. Stella McLeod
    Stella McLeod February 22, 2012 at 4:16 am |

    I’m gobsmacked at the ignorance of fetal development shown by several people here. If the “product of conception” is not a human person who is alive and growing then you wouldn’t be pregnant!

    Perhaps you could enlighten me how one mysteriously goes from being a non-person before birth to being a person at birth. Does the baby have to be fully delivered first?

    What do you consider a stillborn baby? Is he or she human? Is he or she a person?

  225. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 4:21 am |

    In short, I believe the limitations around intellectual disabilities are socially constructed, whereas LeftSidePositive seems to be saying they are largely inherent and inevitable.

    Well, I don’t know. I’m a writer and editor, yeah? Let’s say that tomorrow I suffer a serious head injury, which does permanent damage to my brain – and leaves me unable to string words together. Let’s say I never write another play. Or edit another article.

    My career would be over – and it wouldn’t be due to any social construct. I would just be unable to do my work. And nobody – no theater, no newspaper – would be required to work with me. Not because there is a social construct in place that would limit our interaction. But because this would be the reality of the disability – it would *limit* me in real and tangible ways.

    Now, in a normal society, there would be a safety net in place so that I would still be cared for – as opposed to discarded – but that’s a whole separate issue, I think.

  226. Stella McLeod
    Stella McLeod February 22, 2012 at 4:26 am |

    Amniocentesis is not an essential part of prenatal care. It is quite possible to go through pregnancy without having one and still deliver a healthy baby. During my second pregnancy I didn’t even have an ultrasound scan.

    Rick Santorum was specifically talking about amniocentesis and not prenatal care in general. Dig deeper. Antenatal screening, CVS and amniocentesis is about saving money by “preventing” the births of babies who have disabilities, i.e. killing them via abortion. Spend less time slinging off at people trying to raise awareness and do your own research. And as certain companies developing antenatal screening blood tests are well aware, there is also money to be made from gullible women. Take a look at some business sites where they talk about shares. Antenatal screening for them is about making money, not health care.

  227. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 4:31 am |

    I generally only can be open-minded in an environment that I feel is emotionally safe. I’m fine with criticizing and mocking random strangers’ views, but I’m generally only open to piercing criticism from those I trust. Hypocritical and kinda shitty, I know, but what can I say? I am self-serving, lazy, and proud of it.

    P.S. Abby Spice: I also find your views on disability incredibly offensive and ableist. This is also not something I am going to discuss. Laterz.

    *throws rocks and runs*

    First of all, grow the fuck up. Yes, it is “hypocritical and kinda shitty”, as well as breathtakingly mature (“*Laterz. *throws rocks and runs*”? Are you twelve?) so how about you either don’t do it or you go play in the sandbox and let the big kids have our talks?

    Second, I don’t care what you think about my views. My view is that disability is a bad thing and not something we should try to encourage. I would personally have an abortion if I knew that the baby would have a disability. I would certainly judge the hell out of someone whose baby would have a serious disorder, Tay-Sachs or a comparable disease, and didn’t have an abortion. I wonder if Mr. Sullivan is okay with the nearly-successful campaign to eradicate Tay-Sachs amongst Ashkenazi Jews. Not a group, incidentally, that views eugenics lightly.

    I think we should do everything in our power to prevent children from being born with anything that will make life harder for them. Before anyone jumps in, no, I don’t include being short or being a minority or for that matter being a woman. I mean diseases, disorders, disabilities. Life brings enough pain and suffering that we can’t stop. I support minimizing as much of it as possible. I’m not sorry if that offends you.

  228. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 4:33 am |

    Previous was at LotusBen.

  229. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 22, 2012 at 4:38 am |

    Well I’m just having a quick look through these blogs and have to say they’re pretty offensive. I consider myself a feminist who believes in supporting women to have their babies and not be brain-washed into thinking that abortion is the best option in circumstances that society thinks is not ideal (because the woman is deemed too young, too poor, too old, too successful in her ‘career’….). Vulgar feminists aggressively standing up for their uteri are well and truly sucked into this and stuck in the 1960s……just my opinion and based on having faced the abortion question well and truly in the face when pregnant with my now teenage son with Down syndrome. A lot of you have commented that his “quality of life’ must be poor but that’s just not true; he’s having a great life thanks very much. That ghastly term “quality of life” (it used to “a life not worth living” in Germany in the late 1930s)-so open to interpretation and conclusions made often so very wrong. Good luck to and your perfect race; so anti-human, but please support women in a truer, more loving way.

  230. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 4:46 am |

    OK Natalia, I guess I should have been more clear. While everyone has capacities they derive from their inherent biological nature, everyone also has limitations. No one has the capacity to do everything, and that goes for abled people also. The difference between disabled people and abled people is that disabled people’s limitations are turned into an excuse for discrimation and further limitations to be placed on them, whereas this is not the case with abled people’s limitations. For example, people who can’t walk are limited because people who can walk (who are the majority) have chosen to create a built environment that is much easier to access by foot than it is by wheelchair.

    Now as for your example about the head injury. Yes, you would inherently be limited by the head injury and unable to write. The imposed limitation comes into play in the fact that you would most likely not be retrained adequately for a new job. If you were able to work again, you most likely would work at a job that was lower status and earned you less money. Jobs that people with intellectual ability are good at (lawyer, writer, architect, CEO) normally command high status and high income whereas jobs that people with intellectual disability are good at (janitor, gardener, or anything generally considered “repetitive” or “unskilled”) normally are low status and bring in little income. There are all sorts of ideological justifcations for this, but most of them rest on either ableism or a belief in capitalism (and capitalism is something else I reject).

  231. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 4:57 am |

    First of all, grow the fuck up. Yes, it is “hypocritical and kinda shitty”, as well as breathtakingly mature (“*Laterz. *throws rocks and runs*”? Are you twelve?) so how about you either don’t do it or you go play in the sandbox and let the big kids have our talks?

    I refuse. I like being immature.

    Second, I don’t care what you think about my views. My view is that disability is a bad thing and not something we should try to encourage.

    Right. Which is why you are an ableist jerk. Second, I don’t care that you don’t care what I think about your views.

    I would personally have an abortion if I knew that the baby would have a disability

    Great! I completely support any woman choosing to have an abortion for any reason.

    OK. I’m officially bored with responding to you now. So I’m not gonna address the second half of your post. Hope this was fun for you.

  232. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 22, 2012 at 5:17 am |

    LotusBen, will you respond to me? Because I’d like you to expand on that.

    I do understand what you mean about some parts of disability being socially constructed, and obviously we all need to be working on those. But when we’re talking about intellectual disabilities so severe that they prevent people from holding any job, or from being able to take care of themselves to a large extent — not true of the majority of people who have Down, but true of some proportion — then I have trouble seeing that as purely socially constructed. Someone who is not capable of cooking for themself, clothing themself, keeping track of the necessities of daily self-care isn’t being made incapable by society.

    Not, of course, that it means that they are worth less as people, or that any of it is in any way their fault, but their inabilities at that point are a fact of their existence, even if everything possible is done to enable them.

  233. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 22, 2012 at 5:26 am |

    *sigh* Why is it that every single comment of mine in this thread goes to moderation?

  234. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2012 at 5:54 am |

    If you were able to work again, you most likely would work at a job that was lower status and earned you less money. Jobs that people with intellectual ability are good at (lawyer, writer, architect, CEO) normally command high status and high income whereas jobs that people with intellectual disability are good at (janitor, gardener, or anything generally considered “repetitive” or “unskilled”) normally are low status and bring in little income. There are all sorts of ideological justifcations for this, but most of them rest on either ableism or a belief in capitalism (and capitalism is something else I reject).

    I reject the capitalist system too, these days – it ultimately just doesn’t work! – but this still doesn’t convince me that our limitations are mere social constructs, and would not be an issue in a more fair and just society.

    Because at the end of the day, my work, for me, is not just about earning a living. Just to give you an example as to why I strongly feel that the disadvantage I am describing here could not be easily dealt with in, say, a socialist society.

    Disabilities do place real limits on people, and not all of those limits are going to be lifted if we accept each other more and learn to get along better. Some will, of course. But not all.

    You’re right to point out that all of us are limited in a variety of ways. This doesn’t mean that we should run roughshod over one another, as we presently do.

    But I also think that you give people way too much credit when you say that they “choose” to create a society that disadvantages some and promotes others. The way societies evolve is too complex for such an analysis, methinks. What I think is constructive is an understanding that the present state of things doesn’t work – and we all deserve something better.

  235. matlun
    matlun February 22, 2012 at 6:41 am |

    Now as for your example about the head injury. Yes, you would inherently be limited by the head injury and unable to write. The imposed limitation comes into play in the fact that you would most likely not be retrained adequately for a new job.

    Do you actually believe this? That this type of disability is only bad because of the social environment?

    I find that position utterly bewildering.

    Do you not believe that severe physical or mental disability is objectively bad, regardless of social context? The fact that I believe it would be a tragedy for me to go deaf has little to do with how I would be treated by the rest of society. Just the fact that I could no longer enjoy music would be a very negative thing. In the same way losing the use of my right arm would be objectively bad. Of course neither of these disabilities would mean that life would not be worth living, but they would still not be good or even neutral.

    Of course having a disability is a bad thing. Recognising this has nothing to do with how we treat the disabled. Everyone has limitations and it is fairly subjective which limitations are severe enough that they deserve the label “disability”.

  236. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 6:55 am |

    Fetus, unborn children – it’s different words for the same human being, its not a big deal – just language.

    Just language, eh? Sure, it’s just the way we express thoughts, attitudes, and ideologies. No big. I mean, someone could call you daughter “Mongoloid,” and it would just be language, right? Not a big deal?

    Tell you what, though. If it’s no big deal, how about you use the correct term, rather than the one that implies that women are running around commiting infanticide?

    If you support abortion for any reason, that includes eugenic abortions.

    Oh, but I don’t support abortion for any reason. I support abortion for only one reason: the pregnant woman wants an abortion. The fact that you are unable to process that as the determining factor is quite telling.

    There is not a single thing I would change about my daughter and I would happily adopt a child with Down syndrome. It is an enriching expereince.

    So other women should be pressured and shamed into giving birth against their will because your experience with your daughter has been so very enriching? I didn’t realize that my body existed to enrich your emotional life. I thought my life was the priority. Did you miss the part about women not being vessels for the communal good?

    Hardly surpising given the roots in Sanger.

    So you are opposed to contraception, then. You do know, right, that Sanger promoted contraception, and that while she also became involved in eugenics, she developed her ideas about the need for contraception while witnessing, as a visiting nurse on the Lower East Sid, the misery that occurs when women are unable to control their own fertility? Oh, you don’t? You just like to fling mud? I’m shocked.

    That is why the core issue is firstly one of eugenics, not someones body

    Until you can grow fetuses outside of women’s bodies, the core issue surrounding abortion will always be control over our bodies.

    Natalia:

    Well, I don’t know. I’m a writer and editor, yeah? Let’s say that tomorrow I suffer a serious head injury, which does permanent damage to my brain – and leaves me unable to string words together. Let’s say I never write another play. Or edit another article.

    Yes, I agree, because I am also fortunate enough that my career is not only about making a living. It is about my identity and interests. If I were to suffer such an injury, it would strike at the very core of who I am and what I value. It would indeed be inherently limiting and damaging to me, regardless of any retraining.

    Ben:

    BTW I love 1984 but haven’t delved that deeply into his overall body of work.

    OT: I think you, as an anarchist, would really love Homage to Catalonia. I just read it in the past year and it is one of the most moving things I have ever read. I found it far and a way more meaningful than 1984, perhaps because the latter has become by now so overused.

  237. Chiara
    Chiara February 22, 2012 at 8:13 am |

    I think we should do everything in our power to prevent children from being born with anything that will make life harder for them. Before anyone jumps in, no, I don’t include being short or being a minority or for that matter being a woman. I mean diseases, disorders, disabilities. Life brings enough pain and suffering that we can’t stop. I support minimizing as much of it as possible. I’m not sorry if that offends you.

    Many people with intellectual disabilities (obviously, this depends highly on the disability in question) don’t inherently ‘suffer’ more than able-minded people. Many could live perfectly contended lives with their cognitive ‘limitations’.

    You should consider that a lot of the pain and suffering that these people feel might in fact be caused by people like you talking about how you wish they had been aborted.

    Now I understand that the kinds of intellectual disabilities I’m talking about can’t be tested for in amniocentesis, and are likely not the ones you’re talking about, but please do not generalize ‘disabilities that cause real discrimination-independent pain’ into ‘all disabilities’.

  238. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 8:23 am |

    You should consider that a lot of the pain and suffering that these people feel might in fact be caused by people like you talking about how you wish they had been aborted.

    Now I understand that the kinds of intellectual disabilities I’m talking about can’t be tested for in amniocentesis, and are likely not the ones you’re talking about, but please do not generalize ‘disabilities that cause real discrimination-independent pain’ into ‘all disabilities’.

    First of all, I don’t “wish they had been aborted”. I don’t wish I had been aborted, but if I could keep more people with the disorder I have from being born, I would. You’re conflating people and fetuses. I can wish to keep more people from suffering without wanting to off the people who already are, or wishing those particular, already extant, people had never been born.

    And if you understand the difference between “disabilities that cause real discrimination-independent pain” and “all disabilities”, and understand that I mean the former, then why are you getting all upset about it anyway? I’m not writing a policy statement here. I don’t generally go out of my way to twist the English language to make it very clear the exact subcategory of which I am speaking in a discussion thread. Would you like me to list every disorder I hope will someday be eliminated?

    What is the rationale for not wanting to never have another child be born with Down’s, or spina bifida, or tri-18, or Tay-Sachs? I list those four simply because they were the first four that popped into my head, not because of any special feelings regarding those specific syndromes, just to be clear.

  239. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 8:26 am |

    You should consider that a lot of the pain and suffering that these people feel might in fact be caused by people like you talking about how you wish they had been aborted.

    If you could just quote where Natalia said anything like that?

    You’re sounding like that horrible “Conceived in Rape” woman.

  240. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 22, 2012 at 8:29 am |

    I don’t care if a women is practicing eugenics or has to have an abortion to save her life or anything in between, because it’s none of my business and none of yours.

    Mile Sullivan
    – The point is moot because you are unable to grow a fetus and carry it to term.

    No one is advocating a systematic and required rejection and termination of a child with DS – What people are saying is that only a women can make the choice, not you, not the government, not her mister, etc….

    So, you don’t want fetuses to be terminated who has down, yet from your blog you treat your daughter like a pet, putting her on display without her permission or her understanding, using her to advocate your priorities – But where are hers?

    For me it’s about choice, so where is your daughter’s choice?

    Instead of using her as a pet in which you make her preform to show how good of a parent you are, why don’t you just let her live and give her the tools so she can be.

    You claim a moral high ground yet, and claim that you want people with DS to be viewed as full humans (which I do) yet you show off your daughter like a prized possession rather than a Human.

    Abby Spice –

    Although I appreciate your ability to understand Jill’s POV – I don’t. It is the perfect space to talk about this because she presented in this thread.

    She said that women have no personal autonomy in regard for science to collect information and that information would be helpful for us to understand abortion. Even though that information could be used to undermine a women’s right to choose, like it has with every other study on the topic

    Now- I have a problem with this. There is a thing in the United States called HIPPA, which means that your medical information is yours, no one can gain access to it and use it without your permission. Doctors and hospitals are not allowed to pull your information and use it without your permission, and by law have you sign a release when you visit so that they can share that information with your insurance company, or for any other reasons. This is the law in the US that all medical information is “Yours” it is part of your patient autonomy…. any patient regardless of who they are.

    So what I want to know from Jill is if she thinks that in order to collect data for her abortion statistics, because she doesn’t think it’s against a women’s personal autonomy to have her information used for a study, whether she will advocate the breaking of US law, in order to achieve her need to know why women have an abortion.

    So when she starts throwing out that she doesn’t believe that data collection goes against personal autonomy, then she needs to explain that.

    She does a very bad job at explaining herself and when “require” is mentioned she backtracks, but still leaves the ambiguous question of personal autonomy… and the law…

    Yes, it’s possible to believe that personal autonomy is not violated and not require people to participate — But up the thread she certainly didn’t sound like a women would have a choice to participate or not.

    It’s her body, her choice, her story, her right to disclose or not.

    Then down the lane she

  241. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 8:30 am |

    I think Chiara was responding to me, EG. Not that I said anything like that either.

  242. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 8:44 am |

    I’m sorry, Abby. I got confused. But yeah, I didn’t read anything like that in what you wrote, either.

  243. Ambre Scott
    Ambre Scott February 22, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    Like any abortion debate, reality is getting lost in emotion here. No person should get between a woman and her doctor. Prenatal testing allows for doctors to better prepare a plan of care for the fetus. For example, an issue found during prenatal testing allows the Ob/gyn to contact a pediatric neurosurgeon, heart surgeon, etc. It is not uncommon for these woman to undergo a planned c-section with a pediatric surgery specialist standing by with a full team in an adjoining OR suite. The baby is taken straight from the mother’s womb into surgery in order to improve it’s chance of surviving the previously diagnosed issue. In Santorumland, this woman and her doctors would have no warning. Valuable time is lost from birth to diagnosis and from diagnosis to surgery; time that could mean the difference of a completely functional existence vs death or severe disability. Imagine the horror of finding out ,in the delivery room after the trauma of childbirth, that your child has a random, potentially fatal, health problem. As soon as the pediatric neurosurgeon gets here and takes a look, your baby may or may not survive or have surgery. By the way, if you delivered that baby at a small, local hospital it may take a while for that doctor to arrive.
    Sure, you may say that Santorum is not ‘taking away your right to HAVE prenatal testing, just that your insurance will not cover it’ in the real world, there’s no difference.

  244. chava
    chava February 22, 2012 at 9:18 am |

    RE: Jill’s point above–

    I wish there were better data on why women choose to abort. I would never support required disclosure, but it would be wonderful if we had any reliable, large studies at all about second tri abortions, and more reliable data about first. Because, as Jill pointed out, it uncovers systemic problems in society which can then be used for feminist advocacy. No one (ok, maybe someone who really likes pain.) gets an abortion for shits and giggles; yet the right can throw around OMG ABORTION AS BIRTH CONTROL! AND EUGENICS! arguments around because no one really knows squat.

    (Although, on second thought, when did science ever stop the religious right from shrieking about these things? Nonetheless, I tend to think more knowledge is a general good).

  245. chava
    chava February 22, 2012 at 9:22 am |

    To clarify–I don’t care so much if someone IS using abortion as birth control. I do care WHY, because I suspect in a lot of cases it has to do with poor sex ed, contraceptive access or pressure from men not to use that contraception–followed by such an utter lack of societal support that having a child is inconceivable.

  246. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    Over on Alternet, I found this:

    http://www.alternet.org/health/154240/santorum%27s_policies_would_have_killed_my_daughter/?page=1

    Not for the squeamish, contains frank discussion of medical issues. I didn’t find it too unsettling, but milage may vary.
    Here’s the kicker: the author’s daughter owes her life to amniocentesis. Had that procedure not been in place, she would have lived a very short painful life.

  247. William
    William February 22, 2012 at 9:43 am |

    Many people with intellectual disabilities (obviously, this depends highly on the disability in question) don’t inherently ‘suffer’ more than able-minded people. Many could live perfectly contended lives with their cognitive ‘limitations’.

    I think the word you were looking for was “contented” although “contentious” might be a bit more accurate.

    Look, for better or worse, the bottom line here is that people with severe developmental/cognitive/intellectual disabilities are going to suffer in our society. They’re going to be made fun of by their peers, they will be treated as a burden by schools, they will be trained to be thankful for any attention they get, they’ll have access to only low-skilled jobs with few prospects and appalling pay, if their parents lack the resources (or years) to support them they are very likely to end up in group homes or nursing home settings where dignity is a luxury the state has decided they cannot afford and their most basic needs are used as a political football, their health care will be substandard and and delayed causing both their lifespans and the quality of those years to be severely reduced. It is not a pleasant life. We do not, as a society, provide for intellectually disabled people. I want desperately to see that change, but until it does I just don’t think its moral fair conscionable ethical to demand that they live lives of suffering and privation in the name of political correctness or moral rectitude.

    We’re talking about abortion, not euthanasia. We’re talking about clusters of cells that are not yet people. We’re talking about making a conscious decision, based on available data and current realities, about how much suffering we are willing to force a theoretical person to endure.

  248. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 22, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Wierd…

    Do people with Downs actually feel that having a lower rate of births of babies w/Downs (because of abortion, if that is indeed happening or may happen in the future) is an attack on them? What about finding a “cure” for it, whereby a fetus with the chromosonal defect (is using that word “ableist” of me?) can have it fixed in utero and be born w/o Downs? Is that “discrimination” against people with Downs.

    I say no. An attack on people with Downs would be treating people with Downs poorly.

    So I don’t get it.

    I have (congenital) scoliosis. It sucks. If somebody aborted a fetus with a similar spinal deformity, I might think to myself “wow, overreaction” but I wouldn’t feel personally attacked. If, on the other hand, somebody wanted to pass a law that would result in mistreatment of me, that is an attack on me and I’d be pissed.

    Eugenics was about trying to manipulate the whole damned gene pool (at least w/in a particular nation), not about individual choice. Indeed, it ran roughshod over personal choice (involuntary sterilization, etc). Finding out you are carrying a fetus that will have Downs and deciding to abort it is not practicing Eugenics.

    But the Right is deeply invested in claiming abortion rights are all about Eugenics, so they can call pro-choicers Nazis w/o actually saying “you’re a Nazi!”

  249. flightless
    flightless February 22, 2012 at 10:10 am |

    LeftSidePositive, i fucking love you.

    Mike Sullivan, if you’re defining all abortion as “eugenics,” then in addition to being an anti-choice creep, you’ve also lost so much touch with reality that it’s impossible to debate you. Words have meanings. My autonomy, my choice regarding my own uterus, has FUCK-ALL to do with the overall genetic makeup of society. It’s about my body, my life, my right to decide.

    Plus, it’s been well established up-thread that prenatal screenings can help save a fetus’ life in some cases; they don’t necessarily lead to abortion. So EVEN as an anti-choicer, support them.

  250. blondie
    blondie February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |

    Was there a full moon last night? Because, wow.

    I agree with Jill in that we both have the fundamental objective of advancing women’s rights. I don’t know whether I agree or disagree about voluntarily gathering information about women who choose to have an abortion and about woman who choose not to. While it’s very hard to disagree that more knowledge is usually good, look what happened above when you get people with agendas arguing about why women should or should not have an abortion.

    The right to abortion remains so fragile and is opposed so wildly that it really concerns me to move away from the core truth that women have the right to bodily integrity and personal autonomy, including an abortion, until that truth is generally accepted.

    But, I could be wrong. Maybe studies would only buttress that right.

    Way, way upthread, I linked to an emedicine statistic that approximately 40% of women have had or will have an abortion. So, it is true that the stridently-vocal forced birthers have lost. Sadly, like a lot of the lady-mysteries, if it can’t be made sexxaayy, then it’s yucky, deserving to be hid under a rock and not talked about on any level of reality.

    Reality is — when abortion is not legal, women die.

    Not all of those 40%. But too many.

  251. AM
    AM February 22, 2012 at 11:06 am |

    At the risk of wasting time weighing in because this discussion.is clearly going nowhere…

    Many people are saying that the incredibly high rate of DS ejections are reasonable due to the health risks, but not due to widespread ableism in society. Would you be opposed to laws to force the medical profession to only disclose those health risks instead of reporting DS? As we test for more and more conditions, the prospective risk profile will become more accurate such as “27% of heart failure” “34liver failure” etc.

    Would you be opposed to outlawing the reporting of prenatal tests that lead to eugenic like consequences? Or do you think it’s necessary to know all the minute characteristics of the fetus / unborn person that dont have to do with helath risk (hair color, height, left handedness)? I am adding unborn person because if you test for hair color and full grown height, obviously a fetus doesnt have those characteristics–so that kind of testing is a report made about a person and not a fetus.

  252. Chiara
    Chiara February 22, 2012 at 11:27 am |

    Look, for better or worse, the bottom line here is that people with severe developmental/cognitive/intellectual disabilities are going to suffer in our society. They’re going to be made fun of by their peers, they will be treated as a burden by schools, they will be trained to be thankful for any attention they get, they’ll have access to only low-skilled jobs with few prospects and appalling pay, if their parents lack the resources (or years) to support them they are very likely to end up in group homes or nursing home settings where dignity is a luxury the state has decided they cannot afford and their most basic needs are used as a political football, their health care will be substandard and and delayed causing both their lifespans and the quality of those years to be severely reduced. It is not a pleasant life. We do not, as a society, provide for intellectually disabled people.

    Perhaps instead of rushing to point out my spelling mistakes you could actually carefully read what I wrote. I said that some intellectually disabled people don’t inherently have to suffer more than neurotypical people (depending on the disability). And I do know (first-hand) that they end up suffering anyway, due to other people.

    But the problem in my eyes with this logic is that it would also justify the abortion of female fetuses in a highly sexist society where being female would incur suffering at the hands of others, or the abortion of black fetuses in a highly racist society, and so forth.

    While I doubt that you’d go down any of those roads, you people are perfectly happy to do so when it comes to disabled people. Perhaps because their physical or mental limitations make their lives fundamentally less valuable than those of the well-abled?

  253. matlun
    matlun February 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |

    I said that some intellectually disabled people don’t inherently have to suffer more than neurotypical people (depending on the disability).

    “Depending on the disability” is key here. For example if someone wanted to abort a fetus because of color blindness, this would seem a bit ridiculous (but I they should be allowed to). But can we agree that aborting due to Tay-Sachs does seem reasonable?

    Exactly how we would judge the situation depending on different disabilities is fairly subjective (at least in cases which generate debate). There are no clear cut black and white answers.

    I also have a pet peeve against this comment

    Perhaps because their physical or mental limitations make their lives fundamentally less valuable than those of the well-abled?

    What does “valuable” even mean here? Do you believe that there is an objective “value” that can be assigned to any individual? How do you measure this?

    I do not believe any general “value” like this exists, which renders that question meaningless. (It is also a rather dishonest straw man attack)

  254. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

    But the problem in my eyes with this logic is that it would also justify the abortion of female fetuses in a highly sexist society where being female would incur suffering at the hands of others, or the abortion of black fetuses in a highly racist society, and so forth.

    Guess who I think should make the call about whether or not a female or black fetus should be carried to term or not? Go on. Guess. And guess whether I feel like it would be appropriate to blame and shame call “shitty” those people?

    Again, like Sarah and anonymous did, you are eliding the actual inherent health problems that do come with the conditions that lead people in the US to abort. Neither being black nor female entails those problems.

  255. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    Perhaps because their physical or mental limitations make their lives fundamentally less valuable than those of the well-abled?

    Perhaps you should try addressing the actual reasons actual people on this thread have actually given.

    Let me say once more that as far as I am concerned, a fetus has no value beyond that which the pregnant woman in which it exists assigns to that. It is worth exactly what she feels it is worth, no more, and no less.

  256. Emolee
    Emolee February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

    For example, an issue found during prenatal testing allows the Ob/gyn to contact a pediatric neurosurgeon, heart surgeon, etc. It is not uncommon for these woman to undergo a planned c-section with a pediatric surgery specialist standing by with a full team in an adjoining OR suite. The baby is taken straight from the mother’s womb into surgery in order to improve it’s chance of surviving the previously diagnosed issue. In Santorumland, this woman and her doctors would have no warning.

    Yes, and sometimes surgery can even be performed on the fetus while it is still in the uterus. This shows that Santorum et al. do NOT care about fetuses or babies- they care about controlling women. Because if they cared about fetuses as human lives- wouldn’t these lives deserve medical care?

  257. Jennifer
    Jennifer February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

    My view is that disability is a bad thing and not something we should try to encourage. I would personally have an abortion if I knew that the baby would have a disability. I would certainly judge the hell out of someone whose baby would have a serious disorder, Tay-Sachs or a comparable disease, and didn’t have an abortion. I wonder if Mr. Sullivan is okay with the nearly-successful campaign to eradicate Tay-Sachs amongst Ashkenazi Jews. Not a group, incidentally, that views eugenics lightly.

    I think we should do everything in our power to prevent children from being born with anything that will make life harder for them. Before anyone jumps in, no, I don’t include being short or being a minority or for that matter being a woman. I mean diseases, disorders, disabilities. Life brings enough pain and suffering that we can’t stop. I support minimizing as much of it as possible. I’m not sorry if that offends you.

    So, would you support requiring prenatal testing? How would you decide what conditions to include? What if someone decides to decline prenatal testing and has a child with a disability or chooses to proceed with a pregnancy despite knowing that the child will have a disability–should they be penalized in some way other than you (and others) judging the hell out of them? How do such judgments minimize pain and suffering?

  258. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    Perhaps you should try addressing the actual reasons actual people on this thread have actually given.

    I don’t see that happening, EG, because then they would have to admit that they’re either a) full of shit or b) irrational.

    I would like to beat Rick Santorum–hell, the Republican Party–over the head with that AlterNet piece.

  259. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    Jennifer:

    So, would you support requiring prenatal testing? How would you decide what conditions to include? What if someone decides to decline prenatal testing and has a child with a disability or chooses to proceed with a pregnancy despite knowing that the child will have a disability–should they be penalized in some way other than you (and others) judging the hell out of them? How do such judgments minimize pain and suffering?

    When the hell did I say anything indicating I would support mandatory anything? I support a woman’s right to choose above everything else. I am absolutely astonished by your ability to put words into my mouth.

  260. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

    Jill–I’m pretty sure I very recently saw something indicating that lack of access to contraception was responsible for a significant portion of abortions. But for those who view condoms as basically the same as a D&X (and thus, I suppose, basically the same as murdering a full-grown human), that doesn’t help. They don’t want women using contraception any more than they want them having abortions. They just don’t want them fucking.

  261. Bridget
    Bridget February 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

    This is one of those issues that I can really understand both sides. It is a morally complicated issue. That’s why I think it’s so important to make sure individual women get to make this decision, instead of politicians like Santorum.

    When I was pregnant with my son, I had some sort of blood test and an ultrasound which determined the likelihood of certain genetic disorders, and my understanding is that had this test come back positive, they would have ordered an amnio. But I remember my midwife explaining that there were false positives sometimes. So, if I’d gotten a positive result, I don’t know what I would have done. It would have been a very difficult decision for me. I already felt a strong emotional connection to the fetus.

    It seems unlikely to me that the world will be rid of Downs anytime soon. Many people don’t get prenatal testing either because they don’t want to or it is not available to them. And many people would not get an abortion even if they knew the baby was likely to have Downs.

    The biggest reason there aren’t more people with Downs being born is miscarriage, not abortion. The statistic I’ve read is that it’s believed 80% of fetuses with Downs end up being miscarried or stillborn.

  262. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    Actually, if you look at the Guttmacher data, the countries with the highest abortion rates are also the ones with the most restrictive abortion access and/or poor access to family planning and reproductive health resources:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/Sedgh-Lancet-2012-01.pdf

    I’m sorry, but we don’t need to know why (uncoerced) abortions happen. At all. There would be no interest in the “why’s” if Enuteried Peoples were given their full human rights, and if basic medical care were available to everybody.

  263. Chiara
    Chiara February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

    Guess who I think should make the call about whether or not a female or black fetus should be carried to term or not? Go on. Guess. And guess whether I feel like it would be appropriate to blame and shame call “shitty” those people?

    Again, like Sarah and anonymous did, you are eliding the actual inherent health problems that do come with the conditions that lead people in the US to abort. Neither being black nor female entails those problems.

    Yes, I also agree that the choice is the mother’s and the mother’s only. And where did I blame or shame or call anyone “shitty”? Perhaps you’ve misattributed someone else’s words on here to me? I just believe that the abortion of fetuses with cognitive impairments that do not actively cause pain or suffering reflects at the very least ableist attitudes in society.

    And I’m not eliding the those health problems at all. You seem to be con-something-ing my opinions with others on this thread. I think that abortion of a fetus which has a condition that would cause it a lot of pain and suffering is reasonable, though the idea will always make me feel bad.

  264. Rick Santorum vows to save us from Satan! » CrescentSpeak

    […] Quote: “One of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America,” Santorum said. “Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free pre-natal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.” (Feb 2012) […]

  265. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

    I don’t see that happening, EG, because then they would have to admit that they’re either a) full of shit or b) irrational.

    Abby-as I explained above-I did know when I was pregnant that my son had DS and he is now my much beloved teenager and I am thankful every day that I managed to resist the pressure put on me by society to abort him. You will judge me as both irrational and full of shit because like the majority of people you have made the assumption that having a child with DS is a disaster to be avoided at all cost and nothing I will say will change your mindset-so I won’t even start; suffice to say that this 1960s attitude to women to succumb to society’s pressure to conform to its narrow view of a perfect world (the perfect time to have a baby, the perfect child/rocket scientist to give birth to and on it goes) is doing untold damage to women the world over….all under the name of that mind-numbing, ultimate disclaimer-the catch-all term”pro-choice”. There’s far more to it than that simple concept and its time you thought more deeply about it and the far-reaching negative effects it is having on women and children, in other words- I’d suggest its time for you to have a re-think.

  266. sophiefair
    sophiefair February 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |

    I would love to have a baby with my husband — it’s highly unlikely, given that I had my tubes tied in my early twenties, for what were eminently good reasons at that time. Anyway, given that I am 37, if I were to get pregnant, I would be having prenatal screening. (I’m in Canada, so cost/insurance is not an issue.)

    And if that screening found a high risk of Downs, tri-18, etc., I would abort.

    And it’s not even about the pain/suffering/quality of life potential of the fetus.

    Nope, I am one of those “selfish” people who is not prepared to parent a disabled child…

    I am comfortable with the judgements of the self-righteous assholes in this thread.

    Because guess what? I am disabled. I have a chronic pain condition that I can just about manage most of the time.

    Oh, and I am a parent, with two teenage daughters from a previous relationship, who have valid claims on the time and energy I can muster.

    And my husband is only home 2 out 4 weeks each month — he works in another province. And while we are doing well financially now, we have spent the majority of our 10 year marriage living hand to mouth. And he has struggled with severe depression.

    And we share a home with my parents, who are getting older and more frail, and who also have valid claims on my time and energy.

    As I said, husband and I would love to have a child together. It would be very difficult, but we could manage. If.

    But I know that we, that I could not manage the responsibilities I have now, the care I owe to my husband, parents and children, if the care of a child with serious disabilities was added to my current load.

    I don’t owe society the use of my uterus. And nobody gets to decide what I can handle in my own damn life except me.

    I am not some special snowflake with circumstances that might justify abortion only for me. You who are sitting in judgement of that supposed “90%” of women aborting — do you know a damn thing about any one of those women? Do you know more than they do about their own lives and circumstances? And are all your own reproductive choices so damned noble that you would feel happy with the pronouncements and judgements of random assholes on the Internet?

    Because really, what is your solution? Those of you who think it’s okay to judge, while still insisting that you are “absolutely 100% prochoice, really! Gee whiz, how could you doubt me?!” — what should happen then? If you want to talk about better social supports for the disabled or the non-neurotypical, awesome. But this was a post about denying women information in an attempt to deny them reproductive choice. I’d rather see people holding Santorum’s feet to the fire on social supports than picking at women for exercising their rights to their own bodies. Because Santorum isn’t actually interested in helping the disabled once they are born, is he?

    Oh, and to whichever asshole it was who brought up the social model of disability — talk about fucking patronizing. I read the research, the blogs, almost anything i can get my hands on. My own disability is both physical and socially constructed. But at the end of the day, it’s the pain that gets me, not the social limits.

  267. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    I just don’t think its ethical to demand that they live lives of suffering and privation in the name of political correctness or moral rectitude. We’re talking about abortion, not euthanasia. We’re talking about clusters of cells that are not yet people. We’re talking about making a conscious decision, based on available data and current realities, about how much suffering we are willing to force a theoretical person to endure.

    I was really with you William up until the second half of your post here. I may just be misunderstanding what you’re saying here, too, I don’t know. But, personally, I think each woman’s individual ethical/logistical/whatever else decision making process on the issue of whether she bears a child or not is what should be centered and should be valued. Individual women will come to different decisions on what’s ethical on these matters. I don’t like how you’re seeming to use words like “demand” and “force” to refer to women who choose to bear children they know will have serious developmental disabilities like Down’s Sydrome. I mean, what about the apparent 10% of women who choose to have a amniocentesis, learn their fetus will be born with Down’s, and choose to give birth anyway? (not sure if this stat is true or not, but it was brought up earlier in the thread, and I’ll assume it’s true for the state of argument). Do you think this choice is “unethical?” Because I would consider such a judgment an inappropriate shaming of women for their sovereign reproductive choices.

    Forgive me if I misinterpreted what you were saying at all. I definitely agree that there is nothing wrong with a woman choosing to abort a Down’s fetus for any reason, including if her decision is based on all the factors you mentioned about the horrible conditions and social oppression that people with disabilities have to endure in our world.

  268. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm |

    And where did I blame or shame or call anyone “shitty”? Perhaps you’ve misattributed someone else’s words on here to me?

    That’s the context of this discussion, because that’s precisely what others arguing your position have been doing. I’m glad to hear you don’t agree.

    I just believe that the abortion of fetuses with cognitive impairments that do not actively cause pain or suffering reflects at the very least ableist attitudes in society.

    Is this a hypothetical, or are we talking about an actual prenatal screening the results of which regularly cause women to choose abortion? Because if it’s the former, I’m not going to waste any time at all worrying about it.

    Many people are saying that the incredibly high rate of DS ejections are reasonable due to the health risks, but not due to widespread ableism in society. Would you be opposed to laws to force the medical profession to only disclose those health risks instead of reporting DS?

    Of course I would. The government has no place regulating what my doctor may and may not tell me. And my doctor has no place withholding information from tests I have submitted to from me. What kind of paternalistic bullshit is this? You don’t get to make these decisions for other people.

    Would you be opposed to outlawing the reporting of prenatal tests that lead to eugenic like consequences?

    Of course I would. Again, the government doesn’t get to interfere in the conversation between me and my doctor. But these tests you speak of–the ones for height and hair color and handedness–they don’t exist. And they don’t exist for a number reasons, but one of them is that prospective parents don’t give a shit. Again, your eugenics fever-dream is based on the proposition that pregnant women are abortion-happy maniacs, just aching for a reason to get that D&C. It’s a profoundly misogynistic view, and it has nothing to do with reality.

  269. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    Jill @ 172

    So I disagree that looking at women’s reasons for abortion is a violation of personal autonomy, or that it’s reflective of a desire to deny women their rights to bodily integrity. I disagree that it’s simple. I think it’s a very complicated, and very important, conversation to have if we actually want women to have a full range of rights and choices.

    You state quite clearly “that looking at women’s reasons for abortion is a violation of personal autonomy.” I didn’t write those words – YOU did. I am not sure how you can read it any other way, that because you want to gather information about abortion (none of your business) that you don’t think it’s a violation of personal autonomy to gather that information. Gathering this information without permission without consent of a patient does violate the laws of the United States. When you say “that looking at women’s reasons for abortion is a violation of personal autonomy” that tends to mean for some readers that it’s okay to gather this information regardless of whether a women wants to release this information.

    As for the studies out there on Abortion, as long as there is consent, I have no issues for them.

    I see no value in abortion studies because I believe a women has a right to get an abortion for what ever reason — even if it’s Tuesday and there is a blue sky or a direct health risk for women and or anything inbetween. It’s a personal choice –

    You said that you aren’t judging women who have abortions but you pointed out that women might have abortions because of gender or other social concerns (Do I like it no, but it’s not my body, it’s not my life, and it’s not my choice)- Yes, it happens, and yes there needs to be education, knowing the number is not important – These women made choices for her self for reasons that are personal.

  270. sophiefair
    sophiefair February 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm |

    Chiara,

    I mean this sincerely, no snark. Why would/does the idea of aborting a fetus because it has a condition that causes extreme pain and suffering make you feel bad? Does the idea of abortion, in general, make you feel bad?

  271. Adaquinn
    Adaquinn February 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    I’m surprised how often the term ‘eugenics’ is used to limit a woman’s reproductive choices. It seems to be a favored tactic of those looking for a reason to outlaw abortion or contraceptives.

    Down’s Syndrome is not typically inheritable. So by aborting a fetus with the disorder they are not ‘wiping out’ Down’s Syndrome. They are making a choice based on what’s best for them and their family.

    In my opinion, giving women reproductive rights doesn’t mean giving it only when I agree with their action. It means that I trust that most women are intelligent enough to make decisions for themselves about their lives.

    As far as prenatal screening is concerned, I believe it is a valuable medical tool. It gives women and their doctors information about what is happening with the health of a fetus. What a woman chooses to do with that information is no one else’s business.

  272. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |

    Seriously, people, can we just stop with the eugenics isht? There is NO SUCH FUCKING THING AS A EUGENIC-LIKE CONSEQUENCE of a person’s decision to have an abortion.

    Individuals can’t do eugenics. That requires policies, governments, institutions and systems. There is no single person’s abortion that is a eugenic act. Even 20, or 200 people all getting abortions for the same reason, and that reason is a positive (Genetic Condition of Your Choice) test, that is STILL NOT EUGENICS.

    And considering that *actual* eugenic policies have been enacted on marginalized people, without their consent OR knowledge, right here in the US, right up through the 1980s, I find it OFFENSIVE AS ALL FUCKING HELL to frame a person’s reproductive autonomy as “eugenic” in any way, shape or form.

    FFS

  273. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    @sophiefair:

    Oh, and to whichever asshole it was who brought up the social model of disability — talk about fucking patronizing. I read the research, the blogs, almost anything i can get my hands on. My own disability is both physical and socially constructed. But at the end of the day, it’s the pain that gets me, not the social limits.

    I was one of the people who brought up the social model of disability. I do care a lot about these issues because I’ve been close to a lot of people who are disabled as well as myself dealing with several conditions: depression, social anxiety, some sexual dysfunction, scoliosis, and a pretty severe, congential, incurable skin condition nobody has heard of called ILVEN. And yes, these conditions have caused me a lot of suffering. For example, my skin condition is extremely itchy and painful. That’s not socially constructed. However my skin condition is also “ugly” and I believe that this is socially constructed. I blame society for shaming me for my skin condition, including even some of the doctors (!) who were trying to “help” me with it when I was a little kid. As a result of this trauma, I have avoided getting sufficient medical treatment for the condition, which has made the pain worse than it would be otherwise, so society is at least partially to blame for my physical pain as well.

    All that said, I’m not an expert, at all, on the theoretical aspects of disability or the empirical research regarding various disability issues. I’m a firm believer in the social model of disability because what I have heard of it makes sense to me, but I doubt I’ve read the same extent of blogs or research that you have. I definitely wasn’t trying to patronize you or anyone else who believes that the majority of suffering caused by their disability is inherent rather than social in origin. I just feel like the social aspects of disability don’t get enough focus in the overall discourse, so that’s what I like to bring up. And I think bringing it up is important in fighting back against the oppression of disabled people. But I would never try to define anyone else’s reality for them. If the problem for you is the inherent pain, the problem for you is the inherent pain.

    BTW sophiefair, I totally agree with you that a woman has an absolute right to an abortion at any time for any reason. Period. And I agree that this topic is very important and so is the topic of how Santorum is an asshat for getting in the way of reproductive rights. I only started talking about disability on this thread because certain people started saying things that, in my opinion, were horribly ableist and offensive and also not even necessary for fighting against this forced birth bullshit. So in my mind, I haven’t been derailing: I’ve been trying to fight back against the ableist derails of people like LeftSidePositive and Abby Spice, on the one hand, and the forced birth, “ZOMG eugenics!!1!” derails of Mike Sullivan, on the other hand.

  274. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |

    @MadGastromoner and @matlun

    I feel like I’ve probably already gone on too long about my views on disability. Disability issues shouldn’t even have anything to do with this thread since the main issue here is that every woman has an absolute right to make whatever fully informed choice about her body she wants and Rick Santorum is trying to get in the way of that. Basically, I was just trying to get certain people to shut up in regard to some of the ableist, irrelevant, derailing stuff they were saying, but they clearly preferred to double down than shut up, so whatever. I can’t control what they choose to say. I’m not an expert on any of this anyway. If you want to know more about what I was saying (probably explained more eloquently than I’m able to) just google “social model of disability.”

  275. Stella McLeod
    Stella McLeod February 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

    William said, “We do not, as a society, provide for intellectually disabled people. I want desperately to see that change, but until it does I just don’t think its moral fair conscionable ethical to demand that they live lives of suffering and privation in the name of political correctness or moral rectitude. “

    How would aborting babies with Down syndrome encourage other people to change their behaviour towards born people with Down syndrome? We don’t become kinder, patient and more compassionate just because someone tells us to, but because we have the opportunity to practice these virtues.

    I think a lot of women have abortions out of FEAR, whether it be fear for the future, of what others think, fear of suffering etc. How about replacing fear with HOPE and LOVE. Try reading the stories of women who CHOSE life for their babies. Oftentimes the prognosis wasn’t as bad as doctors made out, but even when it was there are usually no regrets for choosing love over fear.

  276. Stella McLeod
    Stella McLeod February 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    IrishUp said, “Individuals can’t do eugenics. That requires policies, governments, institutions and systems. “

    Policies, governments, institutions and systems rely on individuals who knowingly or unknowingly carry out eugenic acts, one act at a time – or in this case one termination at a time.

    As I said before – do your own research. This has absolutely nothing to do with women’s rights, it is primarily about reducing the number of people with disabilities in order to save money. Or in the case of those who develop the antenatal screening tests, it is about making money. Feminists, this is NOT about YOU!

  277. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    God. Just re-read my last comment (it’s in mod). When I said a woman has “right to make any fully informed choice” I meant a woman has a right to make any choice, period, and she also has a right to have whatever information she desires in the pursuit of making this choice. Sorry for the ambiguity. Definitely wasn’t coming out in favor of forcing women to have sonograms or undergo bogus counseling or that sort of shit.

  278. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm |

    EG,

    Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve heard good things about Homage to Catalonia before, but “one of the most moving things I have ever read” is high praise worth mulling over, especially considering the source. I think I’ll put Catalonia on my list of things to read.

  279. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

    As I said before – do your own research. This has absolutely nothing to do with women’s rights, it is primarily about reducing the number of people with disabilities in order to save money. Or in the case of those who develop the antenatal screening tests, it is about making money. Feminists, this is NOT about YOU!

    I find it ironic that someone who is prodding people to “do [their] own research” is opposed to women knowing the genetic attributes of their own fetuses. You are clearly all about people being as informed as possible, Ms. McLeod. /sarcasm/

    Also, I’m pretty sure a woman has a right to medical information concerning her own body and a right to act on that information so I’m unsure as to how this has “nothing to do with women’s rights.” Just because you want those rights to be taken away doesn’t mean those rights don’t exist. Finally, many feminists here have said that when they get pregnant, they want to be able to find out if their fetus will be born with Down’s Syndrome, and if so, abort it. So it is about feminists–it’s about their right to bodily autonomy, it’s about their right to know as much as possible about their potential children, and it’s about their right to act on that future knowledge without being harassed by Christianist theocrats that are trying to take over our government.

  280. Adaquinn
    Adaquinn February 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm |

    This has absolutely nothing to do with women’s rights, it is primarily about reducing the number of people with disabilities in order to save money. Or in the case of those who develop the antenatal screening tests, it is about making money. Feminists, this is NOT about YOU!

    Oh? So this isn’t about the choices that women make about their health care? This isn’t about how people shouldn’t have a medical test performed to discover LIFE ALTERING and potentially LIFE SAVING information? This is just about us silly ole girls making things all about us?

    When people tell women what they can or cannot do with their bodies and lives, it’s a feminist issue.

    Also, talking about doing your research, amniocentesis can be used to discover all sorts of things that are not about genetic disorders, such as Rh incompatibility and predicting lung maturation. So it’s not just about killing fetus’ to save a dime.

  281. matlun
    matlun February 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

    I mean, what about the apparent 10% of women who choose to have a amniocentesis, learn their fetus will be born with Down’s, and choose to give birth anyway? (not sure if this stat is true or not, but it was brought up earlier in the thread, and I’ll assume it’s true for the state of argument). Do you think this choice is “unethical?” Because I would consider such a judgment an inappropriate shaming of women for their sovereign reproductive choices.

    I for one am leaning towards considering this unethical and I do not consider it inappropriate to have an opinion on this matter.

    As a general point, of course everyone makes moral judgments about the behavior of others, and saying anything else would just be dishonest. (That I am not strongly committed to a position on this specific question does not really change the principle).

    There is a difference between making a judgment and forcing that judgment upon the person in question. The right to make the decision is still a case of basic bodily autonomy.

    I see this as similar to free speech. That I 100% support the principle of free speech does not mean that I have to think that whatever you say is good.

  282. Chiara
    Chiara February 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

    Is this a hypothetical, or are we talking about an actual prenatal screening the results of which regularly cause women to choose abortion? Because if it’s the former, I’m not going to waste any time at all worrying about it.

    Well I’ve lost track of whose post I was replying to and so forth, but no, that was hypothetical. I think I was responding to someone’s suggestion that it would be a good thing to abort fetuses with any disability.

    I mean this sincerely, no snark. Why would/does the idea of aborting a fetus because it has a condition that causes extreme pain and suffering make you feel bad? Does the idea of abortion, in general, make you feel bad?

    Well it’s difficult for me to answer really, because propositions such as these always make me wonder whether I would have been aborted as a fetus due to some judgement of how much I would suffer and be in pain if I were to be born.

    But no, abortion in general does not make me feel bad. Though sometimes the reasons it’s carried out does. Anyway, I don’t think I can really think straight when I talk about this subject.

    1. LeftSidePositive
      LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

      Well it’s difficult for me to answer really, because propositions such as these always make me wonder whether I would have been aborted as a fetus due to some judgement of how much I would suffer and be in pain if I were to be born.

      In all seriousness, so what? It is utterly logically incoherent to project your own conscious perspective and self-valuation of how you are NOW to whether or not you would have been born. No one is entitled to be born. No one “misses out” for not having been born, because they have no brain with which to miss out. If some other sperm had reached your egg a different person would have been born. Has that hypothetical person “missed out” on life? Do we mourn the estimated 1-2 zygotes that were likely to have been conceived (assuming most averages hold up, but stats are inconclusive on this point) but not implanted in your mother before you implanted?

      What you’re looking at is “My opinion on not existing…” Well, the very possibility of having an opinion is predicated on you existing in order to have that opinion, so the only way your brain can resolve that is thinking of DYING which it naturally finds upsetting, but that’s not at all what we’re talking about here.

      Look, I’m not at all meaning to diminish your intelligence in saying you’re being irrational about this–human brains are inherently egocentric, it’s how they work and somehow we just can’t get them not to be. When I die (which I intend to be MANY decades from now), I’m planning to donate my body to science, and I’ve often amused myself thinking of clever little pranks to play on my future dissecting medical students (morbid, I know, but strangely hilarious!). My brain sums up the scene like this:

      Involuntary thought: “Oh, and then I’ll be sure to include this really snarky comment on my patient history…oh, how I’ll love to see the looks on their faces!!!”

      And then my intentional thought processes try to take over the situation: “You know, self, you won’t be around to see the looks on their faces. You’ll be DEAD. That’s what being dead means, you know! Your ability to provide running commentary on what goes on in the world will have ceased, and no you can never find out what they’ll say (or if the medical school will actually even pass on your snarky comments!)”

      Involuntary thought: “But they’ll love my snarky comments! If they don’t I’ll be really, really mad!”

      Intentional thought: “No you won’t, you’ll be dead. We’ve been over this. The world will go on, but you won’t be in it anymore.”

      INV: “But, but…the world exists as my representation of all my sensory inputs! How can the world go on without MEEEEE?!?!?!?”

      INT: “Um, precisely the same as it had been going on prior to the mid-1980s?”

      INV: “But that’s different! That’s HISTORY! History is all sepia-toned and iconic and skips all the boring parts to go straight to what’s politically relevant and/or violent! But now we’re in reality! Reality is really great–it all comes together as I experience it, it’s intimately intertwined with my opinions on it, and plus you can pretty much always see my pert little nose in the bottom of the field of view!!”

      INT: “Wait, so…self…when you’re imagining these freaked-out medical students, you’re totally visualizing it with your nose in the middle of the picture, aren’t you!”

      INV: “Well, of course I am! All things worth happening happen with my nose juuuuust visible!”

      INT: “So you’re simultaneously imagining your nose at the bottom of the visual AND attached to the body on the dissection table?!”

      INV: “Oh….um…but that’s not the point! The point is they’re going to stand there with their little eyebrows perking up above the dissection goggles and oh how I’m going to laaaaauuuugh!!!!”

      INT: “No you won’t.”

      INV: “Yes I will! It’s going to be hilarious!”

      INT: “It may very well be hilarious, but you won’t laugh.”

      INV: “But I always laugh when things are hilarious!”

      INT: “But you won’t be there!!”

      INV: “But it’s gonna happen! And my reacting to things when they happen is totally the best part!”

      INT: “But it’s gonna happen to THEIR internal experiences, with THEIR noses in the middle of THEIR views!!”

      INV: “But I’ll totally have something to say about it!”

      INT: “NO, you won’t. You will be very, very quiet. Can you imagine, just for a minute, not having any thoughts, and not having any opinions?”

      INV: “Of course not! As soon as I go too long without any thought I have an opinion about how boring that is!”

      INT: “Look, why don’t you just go back to fueling my desire for food, sleep, and sex, and leave all the planning to me?”

      INV: “But it’s so much fun!!!”

      INT: “But you make no fucking sense!!! Please, just be quiet for now, and if you don’t distract me too much I’ll let you listen to the Beatles later…”

      And so on…

      ***

      So, yeah, I get what you’re saying. The world just doesn’t exist without you in it. I’ve been there, really. But that’s not how we make ethical judgments, because our internal realities are not actually what reality is.

  283. Donna L
    Donna L February 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm |

    Ben, I haven’t read Homage to Catalonia in many years, but I second what EG says. It’s a great book — one of my introductions to anti-Stalinism when I was young, and, along with books like The Road to Wigan Pier and Down and Out in Paris and London and quite a few of his essays (not to mention 1984), the primary source of my admiration for Orwell. Even though I’ve been highly embarrassed by the way that so many neo-conservatives have been listing him as their hero for the last 30 years, and claiming that he’d be one himself if he were alive today, largely, I guess, based on Animal Farm. All of which is absurd and insulting, I think; he was always part of the left and identified as a democratic socialist.

  284. sophiefair
    sophiefair February 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

    No, Stella, it’s not about “saving money” through having fewer people with Downs. For fuck’s sake, we’re talking about Rick Santorum. It’s about denying women information and choices, with the nice side benefit that it saves insurance companies money, because they don’t pay for prenatal screening. And they don’t have to cover the child that is born later, because, well, pre-existing conditions…

    Thank Maude I live in Canada!

    Oh, and when we are talking about what happens to MY body, damn straight it’s about ME.

  285. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm |

    I for one am leaning towards considering this unethical and I do not consider it inappropriate to have an opinion on this matter.

    Really, that’s probably a little harsh for Down’s…there’s a good chance for a decent life, as long as someone makes a commitment to doing their best to provide as good a life as possible, I really can’t fault them for trying (even if I’d make a different ethical judgement about the situation myself).

    And, yeah, I do agree that we judge the behavior of others and if we say we don’t we’re probably lying…I just think at the least we should try to weigh risks, benefits, rights, and values and try to come up with a coherent opinion. Since this does involve the welfare of a non-consenting person, it’s fair game for discussion, but I don’t think it’s at the point where we can be categorical about it, and it certainly doesn’t rise to the level (in my view) of denouncing someone who’d make a different choice.

    In contrast, with something like Tay-Sachs, that really DOES lead to a doomed life of nothing but helplessness, seizures, pain, suffering, choking on saliva until an inevitable death…then, yes, I’ll be pretty outspoken that while I have to let a parent make that decision themselves, I’m pretty damn horrified by putting someone through that, and there’s really no ethical justification for it.

  286. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    Sohiefair @ 317.

    Its about money, do your research – see http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/benefitstopics/topics/purchasers/condition_specific/evidencestatements/neuraltubecefects_es.pdf

    “The economic benefit of prenatal screening is defined as the averted cost from preventing the birth of a child with a chromosomal abnormality or NTD. These averted costs include savings from the direct costs of medical, developmental, and special education services as well as the indirect costs associated with lost productivity due to morbidity and mortality.”

  287. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

    How would aborting babies with Down syndrome encourage other people to change their behaviour towards born people with Down syndrome?

    The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Changing the behavior towards born people with Down syndrome is a very worthy goal, and I give you my very best wishes for it, but you don’t get to hijack other people’s pregnancies to do it (not that it would even help, anyway).

    Oftentimes the prognosis wasn’t as bad as doctors made out,

    Well, I’m happy for them–but understand that is a risk that was taken. You have every right to take that risk, but that risk may be unacceptable to someone else.

    but even when it was there are usually no regrets

    No regrets for whom? The parent? They’re not the only experience that matters, you know…

    for choosing love over fear.

    You know, many parents choose to abort an unhealthy pregnancy PRECISELY BECAUSE they love their potential children, and they don’t want them to suffer. You are utterly wrong to cast “fear” as though it’s this unhinged reaction, as opposed to a reasonable weighing of unacceptable risks with the potential for real harm to a non-consenting person.

  288. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

    For the record, for those who jump to conclusions, here is Savingdowns postion statement on antenatal screening:

    We acknowledge that people with Down syndrome have an inalienable right to life from the moment of their conception until natural death, a right to be free from discrimination, and a right to be treated on an equal basis with all.

    • People with Down syndrome are loved and valued members of their families. They lead full and satisfying lives, make positive and valuable contributions to society and enrich the lives of those around them.

    • We welcome babies, children and adults with Down syndrome.

    • We oppose any form of antenatal screening and diagnostic testing that targets and prevents the birth of unborn children with Down syndrome, or causes harm to any unborn child.

    • We acknowledge that for some, antenatal screening and diagnostic testing may reassure parents or help some parents prepare for the birth of a child with Down syndrome. We believe that any antenatal screening and diagnostic testing must respect the life and integrity of the unborn child, cause no harm, be only directed towards safeguarding or healing the unborn child and be presented in a way that does not discriminate against people with Down syndrome.

    Basically we celebrate and embrace human diversity and dignity with unconditional love.

  289. Stella McLeod
    Stella McLeod February 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

    Sophie, I have been researching this for the past couple of years. It is about money.

    Ask yourself why Down syndrome in particular is targeted? It is because It is relatively common and on average people with Down syndrome not only have an easily detected chromosome but also have relatively long lives. Sure along the way they pick up the rarer, usually short lived, Trisomies 18 and 13 and a few other conditions, but it wouldn’t be worth going to the expense of having a free screening programme that is offered to every pregnant woman, regardless of age (as we now have in New Zealand) if there wasn’t an even larger foreseeable saving on medical educational and welfare expenses. There are research papers that explicitly state this.

    With very early antenatal screening, some of the babies detected would have naturally miscarried. Now women will be persuaded to “terminate” instead, which poses additional risks to her health and the health of future children since abortion increases the risk of premature delivery for future babies.

    No one can guarantee that any child will be born perfectly healthy or stay that way.

  290. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm |

    @Mike, 320, soooo, just because some parties have a financial interest that precludes any and all other considerations, perspectives, and needs?

    You know, the fact that the grocery store makes money selling you food does not mean that your hunger is a delusion imposed on you by Corporate America.

  291. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

    We acknowledge that people with Down syndrome have an inalienable right to life from the moment of their conception

    NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO LIFE FROM THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION.

    NOT ONE SINGLE FUCKING ZYGOTE EVER.

    Why the fuck do you think that just by virtue of having an extra chromosome 21, some zygotes should get a special entitlement to hijack a woman’s body independent of her desires???

    The rest of your arguments, all predicated on this inherent abhorrent violation of women’s rights, fail miserably and are utterly irredeemable.

  292. H
    H February 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

    @lotusben
    The ramifications of having severe mental or physical impairments are not made up. While it is definitely good to educate people about disabilities, it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that people are being “ableist” because they never thought to build ramps and such until someone who needed one spoke up about it. They didn’t build the ramps because they never thought of it because they don’t live that kind of life! You know that doors in public buildings in the United States open outwards in places that are high traffic areas because of specific regulations.

    Do you want to know what prompted such rules? A horrific fire in a club back in the early twentieth-century where doors opened inward and created choke points and turned the club into a death trap! No one thought about this until after something like this happened. There is no “ism” involved here. If anything the only thing involved here is run of the mill human stupidity and shortsightedness.

    About ten years ago I was watching a program on people with profound deafness. During the program it came up that some parents were thinking about getting their child an operation or some other device to enable hearing. Some people actually tried to argue that the operation should not be done because then the child wouldn’t be part of Deaf Culture. Would you consider this ethical?

    The issues should be how effective and safe the device or procedure is, and finally the person who would be receiving the implant should be given the choice to hear or remain deaf. Of course the tricky thing here is that you would have to have them actively experience hearing before they could make an informed choice.

    What about something like Cerebral Palsy particularly an instance where the individual is wheelchair bound; would you consider it ethical to induce CP to make sure that the child is bound to a wheelchair because the parents think it is awesome or a source of identity for them? (Treating Cerebral Palsy is not a simple matter either. Though thankfully the treatment methods have been improving over the years.)

  293. EG
    EG February 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

    Donna:

    All of which is absurd and insulting, I think; he was always part of the left and identified as a democratic socialist.

    Right? RIGHT? News flash, neo-conservatives: condemning the CP is not the same thing as being right-wing! It is perfectly possible to criticize and loathe the Soviet regime from a leftist perspective. For God’s sake, Emma Goldman was doing it back in the 1920s, and nobody runs around holding her up as some kind of conversion-on-the-road-to-Damascus type! In fact, I’ve never met a single leftist who thought that the USSR did a swell job–anarchists have always had some pretty obvious conflicts with Marxists, and the Marxists I have known loathed the USSR for its abridgement of human rights and creation of a new ruling class (some of them did have some fairly silly, at least to my mind, debates, over whether it was a “degenerate” workers’ state or a “deformed” workers’ state).

    Stella MacLeod:

    How would aborting babies with Down syndrome encourage other people to change their behaviour towards born people with Down syndrome? We don’t become kinder, patient and more compassionate just because someone tells us to, but because we have the opportunity to practice these virtues.

    Yeah, well, it’s not my job to produce people for you to practice on if I don’t want to. Here’s a thought, though: why don’t you go around gouging men’s eyes out, so all us sighted people can work out becoming kinder, patient, and more compassionate toward blind people. Oh, because men have the right to control what happens to their bodies, and inflicting an unwanted condition on them would be wrong? Funny, because the same is true for women.

    matlun:

    I for one am leaning towards considering this unethical and I do not consider it inappropriate to have an opinion on this matter.

    It is of course your right to have an opinion, but I find this particular one noxious. Another woman has a much better insight into her situation, desires, and values than I do, and whether she aborts or carries to term under any circumstances is not a decision I am prepared to pass judgment on.

    Mike:

    We acknowledge that people with Down syndrome have an inalienable right to life from the moment of their conception

    And that’s where you become misogynist creeps. Nobody, no clump of cells, no combination of DNA, has a right to use my body against my will, whether it has three 21 chromosomes or 2.

    Basically we celebrate and embrace human diversity and dignity with unconditional love.

    Except the diversity and dignity of women who might think of herself has having qualities, experiences, and desires that are more important than her status has a baby-making machine, right? To them you proffer the unconditional love of forced pregnancy and birth.

    Stella MacLeod:

    Ask yourself why Down syndrome in particular is targeted? It is because It is relatively common and on average people with Down syndrome not only have an easily detected chromosome but also have relatively long lives.

    Yes, that’s exactly why people choose to abort fetuses who would develop Down’s Syndrome. We’re all doing our best to save money for insurance companies. That is the metric by which I make all my reproductive decisions. You caught me.

    Now women will be persuaded to “terminate” instead, which poses additional risks to her health and the health of future children since abortion increases the risk of premature delivery for future babies.

    That’s a load of bullshit. Absolutely no negative medical consequences have ever been demonstrated for abortion. It is, for instance, far, far safer for women than childbirth.

    No one can guarantee that any child will be born perfectly healthy or stay that way.

    So, what’s your point? Because we can’t get all the information we should get any of it? How does that make any logical sense whatsoever?

    You know, the fact that the grocery store makes money selling you food does not mean that your hunger is a delusion imposed on you by Corporate America.

    Thank you, LSP, and quoted for truth. The whole reason lots of industries are able to make money is because we actually need the things they’re selling. That’s one of the ways it works.

  294. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm |

    325 – I’m sensing anger, not love…

  295. Stella McLeod
    Stella McLeod February 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

    NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO LIFE FROM THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION.
    NOT ONE SINGLE ******* ZYGOTE EVER.

    We were all once zygotes, embryos, fetuses, neonates, infants etc.
    Humans reproduce and produce humans.

    Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says,
    “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

    I see no one has answered my earlier question at #254 on “how one mysteriously goes from being a non-person before birth to being a person at birth. “

  296. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer February 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

    Because birth is the point at which personhood begins. Simple!

  297. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |

    I see no one has answered my earlier question at #254 on “how one mysteriously goes from being a non-person before birth to being a person at birth. “

    Because we considered it so embarrassingly obvious as to be unworthy of reply. The mysterious change from non-person before birth to person after birth is called “birth.” It’s the process by which the fetus is separated from its mother’s body and is therefore physiologically independent, such that it is then capable of interacting with the world without directly imposing upon its mother’s health, and can therefore have rights of its own without violating its mother’s. This is not complicated.

  298. Blue Jean
    Blue Jean February 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

    We were all once zygotes, embryos, fetuses, neonates, infants etc.

    And someday we’ll all be corpses too, but I don’t see the anti-choice folks demanding a stop to autopsies, cremations or burials.

    I see no one has answered my earlier question at #254 on “how one mysteriously goes from being a non-person before birth to being a person at birth.

    Because we celebrate birthdays, not conception days, and have birth certificates, not conception certificates.

  299. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm |

    Maybe the heading of the blog needs to be changed. What he said was, according to your own quote is:

    “People have a right to do it, but to have the government force people to provide it free just is a bit loaded”.

  300. sophiefair
    sophiefair February 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

    All screening has economic benefits! That does not mean that this debate is “about” money in any important sense –unless you think that each pregnant woman is doing a cost-analysis for society as a whole when she chooses what to do with her body. Or do you think that we have all been brain-washed by the radical prenatal screening cabal?

    And Stella, my position is fairly radical, but I don’t believe that anything that is in my body has any rights over it. Period. No real woman ever decides to abort at the very last minute anyway, but if such a person existed, I would still support her right to choose what happens to her body. Or do you believe that we should be compelled to donate organs and such?

  301. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm |

    “Feminists used to demand the right to control our own bodies; what we got was the duty to submit our bodies to the control of others. Much of what is done to women in the name of health has no rationale beyond control. As soon as the possibility of looking inside the pregnant woman came into being ulttrasound was applied by every agency. Peering into the conceptus itself has no effect whatever on its viability or pregnancy outcome, but is now routine. The pregnant woman who refuses to prsent herself for her regular scans is delinquent in her duty to herself and to her baby. Knowing more about her pregnancy should have empowered her, but on fact it did the opposite. Her womb is transparent to the techician, not to her. She willingly abrogates the power that knwoledge gives in order to remain in ignorance.
    Helarh professionals want to look into the womb simply becasue they can. In their eagerness to ward off the disasters that might ensue if the woman is left to her own devices they have over-diagnosed congenital defects and turned unproblematic pregnancies into mightmares of anxiety…..” Germain Greer-The Whole Woman. Couldn’t agree more. As I say, it’s time for the vulgar, anti-women “feminists” among you to get yourselves updated on valuing and supporting women to resist this slide into divorcing yourselves from true womanhood by letting the medical profession take over. Time to support women in a more authentic way. You’re losing it by re-hashing these outdated, damaging phrases. Take back some control and trust your bodies-you sound so frightened of them and everything feminie that is natural and to be celebrated (including giving birth to less-than-perfect babies; despite what the medics and an increasingly sterile society want women to do) is part of the new feminism. We made mistakes back in the 60s and caused untold damage to women-time to change.

  302. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm |

    “Feminists used to demand the right to control our own bodies; what we got was the duty to submit our bodies to the control of others. Much of what is done to women in the name of health has no rationale beyond control. As soon as the possibility of looking inside the pregnant woman came into being ulttrasound was applied by every agency. Peering into the conceptus itself has no effect whatever on its viability or pregnancy outcome, but is now routine. The pregnant woman who refuses to prsent herself for her regular scans is delinquent in her duty to herself and to her baby. Knowing more about her pregnancy should have empowered her, but on fact it did the opposite. Her womb is transparent to the techician, not to her. She willingly abrogates the power that knwoledge gives in order to remain in ignorance.
    Helarh professionals want to look into the womb simply becasue they can. In their eagerness to ward off the disasters that might ensue if the woman is left to her own devices they have over-diagnosed congenital defects and turned unproblematic pregnancies into mightmares of anxiety…..” Germain Greer-The Whole Woman. Couldn’t agree more.

    1. LeftSidePositive
      LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 12:08 am |

      Peering into the conceptus itself has no effect whatever on its viability or pregnancy outcome, but is now routine. The pregnant woman who refuses to prsent herself for her regular scans is delinquent in her duty to herself and to her baby. Knowing more about her pregnancy should have empowered her, but on fact it did the opposite. Her womb is transparent to the techician, not to her. She willingly abrogates the power that knwoledge gives in order to remain in ignorance.
      Helarh professionals want to look into the womb simply becasue they can.

      For my cousin, who was discovered to have a major congenital heart defect via ultrasound, and who had the benefit of neonatal cardiothoracic surgeons standing by upon the occasion of his C-section and thus was able to survive what would have killed him in minutes without immediate intervention, and who is now a happy and healthy 10-year-old instead of a rotting corpse, and for his mother and father who wanted this pregnancy dearly and who knew what to expect and had the support and guidance of top medical professionals throughout the pregnancy and after, I would sincerely like to say: FUCK YOU, YOU POMPOUS SELF-RIGHTEOUS PIECE OF POSTMODERN SHIT.

      Yeah, all these fucking platitudes sound great when the world is one big metaphor and nothing has any real meaning beyond your own immutable consciousness, but this sort of shit is really damned insulting when you devalue real people’s lives and pretend your metaphorical grandiosity is more important than the actual lived effects of the tools real people need to empower themselves to make a better life for themselves and their families.

  303. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 12:02 am |

    Peering into the conceptus itself has no effect whatever on its viability or pregnancy outcome, but is now routine. The pregnant woman who refuses to prsent herself for her regular scans is delinquent in her duty to herself and to her baby.

    In general, I find Greer unimpressive, and this excerpt is no exception. I won’t delve into why, however, as I don’t think it has much to do with this conversation, which is about prenatal testing.

    Ultrasounds can give us rather important information about the physical development of the fetus, including the position of the placenta, which has not insignificant consequences for women’s health, multiple fetuses, which is significant to the health of both the pregnant woman and the resulting babies. So the contention that it adds nothing to what we need to know is, what’s the word, bullshit.

    Now, as to the second contention. I have not heard of any woman being forced into having an ultrasound, but I can easily believe it happens; pregnant women’s rights to their own bodies are abrogated all the time, and if that is happening, it is vile. But I have spent a while hanging out, on and off, with pregnant women, volunteering at a midwifery center, reading about women’s experiences of pregnancy, and I have not encountered any pressure on women to have ultrasounds if they don’t want to, and certainly not condemnations of them as “delinquent in their duty.” If that is what happened to you, I am sorry. But that’s no reason to withhold the test and the information it reveals from women who are not you and who want it.

  304. Azalea
    Azalea February 23, 2012 at 12:08 am |

    What the flying fuck?! Can we agree that a pregnant person has a right to abort for any damn reason she or he so chooses WITHOUT being ableist fucking pricks? Seriously!

    When you go saying bullshit about how a woman pregnant wth a disabled fetus should abort lest she be judged by you well you and your judgemental ass can kick rocks. It isn’t your fucking uterus, it isn’t your fucking fetus, it would not become your child when it is born and your life would not be effected so shut the fuck up already about shaming women who don’t have an abortion when you want them to, ableist jerk!

  305. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 23, 2012 at 12:08 am |

    Stella Mcleod, Mike: Did either of you read the article I posted? Because you guys, and the millions of back-to-the-fifties folks like you, are going to end up throwing an awful lot of babies out with the bathwater if amniocentesis is outlawed. As EG mentioned, there’s a lot amniocentesis detects *besides* Downs.
    But obviously, since Sarah Gale is a sinful woman who displeases God by writing,* her daughter should have died and a godly illiterate woman should have been gifted with a child with Down’s Syndrome? Is that how Christianity works these days?
    *Writing is probably the least of her sins. But I don’t think it’s my business to speculate.

  306. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 23, 2012 at 12:13 am |

    oh dear-i don’t mean to offend but you are naive and delusional if you don’t think woman are pressured to have screening. I have experienced it after refusing to have any tests what-so-ever for my third baby born after my baby with DS. My sister too was referred to-at age 41-by doctors and nurses as “the woman who refuses to have any tests.” We are a family of home-birthers and women who wean our babies to go to school. We relish being pregnant and for us; giving birth is a beautiful experience. We are in-tune with our bodies and most certainly wanted to take back control from the medics who have successfully brain-washed women (and in particular, “feminists”) to surrender themselves to “technology” with its hugely damaging effects on womanhood. But hey-carry on living in la-la land-its obviously where you feel safest but please let us women get on with being women.

  307. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 12:14 am |

    I want to point out that I am pretty surprised that many who call themselves feminists (and also those who love to point out spelling and grammar mistakes) aren’t more conscious of the dangerous word choices that are cropping up.

    Look, for better or worse, the bottom line here is that people with severe developmental/cognitive/intellectual disabilities are going to suffer in our society.

    Why use “suffer” instead of “be challenged”?

    Suffer:

    Experience or be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant).
    Be affected by or subject to (an illness or ailment).

    Challenge:

    something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort,

    Both can be considered accurate to some extent, but suffer has connotations of being miserable, eternal, inescapable. You suffer in hell. This word choice doesn’t leave room for ability of humans attenuate to their circumstances or even to rise above and prevail! And it also connotates an inherent quality to the “suffering”.

    I think “challenge” tells the real story, given that people with Down Syndrome don’t universally consider their lives full of suffering, that many lead full productive lives, and, maybe there’s nothing permanent about it:

    Knowledgeable medical care has helped raise average life expectancy for people with Down syndrome born in many developed countries today to around 60 years (up from 12 years in 1949) and increasing numbers now live beyond 70 years

    That’s a 600% life expectancy increase in 60 years! Maybe their “suffering” is society’s doing.. or not yet doing quite enough.

    Another poster here said this:

    My view is that disability is a bad thing and not something we should try to encourage. I would personally have an abortion if I knew that the baby would have a disability.

    This makes me understand why some people say “differently-abled” instead of “disabled”. I wouldn’t want to be characterized as “not something we should try to encourage”. Maybe you should listen to an expert on the subject:

    “Having Down syndrome is like being born normal. I am just like you and you are just like me. We are all born in different ways, that is the way I can describe it. I have a normal life.” – actor Chris Burke

    This same person above who views disability as “a bad thing”, goes on to say:

    I would certainly judge the hell out of someone whose baby would have a serious disorder, Tay-Sachs or a comparable disease, and didn’t have an abortion.

    That’s the closest thing to “shaming” pregnant women based on choice that we’ve seen on this thread. But, yet, somehow, because her position is in favor of having abortions, neither @EG nor @leftsidepositive have come out of the woodwork to castigate her with expletives. What happened to your intellectual consistency?

    Now, me being reasonable, I can understand the sentiment of her quote, and I don’t blame her. I just wish you would stop vilifying everyone here for having opinions that differ.

    But here’s another from the same post:

    I think we should do everything in our power to prevent children from being born with anything that will make life harder for them. Before anyone jumps in, no, I don’t include being short or being a minority or for that matter being a woman. I mean diseases, disorders, disabilities.

    Again, if I had something that I might call a disability, I would immediately stop calling it a disability. I think it’s a good idea to prevent children from being born with anything that will make life harder for them so long as I have influence over those things. But I definitely don’t think we all have to sit here and agree that when I can’t affect those things, my only option is to prevent them from being born. I can also allow them to be born with something that makes life more challenging and teach them to overcome that challenge. In my experience, challenges build character far more effectively than the lack of challenge, and people who overcome the greatest challenges, inspire the rest of us the most of all.

    And then, here’s @EG, with an unimaginative retort to one of my posts:

    But these tests you speak of–the ones for height and hair color and handedness–they don’t exist. And they don’t exist for a number reasons, but one of them is that prospective parents don’t give a shit.

    So you are saying that the development of tests for Down Syndrome resulted from consumer demand? Well, that’s just not how it came about… The money / industry explanation is closer to the mark.

    And guess what? These tests were introduced over 20 years ago. The life expectancy of a person with Down Syndrome in 1983 was 25 years old. Today it is 60. Think about that for a second. Really.. get your hand off the keyboard.. avoid the impulse to swear at me or label me as something no one here likes.. and really think about that.

    And why do you think those other tests don’t exist yet? Testing for extra chromosomes is a bit easier than cracking the code to the human genome, but that’s coming on pretty quickly.

    Continuing on…

    Again, your eugenics fever-dream is based on the proposition that pregnant women are abortion-happy maniacs, just aching for a reason to get that D&C. It’s a profoundly misogynistic view, and it has nothing to do with reality.

    I don’t think “abortion-happy maniacs” is anything close to anything I said. I find it unfair that you are labeling me as misogynistic for suggesting that people should be presented with the facts in the right way.

    You can’t ask someone’s age or marital status in a job interview because those things are not relevant to the decision being made, and they will lead to qualified applicants not having jobs. When it comes to testing fetuses for characteristics that they will have when they are adult humans, it is currently being presented in a dishonest manner and I personally think it causes more harm to prospective mothers than good. See my post way above about how its depiction of risk is misleading and irrational. It is essentially presenting only a sliver of the risk profile to expectant mothers. In any other context, this could be considered a scare tactic.

    And it certainly leads to negative side effects for the Down Syndrome community.

    Do people with Downs actually feel that having a lower rate of births of babies w/Downs (because of abortion, if that is indeed happening or may happen in the future) is an attack on them?

    Maybe you should try talking to them about it?

    The best comment on the thread is from @esti:

    I find this conversation so upsetting, because this is obviously a really emotional topic all-around and (most) people seem to be putting forward their own views in good faith, but everyone still ends up yelling FUCK YOU in all caps. And it just doesn’t seem necessary — I think there’s a lot of common ground on this issue, and very little actual disagreement.

  308. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 23, 2012 at 12:18 am |

    Left-side positive-I’m sure you can get help for your tourettes. You are aware I hope that there are gentic makers for tourettes and babies with tourettes are to be added to the pre-natal screening list and I know you’ll see that as a positive thing as it gives women even more choice. Good ;luck with your treatment.

  309. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    Suzy:

    As I say, it’s time for the vulgar, anti-women “feminists” among you

    (emphasis added)

    May I suggest you have a look at post #191? It offers a perspective I think you may find enlightening.

  310. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 23, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    @339 – I was quoting the original blog, simple really – repeating that statement, nothing else.

  311. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 12:26 am |

    But hey-carry on living in la-la land-its obviously where you feel safest but please let us women get on with being women.

    First of all, you dolt, I’m a woman. I am not offended by your use of the word “naive,” though your experience does not reflect the experiences I am familiar with. I am fairly contemptuous of your inability to entertain the notion that somebody who disagrees with you regarding childbirth could possibly be a woman herself. So take a minute and try to wrap your mind around the concept. I’ll be here when you get back.

    Ready? OK.

    Second of all, as I say, I’m very sorry you were pressured. I am on record in numerous threads advocating for the rights of pregnant women to maintain control over their pregnancies, births, and abortions. And how nice for you that you relish being pregnant and find birth a beautiful experience. However, just as it is in fact possible to be a woman and disagree with you, it is also possible–nay, common–for other women to have completely different experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, even for us not to want to be pregnant or give birth.

    I am a woman, and I hope to be a mother. But that is not the sum total of what it means to be me or what it means to be a woman, and I will not be giving birth until I am good and ready. Part of being a feminist is not disdaining other women for deciding that they do not wish to be at the mercy of random biological occurrences.

  312. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 12:35 am |

    Suzy, you play metaphors with my family’s life, and then you decide to get all prissy about my language? HOW DARE YOU pretend that life-saving medical care is just some unfeminine, metaphorical construct, and how dare you denigrate the people whose lives depend on it. I want you to know that what YOU have said is far, far more offensive than any amount of bleepable language I have uttered. There’s a moral difference between coloring a conversation and denigrating people’s lives.

    It’s totally great that you’re biologically able to give birth without medical assistance. I’m very happy for you. But without medical assistance, my mother would have been DEAD. I would have been DEAD. There was literally no chance of survival without a C-section, and she tried for over 24 hours. I’m not going to claim that my mother’s inability to give birth naturally was “socially constructed,” but for all those who seem to be unclear about what ableism is, Suzy is the EMBODIMENT of ableism: your body’s ability to give birth unaided does not make you a better person and does not impart moral value to your biology, and your gleeful opposition to social support and vital technology that saves people’s lives is disgusting.

  313. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 23, 2012 at 12:44 am |

    AM, how much do you know about Tay-Sachs? Not a great example for you to mention in support of your position that references to the “suffering” of disabled children should be should be rebranded as “challenges.”

    And why am I not surprised that someone like Suzy Dymock, with her essentialist plea to “let us women get on with being women” (apparently by birthing babies), would rely on the likes of Germaine Greer as her authority?

    EG, “unimpressive” is a very charitable way of describing Greer. The next time I see anything she wrote that isn’t bullshit will be the first.

  314. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 12:45 am |

    @AM So you plan on passing things off on the basis of a word game? Really. You further suggest that challenges build character, why should someone else have to bear a given extra special challenge because you think it builds character and results in inspiration.

  315. trees
    trees February 23, 2012 at 12:51 am |

    I see no one has answered my earlier question at #254 on “how one mysteriously goes from being a non-person before birth to being a person at birth. “

    @Stella McLeod
    Do you have access to a Bio 101 style course at your local university? MIT offers free open-courses online; here’s the link to their bio classes: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/#biology. A basic understanding of human reproduction is fundamental to cogent analysis of this issue.

  316. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 12:51 am |

    @DonnaL

    It has been repeated ad nausea on this thread that a woman’s choice is completely her choice and no one has any right to judge her about her choice. I was solely using it as an example of an exception that those commenters are making to their own hard and fast rule.

    You might have missed the following sentence:

    Now, me being reasonable, I can understand the sentiment of her quote, and I don’t blame her.

    But the rest of her quotes suggest that she’s only using Tay-Sachs to make her argument defensible, while leaving a backdoor (and possibly thinking to herself) for her to “judge” women who don’t abort in the face of other conditions.

  317. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 12:54 am |

    But, yet, somehow, because her position is in favor of having abortions, neither @EG nor @leftsidepositive have come out of the woodwork to castigate her with expletives. What happened to your intellectual consistency?

    If you look above, I believe I use some pretty strong language to matlun regarding judging women who bring babies with DS into the world, so try reading. Second of all, I didn’t castigate her because I agree when it comes to Tay-Sachs, which invariably leads to a torturous early death. I simply don’t consider it to be in the same category as Down’s Syndrome.

    Again, if I had something that I might call a disability, I would immediately stop calling it a disability.

    Well, that’s nice for you. I have a couple things that could fall into that category, if you like, and I wouldn’t. I have no problem calling my illnesses illnesses, because they are not challenges. They do not present me with some kind of special calling or any bullshit like that. They just make my life a lot harder than it needs to be.

    So you are saying that the development of tests for Down Syndrome resulted from consumer demand? Well, that’s just not how it came about… The money / industry explanation is closer to the mark.

    You’ll note that I used the clever phrase “one of” the reasons. It’s a complex phrase, so I can see how it would confuse you, but because I acknowledge that parents’ interests are but one of many reasons for DS tests, you cannot then logically claim that I am saying that the development of those tests came from consumer demand.

    And guess what? These tests were introduced over 20 years ago. The life expectancy of a person with Down Syndrome in 1983 was 25 years old. Today it is 60. Think about that for a second. Really.. get your hand off the keyboard.. avoid the impulse to swear at me or label me as something no one here likes.. and really think about that.

    No, I like swearing, so I don’t think I’m going to control that impulse, but I don’t feel the need to label you as something no one here likes. You’re doing a fine job of making that clear all by yourself.

    And I touch type, so I rest my fingers on the home keys even while not actively typing. So all in all, I don’t think I’ll be following your instructions. Now, do you have a citation for that 60-year figure? Because the study I found cited on cursory googling said that the average life-span was 49. As I’m sure you know, “average” means that half the people in the category being discussed will fall below that number.

    It’s very nice that life expectancy for people with Down’s Syndrome has gone up over the past 30 years. But when I make decisions, I base them on what’s happening, not on what I hope will happen.

    You can’t ask someone’s age or marital status in a job interview because those things are not relevant to the decision being made, and they will lead to qualified applicants not having jobs.

    Interestingly, my body is not a job opportunity, and I am not required to give anybody access to it. For instance, if I don’t want to have sex with somebody because he is white or has Down’s Syndrome or is Christian, there is nothing wrong with that, even though it is not acceptable to deny somebody a job because he is or is not white or Christian or has Down’s Syndrome. Bodies are not jobs. I am not required to give all applicants the same consideration, and I am allowed to consider all factors I find relevant. People have the right to be free from discrimination in the workplace. Fetuses do not have the right to use any woman’s body unless she wants to, so there really is nothing comparable about the two situations. So your fantasy of withholding info from pregnant women so that they’re more likely to make the choice you want them to make is manipulative, misogynist, paternalistic bullshit that has nothing whatsoever to do with job interviews.

    When it comes to testing fetuses for characteristics that they will have when they are adult humans, it is currently being presented in a dishonest manner and I personally think it causes more harm to prospective mothers than good.

    So, telling women that their fetuses are very likely to develop into babies with Down’s Syndrome is dishonest, but withholding that information from them is honest? That’s some pretty wild doublethink you’ve got going on there.

    Do people with Downs actually feel that having a lower rate of births of babies w/Downs (because of abortion, if that is indeed happening or may happen in the future) is an attack on them?

    You know what, though? I don’t care. Other people don’t get to vote on a pregnant woman’s decision whether or not to carry to term.

  318. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 12:56 am |

    @H

    Are you saying that semantics don’t matter? I would guess that 99.99% of feminists would disagree with you on that one.

    why should someone else have to bear a given extra special challenge because you think it builds character and results in inspiration.

    The “extra special challenge” is because of nature, not because of my thoughts. Do you know how the reproductive process works?

  319. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 12:58 am |

    EG, “unimpressive” is a very charitable way of describing Greer.

    What can I say? I spent the evening with my beloved godson, and I’m in an uncharacteristically good mood!

    I have a memory of Greer dismissing other women’s experiences of domestic violence, because hey, she slept with a “redneck” who was a perfect gentleman. She’s basically of the “I am ALL women” school of thought.

  320. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 1:10 am |

    I just want to add that I have never once found the whole “suffering builds character” bullshit to be accurate. What has built my character has been experiencing kindness and love, and caring for others. Feeling pain has never once done anything positive for me.

    As for challenge? Just…no. Reading Ulysses was a challenge–it pushed what I could then do and understand. Let me see, can I replace “suffering” with “challenge” in my experience?

    No. No, I can’t. The intense, chronic pain in my neck, shoulders, and upper back is not a challenge. It does not push me to expand my abilities and understanding. It just hurts and, on occasion, prevents me from doing things I want to do. The two terms are not interchangeable.

  321. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 1:11 am |

    Oh, and by the way, LotusBen?

    YOU ARE BEING A FUCKING POMPOUS DOUCHEBAG and I seriously suggest you reconsider your eagerness to label whatever rubs you the wrong way as “offensive” and “ableist” and “derailing” ESPECIALLY when people have gone to great pains to explain their positions to you, and then you–when you have NO valid argument left to make!!–just say “Also, I don’t want to give you an opportunity to challenge some of my basic assumptions about life and make me feel deeply uncomfortable.”

    THIS IS FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE. Please show some damn respect for the fact that we’ve gone to great lengths to communicate our thoughts to you, tried to clarify and support them with great thoroughness, because we value this discussion. Respecting does not mean you have to agree, and I’m not asking for the superficial respect of a certain tone–by all means, drop as many F-bombs as you like, but for fuck’s sake ENGAGE with the people you’ve attacked or don’t waste our fucking time. Just laughing it off by calling yourself lazy and expecting that to make everything okay DOES NOT CUT IT.

    You freely admit you’re attacking other posters because “It’s fun.” Yeah, well FUCK YOU. Seriously–you don’t even bother to read our arguments carefully enough to understand what we’re saying, you misrepresent us disgracefully, and even after we call you out on it you just say, oh, well, my emotions were triggered and “Sometimes it’s just more fun for me to be self-righteous and powerful than reflective and vulnerable.” Did it ever fucking occur to you that it’s not that fun for the person you’re maligning?! Especially when you say you’re not going to read us (although I have a sneaking suspicion you do) and then refer to people who are showing A FUCKING HELL of a lot more commitment to quality discussion than you IN THE THIRD PERSON as “ableist derailers”?!?!?

    Discussions about injustice should spring from an honest endeavor to solve problems in the world, not because someone gets a high out of throwing words around.

    You even admit you don’t even know that much about the social model of disability (but you tell US to google it?!), and yet you feel entitled to denigrate others’ contributions to the discussion. Guess what? I discussed the role of social construction IN MY FIRST FUCKING POST, to wit: “the suffering from disability is not…ENTIRELY socially constructed” and I then went on to discuss the vital importance of improved social services. I think that to any intellectually honest person reading that, I was making it clear that disability is the result of BOTH social constructs and inherent limitations. I’ve repeated the necessity of addressing all limitations amenable to social intervention several times. For you to then come in and say, “But there’s all this social discrimination!!!” is just plain fucking rude. I, Natalia, EG, and many others have gone to great lengths to describe how limitations in making one’s own decisions and understanding the world limits US AS PEOPLE, independent of society. If I cannot know what I need at the level I do now, I cannot be as empowered to make my own choices. No matter how much support or how much respect I have, if I can’t communicate when and exactly how I need help to another person, I am at a disadvantage, and my health, my happiness, and my life may be endangered. Why do you refuse to see this?

    Moreover, your insistence that intellectual disability IS ONLY socially constructed is fucking nonsense. Yes, society admires people who can save our lives, build our houses, and improve the safety of our food supply–this isn’t “ableism,” it’s the result of humanity’s essential need for food, shelter, and survival. You cannot call society’s dependence on its members’ abilities to keep themselves alive “socially constructed” with any honesty unless you are going to claim that the preferences for life over death, housing over exposure, or satiety over starvation, are mere social constructs. NO ONE is arguing that there’s not a lot of social prejudice, moralizing, discrimination, misplaced priorities, and apathy ON TOP OF THAT, and we all agree that needs to be fixed, but it’s insulting & uninspired to pretend that if we all just act more enlightened, fundamental human needs will go away.

    Then, you tell me that situations that I made clear that I HAVE PERSONALLY DEALT WITH in hospitals (and hospices, for that matter) are “misconceptions” and you declare yourself perfectly happy not to be bothered with the medical facts of a situation and yet you presume to excoriate others for what you claim is our ignorance!!!

    You know, one of the foundational sayings of bioethics is “Good ethics starts with good facts.” If you simply don’t care what your facts are, and you refuse to examine them when challenged, you are not going to be an ethical person. Period.

    I suggest you watch JT Eberhard on “Reason as a Moral Obligation”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fJPIDlDziI#t=04m37s

    And seriously consider how your behavior affects those around you, and the vital necessity of rationality in fulfilling good intentions.

    Moreover, I KNOW that you’re legally pro-choice. I’ve said and acknowledged as much. The point is THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The fact that you feel yourself entitled to malign those engaging in serious, reality-based ethical considerations, even though you say you respect our personal choices, is deceitful and contributes to the social pressures women face to ignore our own needs and to be fearful of making our own informed decisions. If we get shamed for *talking* about something someone finds unpleasant, and ze clings to zir offense regardless of the truth of our claims, how are we to be respected as independent moral agents (even if you’ll let us, technically, have our rights)?

    So, please, display more intellectual honesty with your posts, slow down and read what we are saying, and don’t prioritize your “fun” over the validity of discussion, or simply don’t post if you don’t care enough to be conscientious about it.

  322. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 1:18 am |

    I just want to add that I have never once found the whole “suffering builds character” bullshit to be accurate.

    It goes like this: “[Someone else’s] suffering builds [AM’s] character.” Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

  323. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 1:19 am |

    @EG

    Do you notice how you go on to describe suffering as inescapable physical pain? Can you at least concede that most people here are not describing inescapable physical pain when they describe the “suffering” of people with Down Syndrome? They are pooling in all kinds of things (special learning requirements, the judgment of other people) into their characterization of suffering.

    I would definitely refer to inescapable physical pain as suffering. But “disability” does not mean inescapable physical pain.

  324. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 1:27 am |

    OK. Let me note, before responding, that I also count the emotional pain of my severe depressive episodes. They have never built one iota of character.

    I believe that people have referred to significantly high risks of heart problems, leukemia, and premature death. Can you at least concede that these things constitute suffering?

  325. Natalia
    Natalia February 23, 2012 at 1:28 am |

    oh dear-i don’t mean to offend but you are naive and delusional if you don’t think woman are pressured to have screening. I have experienced it after refusing to have any tests what-so-ever for my third baby born after my baby with DS. My sister too was referred to-at age 41-by doctors and nurses as “the woman who refuses to have any tests.” We are a family of home-birthers and women who wean our babies to go to school. We relish being pregnant and for us; giving birth is a beautiful experience. We are in-tune with our bodies and most certainly wanted to take back control from the medics who have successfully brain-washed women (and in particular, “feminists”) to surrender themselves to “technology” with its hugely damaging effects on womanhood. But hey-carry on living in la-la land-its obviously where you feel safest but please let us women get on with being women.

    Oh, so now this is an issue of who’s a Real Woman™ and who’s not? You know, I needed medical intervention when I was giving birth, and I’m not going to be shamed for it by a pompous, Germaine Greer-quoting jackass.

    And I say this as someone who’s deeply creeped out by the pressure to produce “perfect babies.”

    Your desire to steer this conversation onto what would Brian Boitano “a real woman” do is just as paternalistic as the actions of the doctors you describe.

  326. shfree
    shfree February 23, 2012 at 1:30 am |

    Mike Sullivan, I happen to have good friends who also have a very lovely daughter with Down’s Syndrome. They were very supportive of the work I did when I worked at an abortion clinic, which provided services up to the twentieth week of pregnancy. Thus, parents with children with Down’s are not a monolith, stop pretending you are.

    And speaking as an epileptic, and given that my grandmother had seizures in her sleep and my nephew also suffers from it, perhaps a genetic variant, I would be pleased as punch if they come up with a pre natal test for it, even if my particular flavor isn’t fatal but qualifies, IMO, as merely a pain in my ever lovin’ ass every couple of years. Because really, epilepsy with tonic clonic seizures is a shared disease–those who have the seizures, and those who might have to deal with you unexpectedly having a seizure if your brain feels like being a DICK. And frankly after putting my daughter through two of them, one of them when she was only ten, that leaves me feeling sick and powerless enough, it’s weird to count myself lucky to be with her at a bus stop for the last one. And I can’t imagine what it must feel like to watch your child seize and not be able to do anything then either. So yeah. If it wasn’t for the fact that a good, solid hit to the head might bring about a shiny seizure disorder of its own, a spiffy pre natal test for genetic epilepsy from the devastating cascading full seizures to those mild, pesky once in a blue moon partial absence could be gone. And I would be happy as a clam.

  327. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 1:30 am |

    @leftsidepositive

    It goes like this: “[Someone else’s] suffering builds [AM’s] character.” Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

    Wow. You two really are amazing. I guess I didn’t think you’d actually address my arguments, but I did think you might at least just ignore me. But this is the most creative twisting of someone’s words I have ever seen. Bravo for your unprecedented self-delusion.

    So let me get your positions straight here:

    1) It is absolutely never ok to judge a woman about her choices during pregnancy, since it’s her body.
    2) All disabled people suffer for their entire miserable lives.
    3) If a woman learns her fetus has a chance of being a disabled person, then the only reason that she wouldn’t intervene with nature and abort it is because she is selfish.

    That about right? I mean, I find this reasoning confusing, judgmental, and contradictory, but that’s pretty much exactly what you’re saying.

  328. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 1:31 am |

    @AM

    Actually it is because of your thoughts, because you could have decided not to have children, or aborted this is all of course assuming that this challenge can be tested for and you have foreknowledge. You see rebranding as a viable tactic because of your own ego. You want to teach someone whose experience you can never have to overcome challenges. Where does what they may or may not think about the whole thing enter into the equation? I have Cerebral Palsy and am confined to a wheelchair, having to figure out how I’m going to open doors, worrying about finding full employment because transportation is an issue. Having to worry about what exactly do I do if my powerchair breaks (Which has happened more than once.),and not being able to do the kinds of things I want to do, aren’t quaint exercises in character building, or some inspirational story that people can look to as an example of overcoming adversity. They are real life things I have to deal with. That I do deal with them doesn’t make them easy or things I wish to see perpetuated if and when I have children of my own if I can help it.

    I most certainly wouldn’t knowingly have a child with a severe physical or mental disability so I can preach to them about how their condition really isn’t that bad in my opinion because “Look I’m in a wheelchair!” If they happen to feel that their condition is that bad and express it to me.

  329. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    2) All disabled people suffer for their entire miserable lives.
    3) If a woman learns her fetus has a chance of being a disabled person, then the only reason that she wouldn’t intervene with nature and abort it is because she is selfish.

    Would you like to find the words in which I expressed such sentiments and quote them?

    It might take you a while because, between you and me, they don’t exist.

  330. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 1:47 am |

    AM @ 342 quotes me:

    I would certainly judge the hell out of someone whose baby would have a serious disorder, Tay-Sachs or a comparable disease, and didn’t have an abortion.

    And responds:

    That’s the closest thing to “shaming” pregnant women based on choice that we’ve seen on this thread.

    Do you know anything about Tay-Sachs? I’m guessing not. Here, let’s turn to our friend Wikipedia:
    “Infants with Tay–Sachs disease appear to develop normally for the first six months after birth. Then, as nerve cells become distended with gangliosides, a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities occurs and progresses inexorably. The child becomes blind, deaf, unable to swallow, and develops atrophy and paralysis…There is currently no cure or treatment for Tay–Sachs disease. Infants are given feeding tubes when they can no longer swallow…Even with the best care, children with Infantile Tay–Sachs disease die by the age of 4.”

    The Tay-Sachs mutation was widely prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews, a group to which I belong. Thanks to a huge push for genetic counseling prior to marriage and acceptance of abortion in the face of horrors like this disease, it has been nearly eradicated in this population.

    I’m not shaming pregnant women. I’m shaming anyone who decides to be a parent, who decides to bring a child into the world knowing–KNOWING–that that child will suffer (yes, suffer, not be challenged by) nonstop in horrific ways and then die in, at most, four years, after never having known (I guess for the first six months) a life not filled with pain. Blind, deaf, unable to swallow. You are damn fucking right I judge the woman who decides that her desire to have a child, or her belief that abortion is bad makes it worth putting a child through that.

    I wasn’t talking about Down. Amnios aren’t all about Down’s Syndrom. Or spina bifida, or Prader-Willi. Do your damn research before you start accusing me of shaming pregnant women.

    I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, given that you start your post referring to “many who call themselves feminists”. I didn’t realize you were the grand goddess of feminism, pronouncing from on high who among us is qualified to use the term.

  331. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 1:48 am |

    I love how this guy talks about nature when the whole of civilization stands in opposition to the nature that would have DS afflicted dead at 25 and women stuck birthing because of incredibly huge (Relative to our current standards.) infant mortality rates. We all have decided to directly interfere with nature, that boat has sailed already.

  332. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 1:51 am |

    @H

    Not choosing to intervene in a pregnancy is not the same as personally causing someone’s disability.

    I don’t have a disability, but the people I do know who have disabilities do not wish they’d never been born. They have many reasons to be glad to have been born, and they are indeed glad to be alive.

    If people with disabilities don’t wish they’d never been born, why is it unethical to not terminate a fetus that could become someone with a disability?

    It’s counterintuitive to me that you could suggest that it’s unethical for a woman to give birth to a fetus that could have a disability.

    Doesn’t this show a fault line in the whole hardline stance against shaming pregnant women?

  333. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 23, 2012 at 1:55 am |

    I actually like being aware of my pain because it helps me feel alive. Of course, part of me being aware of my pain in any given moment is being aware of what I need to do about it. Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done, and I just need to accept the pain. But sometimes I realize that there is something I can do, and I do it, and then I feel better.

    I try to cultivate the same approach in my perspective to others. I try to be aware of their pain. I accept there may be nothing I can do to help them. But sometimes there is, in which case I will look inside myself. If I notice compassion toward them, then I will help them, too.

    I try not to worry about what pain might arise in the future though. There will always be pain in the future. All I can do is take responsibility for what’s happening now.

    OK. That much was free. To get more you’ll have to sign up for a seminar. There are registration sheets in the lobby.

  334. shfree
    shfree February 23, 2012 at 1:58 am |

    I TRIED to have a birth without interventions, but being poor and epileptic put the kibosh on that from the get go. Once my water broke and there was meconium, well it was all downhill from there. (Managed to dodge the C-section, though)

    REGARDLESS. Everyone gets to have the damn pregnancy and birth that gives them peace of mind, not the one that pleases YOU the most, missy. We don’t need your womanly birther! stickers.

  335. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 2:01 am |

    @Abbey Spice

    While I found some of your post troublesome, I was only using that quote out as an example of when many here, who say it’s never ok to judge a woman’s choices about her pregnancy, think it’s ok to judge a woman’s choices about her pregnancy. You also seemed to miss the sentence that came right after it:

    I can understand the sentiment of her quote, and I don’t blame her.

    Is this whole thread is just a game of “pick and choose some piece of someone’s post that I can twist around and criticize, insult that person, and then ignore anything that might make me think”?

  336. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 2:09 am |

    @EG

    Would you like to find the words in which I expressed such sentiments and quote them?

    It might take you a while because, between you and me, they don’t exist.

    Well, I was directing that comment to leftsidepositive.

    But it’s partly due to what you’ve said and partly due to what you won’t say.

    The fact that you can’t concede it is unfair to characterize disabled people’s lives as full of suffering is telling of point 2 at least. You also remained mute when some have suggested judging harshly those who don’t abort their pregnancies, despite repeatedly saying it’s not ok to judge women about their choices.

  337. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 2:11 am |

    @AM
    It’s not unethical to terminate a fetus because it isn’t a person. It is unethical to allow the non human to become human while saddling them with a problem that was known ahead of that point. Especially for egotistical reasons

    You are definitely the one who causes the pregnancy of the female if you are male or the one who gets pregnant if you are female. One of you has the power and the right (The power is the most important thing here.) to prevent a human from manifesting with some malady it damn sure is you who caused it because you let it happen. You don’t get to pawn it off on some abstract thing.

    If you don’t know then there is nothing unethical, if you do know that is where these particular ethical issues come into play.

  338. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 2:14 am |

    Wow, AM, the triple-strawman!!!

    1) It is absolutely never ok to judge a woman about her choices during pregnancy, since it’s her body.

    The vast majority of the time yes, and as a legal right, it’s absolute.

    In extreme cases like Tay-Sachs, where her decisions will lead INEVITABLY to prolonged TORTURE of a non-consenting person, it’s important to speak up.

    And seriously, who the fuck elected you concern troll for Tay-Sachs? Has it not occurred to you that families at risk for Tay-Sachs are REAL PEOPLE with REAL NEEDS? They are not just some imaginary construct to con you out of your rights in the “Down Syndrome Community” (which no one is actually threatening ANYWAY!). Tay-Sachs is its own important medical issues. It is not your medical issue, and you don’t get to appropriate their lives for your purpose.

    2) All disabled people suffer for their entire miserable lives.

    Nothing like this has ever ONCE been said, apart from fucking douchebags like you strawmanning. I explicitly contradicted this myself several times, such as in post #51:

    You’re conflating “a significant increased risk of documented health effects that we can’t know ahead of time but could potentially cause severe harm” with “all children with disabilities are inevitably like this…” […]
    But, of course, don’t confuse “an unacceptable risk” with “prejudicial certainty.”

    and

    For the last fucking time, THIS IS ABOUT RISK, NOT CERTAINTY!!! Why the fuck are you unable to understand that?!? This is NOT in any way saying that ALL people with intellectual disabilities will be like “X,” this is about “there is a documented risk of these horrible complications happening, and I as a parent don’t want to risk that for my child…” and “It COULD BE that my child will be so severely mentally disabled that I will not be able to know or meet zir needs, and that is not an acceptable risk for me…” #62

    AM, you are so flagrantly intellectually dishonest I truly don’t know where your ethics escaped to.

    3) If a woman learns her fetus has a chance of being a disabled person, then the only reason that she wouldn’t intervene with nature and abort it is because she is selfish.

    Again, explicitly contradicted by what I have ACTUALLY SAID:

    Look, I’ll be perfectly honest and say there are disorders (hypothetically, I don’t know of any that I’m carrying), that I would try to prevent with genetic testing if I were to go the in vitro route, but that I would not terminate if I were already pregnant. There are other anomalies that I would immediately abort, no matter what. My decisions and my risk assessments may not be the same as someone else’s, and that’s okay. #66

    So, really, if you don’t want to even understand what we’ve said, and just lie your way around to make yourself seem like the only good person here, just fuck off. Did you seriously not think we could just do a Crtl-F and expose you on your bullshit?

    AAAAANNND another thing: you feel awfully entitled to lecture us about our choice of language. I suggest that you re-read post #191 until it sinks in. I will also remind you that you are, by your own admission, a visitor to this forum. It is incredibly presumptuous of you to come in here and insist that we conform to YOUR preferences for expression, when you are a guest, and the rest of us have more history here.

  339. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 23, 2012 at 2:16 am |

    AM @ 342, that was a great post – a really good analysis of the type of hateful and fearful attitudes that arise when you scratch the surface of this issue, which was exactly what I was looking to establish. I think that this points to a dilemna that this community will struggle with for quite some time. At savingdowns we just keep it simple and promote respect and dignity for human diversity, otherwise known as love and celebrate life. Having people with Down syndrome around is fantastic!

  340. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 2:19 am |

    Mike, as I recall, your daughter is quite young. How much time do you spend with adults with Down? And their parents, who have to plan for when they die and leave children who may not be able to take care of themselves?

  341. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 2:21 am |

    @H

    You think fetuses that could potentially have a disability should be aborted.

    I think that aborting or giving birth to a fetus that could potentially have a disability is defensible either way (and, as many have pointed out, a personal choice).

    Agree to disagree.

  342. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 2:23 am |

    @AM

    You’re ignoring what I and others have said about fetuses who could not potentially have a disability, but will have a disability.

  343. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 2:23 am |

    I don’t have a disability, but the people I do know who have disabilities do not wish they’d never been born.

    And how many of them, EXACTLY, had Tay-Sachs???

    Also, have you never fucking heard of sampling bias?!

    If people with disabilities don’t wish they’d never been born, why is it unethical to not terminate a fetus that could become someone with a disability?

    We’ve already discussed this, and if you were an honest contributor in this discussion instead of a pompous windbag you would have read our answer then instead of asking the same old question like you’re soooo thoughtful!:

    I think this is basically circular reasoning. The human brain generates a self-construction and naturally values what it is, because that’s what human brains do (and indeed they should!). To say that because someone is able to find joy in a situation, or that they like themselves how they are is a valid compliment to pay to the power of human psychology, but it is not an argument that the situation itself is a blessing, since human fortitude can overcome a great deal. This does not mean it is ethical to subject a future person who cannot consent to a condition just because some other brain has been able to cope with it. And it CERTAINLY is not an argument that the disorder must be preserved in the population, or that the condition that some people are able to value in themselves must itself be considered a positive good in the abstract. #205

  344. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 2:24 am |

    What about the ones who will be born with their organs outside their body, or other things that absolutely 100% guarantee a life of only a few, painful hours? I get that parents want to be able to hold their child even just for a moment, but does that justify causing such pain?

  345. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 2:28 am |

    Mike:

    Having people with Down syndrome around is fantastic!

    Notice how this doesn’t say, “Having Down Syndrome is fantastic!” That doesn’t seem to be a relevant point of view.

  346. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 2:46 am |

    I think this is basically circular reasoning. The human brain generates a self-construction and naturally values what it is, because that’s what human brains do (and indeed they should!). To say that because someone is able to find joy in a situation, or that they like themselves how they are is a valid compliment to pay to the power of human psychology, but it is not an argument that the situation itself is a blessing, since human fortitude can overcome a great deal. This does not mean it is ethical to subject a future person who cannot consent to a condition just because some other brain has been able to cope with it. And it CERTAINLY is not an argument that the disorder must be preserved in the population, or that the condition that some people are able to value in themselves must itself be considered a positive good in the abstract.

    Wow. Ok, God. I guess you’ve answered that question, God. I’ll go tell my friends and family the only reason they are living happy lives is because of circular reasoning, that somebody on a blog comment thread told me this universal truth.

    That is a truly amazing quote. I need to repeat this:

    This does not mean it is ethical to subject a future person who cannot consent to a condition just because some other brain has been able to cope with it.

    So having a naturally occurring birth is subjecting a future person “to a condition”, and even though they will be happy that I did that in their future personhood, I was still unethical for doing that.

    And it CERTAINLY is not an argument that the disorder must be preserved in the population, or that the condition that some people are able to value in themselves must itself be considered a positive good in the abstract.

    So basically, people have intrinsic value that is separate from their own perception of their worth, and you, my God-like friend, are able to assess that value based on crude medical procedures and a probability table. I see.

    You must be learning a lot about utilitarianism this year. When you get to your sophomore year, you might learn a few new things.

  347. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 23, 2012 at 2:48 am |

    Abby @ 373, Probally more than you, but it’s irrelavant.

    LSP @ 378 – Having Down Syndrome is fantastic as well of course, if you want to play word games about the lives of other human beings. It doesn’t define who they are. Ask one of the many self advocates who speak for themselves.

  348. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 23, 2012 at 2:51 am |

    oh dear-feel like I’ve been transported back to 1968 with all this old-fashioned “my body-my uterus” hysteria (!)….come on girls-get with the times.

    And Abby my son is older-he is currently setting up a micro-business and planning to go flatting with ordinary flatmates. He has all the ususal pleasures in life and will be set up well for his future and I don’t worry about it (and no, I’m not rich and he is very disabled). You are just buying into all the myths and assumptions that surround Down syndrome-they’re just not true. What I do have to say (and which I’m sure many of the vulgar/tourettes-affected uteri-touting “feminists” will not allow themselves to have any insight into) is the fact that I owe this DS kid of mine so much. He has given me more than I have given him through his loving support of me through a recent very difficult time in my life. I couldn’t have coped without him.

  349. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 2:53 am |

    Mike, 380

    Ask one of the many self advocates who speak for themselves.

    I love this line when used with regard to any disabled (differently-abled! challenged! whatever line makes you feel warmest and fuzziest!) group. Because the only “self advocates who speak for themselves” are the members of that group who are capable of doing so. The kid with autism who bangs his head against the wall and is entirely non-communicative can’t tell us how he feels about it.

  350. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan February 23, 2012 at 3:14 am |

    @ Abby 382, as in the unborn child in the womb who is aborted and is entirely non-communicative can’t tell us how she feels about it?

    It’s reasonably obvious though that you have a problem with people with disabilities, which only reflects yourself, nothing to do with them. Probally good that we can’t diagnose ignorance and bigotry in the womb, now that would be interesting.

  351. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 3:20 am |

    @ Abby 382, as in the unborn child in the womb who is aborted and is entirely non-communicative can’t tell us how she feels about it?

    The FETUS can’t tell us how it feels because ITS BRAIN HAS NOT DEVELOPED ENOUGH TO FEEL ANYTHING. A fetus does not have feelings. A fetus is not a person. Thanks for playing, now go away.

  352. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 3:22 am |

    as in the unborn child in the womb who is aborted and is entirely non-communicative can’t tell us how she feels about it?

    No, I’m pretty sure I made it clear that I was talking about non-communicative people.

  353. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 3:23 am |

    @EG

    Most of your retorts to my long post were predictable, but I found an issue here:

    Because the study I found cited on cursory googling said that the average life-span was 49. As I’m sure you know, “average” means that half the people in the category being discussed will fall below that number.

    No, I don’t know that. Not to be pedantic, but “average” doesn’t mean that at all.

    Let’s say we have 4 people. One dies at birth and the other 3 live to be 75 years old. The average age at death will be 56.25. Exactly 25% of that population falls below the average.

    I should also point out that average life span and life expectancy might be calculated differently. Life expectancy is “The average number of years a newborn is expected to live with current mortality patterns remaining the same.”

    The life expectancy of an average person born today is 78. The life expectancy of an average person born in 1960 is 69. The life expectancy of a person with Down Syndrome born in 1949 was 12 years old. In 1983, it was 25 years old. Today, it is 60 years old (make sure your source is up to date, as it’s clearly progressing very fast).

    That means the life expectancy of someone with Down Syndrome born today is in the ballpark of someone who is now 50 years old. Some are living into their 80s today, so there’s no reason to think won’t continue to close the gap of the general population.

    That’s not so bad, is it?

  354. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 23, 2012 at 3:24 am |

    OK LeftSidePositive. I read your last post directed toward me @356. It’s time for me to set a boundary.

    I resent the demands and judgments you’re putting on me.

    I’m not your friend. I’m not your colleague. I don’t even know you.

    You don’t like the way I communicate? Okay. I hear you. But it’s not my problem.

  355. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 3:24 am |

    I owe this DS kid of mine so much. He has given me more than I have given him through his loving support of me through a recent very difficult time in my life. I couldn’t have coped without him.

    That’s great. You may not have noticed, but we have been consistent in our support of social investment, educational resources, family support, etc., etc. so that people may freely make a choice similar to yours if that is what they feel is best. CHOICE. Shocking, I know. Now why don’t you actually lay off and respect other people’s choices and needs?

  356. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 23, 2012 at 3:25 am |

    Mike-they do think there is a gene responsible for narcissism and sociopathy…….

  357. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 3:34 am |

    387
    LotusBen
    OK LeftSidePositive. I read your last post directed toward me @356. It’s time for me to set a boundary.

    I resent the demands and judgments you’re putting on me.

    I’m not your friend. I’m not your colleague. I don’t even know you.

    You don’t like the way I communicate? Okay. I hear you. But it’s not my problem.

    LB, your previous posts to me included “This is also not something I am going to discuss. Laterz. *throws rocks and runs*”, “I refuse. I like being immature.”, “I don’t care that you don’t care what I think about your views.”, and “OK. I’m officially bored with responding to you now. So I’m not gonna address the second half of your post. Hope this was fun for you.”

    I think it’s pretty rich that now you’re “resent[ing] the demands and judgments” someone is “putting on” you. You actually said you like being immature, and demonstrated that quite clearly. I resent that you won’t act like an adult. Actually, I don’t, because aside from sheer amazement that someone outside of /b/ would actually say “*throws rocks and runs*, I don’t much give a shit.

    Laterz!

  358. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 3:41 am |

    Seriously, LotusBen? You think you’re entitled to condemn other people with very dishonest misrepresentations of their positions, and then when they call you out on your poor behavior you say you’re going to “set a boundary”?

    Why the fuck are you allowed to resent the judgments I’m putting on you, when you feel perfectly entitled to judge me, vociferously, harshly, and FALSELY at that?!

    You even feel justified in continuing to label me to others to brag about your moral superiority (#306), after you have explicitly refused to address or even consider my arguments.

    What, exactly, makes you such a special snowflake? You’ve presented your thoughts for consideration on an open forum of debate. Why do your views deserve special insulation from criticism? Why must your behavior be considered beyond reproach?

    And notice, I have never tried to shame you out of criticizing my views. I have consistently said: “your criticism are wrong/dishonest, because of X, Y, and Z…” Instead of offering any constructive reply, you’ve just tried to silence me.

    My “demands” are simply making a good faith contribution to a discussion WHICH YOU STARTED, and to make your points honestly and thoughtfully. This is not asking to be treated like a friend, colleague, or acquaintance. This is the very barest minimum of making communicating on the Internet worthwhile. If you’re not interested in such a minimal standard of interpersonal acknowledgement, what exactly are you doing here?

  359. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 23, 2012 at 4:22 am |

    Seriously, LotusBen? You think you’re entitled to condemn other people with very dishonest misrepresentations of their positions, and then when they call you out on your poor behavior you say you’re going to “set a boundary”?

    I’m entitled to do whatever I want so long as it’s not abusive. And I haven’t been abusive toward you.

    Why the fuck are you allowed to resent the judgments I’m putting on you, when you feel perfectly entitled to judge me, vociferously, harshly, and FALSELY at that?!

    We’re allowed to feel whatever we want. I resent your harsh judgments of me; you seem to resent my harsh judgments of you. Makes sense from my perspective.

    What, exactly, makes you such a special snowflake? You’ve presented your thoughts for consideration on an open forum of debate. Why do your views deserve special insulation from criticism? Why must your behavior be considered beyond reproach?

    My behavior is not beyond reproach. Feel free to criticize my views and my behavior.

    This is the very barest minimum of making communicating on the Internet worthwhile. If you’re not interested in such a minimal standard of interpersonal acknowledgement, what exactly are you doing here?

    I come to Feministe primarily for entertainment and diversion. Other than that, there are many commenters here I’ve come to enjoy and, so I like to read what they have to say on various topics and respond. I’m thinking of people like EG, DonnaL, William, Justamblingalong, PrettyAmiable, Jill, librarygoose, Shoshie, Azalea, among others–people who post here a fair amount, and I’ve had some form of positive interaction with. That doesn’t include you, sorry.

    And perhaps future communication between us is not going to be worthwhile–who knows? I’ll leave you alone if that’s what you want from me going forward.

  360. Suzy Dymock
    Suzy Dymock February 23, 2012 at 4:43 am |

    LSP 387-haha….”we provide consistent support” blah blah-a bunch of outdated “feminists” are the last people I would go to for support in resisiting societal pressure to conform to its narrow constraints. Your so-called feminism and “support” results in equality that means sameness and diversity only measured in different shades of colour-all under the guise of “choice”. How shallow of you. And oh so BORING! You have said nothing new-its all been churned out ad-nauseum….you just don’t get it…..but then that’s your choice to be so narrow-minded with your unwarranted smugness, hiding under the ultimate Western Society disclaimer……”provision of choice”…..yawn!

  361. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 23, 2012 at 5:03 am |

    You know, this thread has done at least one thing for me. It has really made me think about how I view disabilities. I don’t think women should be pressured into carrying pregnancies that they don’t want. Flat out, for whatever reason they so choose. But I don’t think people with Downs are sentenced to a life of suffering or sorrow. I’ve met lovely people with Downs, but I understand that the work, time, and money that goes into making sure they are happy and healthy and well taken care of is enormous. I have no idea what I would do if I found out I was carrying a fetus with Downs. But other things, like Tay Sachs? Fuck if I don’t judge the hell out of women who choose to have that baby. I couldn’t imagine thinking that my wanting of a child out weighed the pain that baby would go through before it’s death. There-in lies my disconnect. Because what makes one better than the other, what causes me judge, I just don’t know.

  362. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 7:21 am |

    AM:

    I notice that you keep referring to my “retorts” (you seem to like that word; personally, I think it characterizes my responses to you as angrier and less amused than is accurate, but then, as I note below, your reading skills are lacking) as predictable, and yet you never actually respond to them. Surely if they’re predictable, you have some prepared responses?

    The fact that you can’t concede it is unfair to characterize disabled people’s lives as full of suffering is telling of point 2 at least. You also remained mute when some have suggested judging harshly those who don’t abort their pregnancies, despite repeatedly saying it’s not ok to judge women about their choices.

    You know, since you said “you two,” I did assume that your comment was directed at me as well as LSP. But I suppose I can’t expect your writing skills to be better than your reading skills. I told matlun that such a judgment was “noxious” back in comment #327. And given that nobody here has said that all disabled people’s lives are full of suffering–just that babies with Tay-Sachs are invariably doomed to a brief life of terrible suffering–I have seen no reason to reject such a position. But if it pleases you, since I’m still in an uncharacteristically good mood, I will. Obviously, all disabled people’s lives are not filled with terrible suffering. Also, the moon is not made of green cheese and the sun does not revolve around the earth. I mean, I never disavowed those positions either, and I wouldn’t want you to think that I agree with them.

    Not to be pedantic, but “average” doesn’t mean that at all.

    Well, that depends on whether they’re referring to the mean, median, or mode, all of which are sometimes what is meant by “average.” The article I’m looking at is ten years old, so is probably out of date. I would welcome another citation, which I asked you for above, and you have yet to provide. But according to the article I’m looking at, “the life expectancy is [currently] 49 years.” And yeah, that’s pretty bad.

    Suzy Dymock:

    oh dear-feel like I’ve been transported back to 1968 with all this old-fashioned “my body-my uterus” hysteria (!)….come on girls-get with the times.

    Yeah, girls! It is so passe of you to care about your bodily autonomy! Now we’re all into reality tv–didn’t you get the memo? I mean, you may think that your ability to create and give birth to a child is not the most important thing in your life, and certainly not so important that you should upend everything else you care about, but you’re just not a womanly woman, like Suzy. Your desire to do something besides parturiate leads to a colorless world! Nothing you could possibly do or create or discover could be half as valuable to yourself or to the world as the random conjunction of sperm and egg, and if you feel differently, you’ve just been brainwashed!

    Actually, Suzy, you’re doing a fabulous job of demonstrating why feminism is still au courant.

    I owe this DS kid of mine so much. He has given me more than I have given him through his loving support of me through a recent very difficult time in my life. I couldn’t have coped without him.

    That’s nice for you, but it has nothing to do with anybody else’s decision. Lots of people find a great deal of solace and love in their children–that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not I have an abortion if I decide for whatever reason that an abortion is the way I want to go.

    a bunch of outdated “feminists” are the last people I would go to for support in resisiting societal pressure to conform to its narrow constraints.

    There’s that “outdated” again. I do like the idea that feminism is out of style (as if it were ever in style). Regardless, the point of feminism is not that random internet commenters feel good going to feminists for support, so I think we’ll all be able to handle your otherwise stinging rejection.

  363. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 7:24 am |

    As a follow-up to a post in mod, according to the National Association for Down’s Syndrome life expectancy for someone with Down’s Syndrome is 55 years. Closer to my number than yours, AM.

  364. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 7:31 am |

    Wow. Ok, God. I guess you’ve answered that question, God. I’ll go tell my friends and family the only reason they are living happy lives is because of circular reasoning, that somebody on a blog comment thread told me this universal truth.

    Seriously–what do you get out of so blatantly strawmanning others’ arguments? You’re not fooling anyone, so why bother?

    I never said “the only reason” and without that your entire assertion falls apart. You know perfectly well I was addressing the brain’s construction of happiness *independent of Down Syndrome* and that because someone is happy in general with zir lives (as humans generally tend to be), you can’t use that to claim a positive effect of Down Syndrome specifically. I NEVER made any claim that any person or persons’ happiness was not genuine, or that it was misguided or illusory. Just that the happiness cannot be specifically attributed to the Down’s rather than to other co-occuring factors.

    So having a naturally occurring birth is subjecting a future person “to a condition”, and even though they will be happy that I did that in their future personhood, I was still unethical for doing that.

    How do you know they will be happy? You don’t. The fetus in utero is not that particular friend of yours, and does not have that particular friend’s history or medical preispositions. You can’t assume that just because you know someone whose course turned out well, that everyone will be like that.

    So basically, people have intrinsic value that is separate from their own perception of their worth, and you, my God-like friend, are able to assess that value based on crude medical procedures and a probability table. I see.

    Where are you getting any of this stuff about “people’s intrinsic value”? I am talking about Down Syndrome **in the abstract** when the issue in question is a fetus, and therefore explicitly NOT a person with intrinsic value, and certainly not an entity with any perception of their worth. I am saying that the effects of Down Syndrome on NOT YET LIVING people must be evaluated on known medical knowledge and probabilities, and the perceptions of some ALREADY LIVING people are separable from the future (unknown) effects on the NOT YET LIVING people. No one is saying anything about separating people from themselves. If you cared about honesty, medical accuracy, or social justice, why would you be so eager to misrepresent my arguments?

  365. Chiara
    Chiara February 23, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    I think this is basically circular reasoning. The human brain generates a self-construction and naturally values what it is, because that’s what human brains do (and indeed they should!). To say that because someone is able to find joy in a situation, or that they like themselves how they are is a valid compliment to pay to the power of human psychology, but it is not an argument that the situation itself is a blessing, since human fortitude can overcome a great deal.

    Motherfuck you. So basically we’re all just poor misguided souls deluding ourselves that we’re happy with ourselves and we need uber Objective! people like you to set us straight and tell us we’d be much better off unborn.

  366. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 8:01 am |

    Motherfuck you. So basically we’re all just poor misguided souls deluding ourselves that we’re happy with ourselves

    No one’s saying anything like that. As I just said (in mod):

    I NEVER made any claim that any person or persons’ happiness was not genuine, or that it was misguided or illusory. Just that the happiness cannot be specifically attributed to the Down’s rather than to other co-occuring factors.

    So stop trying to fucking strawman. It’s bloody dishonest and tedious.

    and we need uber Objective! people like you to set us straight and tell us we’d be much better off unborn.

    I don’t need to tell you anything. I have no opinion as to how you’d be better off or not, because you already exist and therefore cannot possibly be a fetus in my uterus. ALL we are fucking saying is that you cannot use the trope of “but I know some people are happy!” to shame women who are trying to figure out what is best for herself and A FETUS, not an already-born PWD, who is not relevant to that particular woman’s choices in any way. The value of THE DISEASE ITSELF is questioned, when it is discovered in utero and therefore NOT ATTACHED TO A PERSON. This is not difficult, and it’s not about you.

  367. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 8:11 am |

    Ben, I don’t “resent your harsh judgements.” Your judgements MAKE NO SENSE, nor are you trying to make them do so. I resent the fact that you’re wasting people’s time, and dragging down the discussion when you make accusations, questioning our commitments and integrity, and don’t even have the respect to answer us (all while you KEEP REPEATING the accusations!).

    Look, “I can do whatever I want as long as it’s not abusive…” is a pretty cheap attitude. Yes, I could technically paste Jabberwocky here three or four times over and it wouldn’t be overtly abusive, but I would recognize that would be rude to others. Do you just not care about others’ enjoyment of this space? Are you taking NO responsibility for how your actions on this thread affect the discussion?

    And don’t you think that calling others’ contributions “ableist derails” is pretty damn hostile, especially when we care passionately about the discussion? Do you really think it’s okay to do that?

    And yes, you HAVE tried to put your views above criticism–that’s what all that “setting a boundary” stuff and flouncing MEANS.

    It’s not a question of “ignoring me” or not–just don’t take a giant crap in the middle of this space, and not care whether what you say is true or whether people you’re attacking have a point. If that’s how you’re treating this thread, just read it.

  368. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage February 23, 2012 at 9:45 am |

    Oh my, I actually get to use this retort! I’m so excited!!!

    AM @342

    If you want my “challenge” or “different ability”, you can have it. I’m done suffering through the physical and societal restraints it places upon my capabilities and freedom of action, and I don’t perceive anything beautiful or character-building about it. It’s a pain in the ass that I will never be completely liberated from. It’s not the source of any direct physical pain, but to deny that I’ve been put through some aggravating shit and suffering is to deny my experience.

    Is it just me, or are there a lot of well-abled people presuming to speak for PWD in this thread?

  369. flightless
    flightless February 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |

    Maybe it’s just my bad knee talking, but I’m sure a lot of us will still manage to acquire painful, debilitating conditions AFTER we are born, so y’all can still have your lives enriched by our presence! (Except you anti-choice creeps who need to get far away from me & my uterus.)

  370. Caperton
    Caperton February 23, 2012 at 10:58 am | *

    Suzy Dymock – Lay off the “Tourette” thing. As odd as it feels to single this out in an entire thread about ableism, using Tourette syndrome as an insult to imply vulgarity is unacceptable. Find a way of expressing yourself that doesn’t make light of a serious condition.

  371. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |

    @EG

    *Head slap!*

    Well, this thread has jumped the shark. I think @EG, if you insist that 55 is closer to the number 49 than it is to 60, then there’s nothing I can do for you. I was being pretty charitable about your poor math before. You can’t even acknowledge that and instead thumb your nose at me and insist 5 is greater than 6.

    You guys will do whatever you can to delude yourselves. Between @leftsidepositive thinking she’s God and @EG changing the rules of basic arithmetic. This is the North Korea of intellectual debates.

    Embarrassing!

  372. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 11:50 am |

    Runs@leftsidepositive
    Amazing that you mention straw man while setting up a straw man. Your 3rd grade philosophical lesson was to attack my point that you cant call a woman unethical for carrying a child with disability to term. For Down Syndrome in particular, there really isnt any evidence or argument beyond your own arrogance to suggest that it is unethical.

    @auditorydamage
    I am truly sorry for what sounds like a tough experience for you. I dont think my arguments belittle that, and if it comes across that way, I apologize. Just as you are saying it’s not ok for someone to speak for you and espouse your quality of life, it’s also not ok to speak for all people with disabilities and presume their lives are not worth living. My best friend has a severe physical handicap, and he’s a very happy and successful person. My brother has a severe physical handicap as well as learning disabilities. He’s not always happy, but the source of his sadness is not his condition. It’s his occasional loneliness and feeling of being judged by others. Neither of them would ever wish they had never been born. I wish that those without disabilities would stop misunderstanding those who have them, as that misunderstanding (and sometimes refusalto understand) runs rampant and causes the most harm. And it’s something that we can remedy most easily and in the most dignified manner.

  373. Donna L
    Donna L February 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    oh dear-feel like I’ve been transported back to 1968 with all this old-fashioned “my body-my uterus” hysteria (!)….come on girls-get with the times.

    Your condescension is insufferable. In the end, though, it simply demonstrates how completely out of touch with reality you are. Because the times we should all get with according to you, in which “real women” are all about the glories of birthing babies no matter what (without the intervention of Evil Western Medicine), sound like some nightmarish combination of the worst of 1970’s gender essentialist feminism, and the Republic of Gilead.

  374. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |

    It’s true, misremembering a number is how I make my political statements. But hey, if it gets you out of our hair, I’m cool with it.

    I do find it interesting, though, how you use petty bullshit to avoid engaging with the things I have actually said, such as pointing out that I condemned judgment of women who carry to term despite knowledge of Down’s Syndrome in #327. Oh, wait, it’s not interesting. What’s the word I want? Tedious. That’s the word.

  375. Adaquinn
    Adaquinn February 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    sound like some nightmarish combination of the worst of 1970′s gender essentialist feminism, and the Republic of Gilead.

    I know this isn’t really relevant, but Donna L, great Margret Atwood reference you slipped in there. I think it very deftly points out the dangers of turning a blind eye to a woman’s right to her own body.

  376. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    @EG
    I am honestly sorry for missing that. I am glad that you are consistent on that. It does keep coming up in recent posts by others and bears repeating.

    I will get out of your hair. I feel satisfied that some light has been shed on this issue and I hope that despite the heat of the argument, many people here will walk away more educated on this topic, and hopefully, with more sensitivity towards disability issues.

  377. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

    Amazing that you mention straw man while setting up a straw man. Your 3rd grade philosophical lesson was to attack my point that you cant call a woman unethical for carrying a child with disability to term. For Down Syndrome in particular, there really isnt any evidence or argument beyond your own arrogance to suggest that it is unethical.

    DO YOU EVEN FUCKING UNDERSTAND WHAT A STRAWMAN MEANS?!?!??!

    A strawman is a mendacious misrepresentation of someone’s argument designed to make it easier to tear down while utterly failing to represent their actual statements. Your argument is a strawman because you’re claiming we’re saying “all women who choose to continue Down Syndrome pregnancies are unethical” which is actually the exact OPPOSITE of what EG and I have both said. Here is what I’ve ACTUALLY SAID on the matter, and please tell me how anyone other than: a) a lying sack of shit or b) a pompous asshole who doesn’t give a fuck about actually listening to others’ arguments before grandstanding; could possibly think I meant all women who continue Down pregnancies are unethical:

    Really, that’s probably a little harsh for Down’s…there’s a good chance for a decent life, as long as someone makes a commitment to doing their best to provide as good a life as possible, I really can’t fault them for trying (even if I’d make a different ethical judgement about the situation myself).

    […] Since this does involve the welfare of a non-consenting person, it’s fair game for discussion, but I don’t think it’s at the point where we can be categorical about it, and it certainly doesn’t rise to the level (in my view) of denouncing someone who’d make a different choice.

    So, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!

    You accuse this community by saying this view “keeps coming up,” when it has, in fact, been brought forward EXACTLY ONCE by matlun, who was shot down UNEQUIVOCALLY by two people you presumptuously claim to “educate.” Fuck you.

    You have not brought a single bit of nuance of new information to this topic. You have just misrepresented others’ viewpoints so you can condescendingly dump information on them that THEY ALREADY KNOW and HAVE ALREADY DISCUSSED IN DETAIL. You ignore the needs and experiences of actual people with disabilities on this blog, who have found your minimizing extremely offensive. You advocate withholding medical information from women to make informed choices about THEIR OWN BODIES and THEIR OWN LIVES, and then you throw around words like “eugenics.” Seriously. You are a disgraceful fucking troll, and you need to shut up and get the fuck out.

  378. Donna L
    Donna L February 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm |

    I don’t know how you manage it, LSP. Every time I put even one four-letter word in a comment, it seems to get stuck in moderation for hours.

  379. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    @Donna L–what usually gets me is length!!! I’m not sure, but it seems like too many blockquotes gives it problems as well.

    But, yeah, it was pretty rich after post #191 (which I’m pretty sure got modded for length more than anything!), but just the image of all that and the little yellow bar with such a prim little “This comment has been held for moderation.”

    And I thought to myself, “Christ, what a fucking understatement!!”

    I actually briefly considered messaging the mods and saying “pleeeeeaaaaase let that through!!! If any word is over the line you can bleep it, but I worked reeaalllly hard on this!!” but then I realized 1) that’s ridiculous, and 2) I can trust their good judgment.

  380. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    It goes like this: “[Someone else’s] suffering builds [AM’s] character.” Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

    That’s one of many of your strawman arguments.

    “all women who choose to continue Down Syndrome pregnancies are unethical”

    That’s not what I said you said. I said “disabled” due to the “Tay Sachs and comparable disability” comment. So.. yea, another strawman on your part. I can find more if you like.. there are probably hundreds in here.

    Not as many as your ad hominem attacks, however.

    You have not brought a single bit of nuance of new information to this topic.

    Well, that’s just not true. I actually came in with quite a few facts and corrections, especially regarding the rapidly rising life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome. Don’t pretend you were already aware of that..

    All you’ve brought is an Eric Cartman-esque comic relief and some philosophy 101 theories, for which you arrogantly patted yourself on the back without realizing how elementary you were being. I feel bad for you. You’re obviously a very angry person who takes a lot of pride in her intelligence and, yet you just got intellectually rotisseried by about 4 or 5 separate contributors in here.

    Let us know how the humble pie tastes..

  381. Jack
    Jack February 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm |

    I’m curious. Since one of the arguments here is “I don’t want to outlive my child”, if we could test for homosexuality or transgenderism, would you abort a fetus that tested positive for these? They’re more likely to die earlier, suffer disproportionately in comparison to straight cisgender people, etc. In fact I think the average age for a transgender person is between 20 and 30. Lower than that of Down’s syndrome.

  382. EG
    EG February 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

    Since that stat about trans people is a load of unsourced bullshit that rests on global data, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Talk to me about the life expectancy of a middle-class trans person in a first-world country with a supportive family. Or hell, I’ll take just the life expectancy of a trans person in a first-world country–I suspect, by the way, that it varies according to whether or not the kid winds up in the kind of family who will beat him or her repeatedly before kicking him or her out of the house at the age of 15 or so, and since I can guarantee you that that will not happen to any child of mine, I would place my kid’s chances at the higher end of any first-world range you find.

    Find me a cite for your claim that gay and trans people have shorter life expectancies–substantially shorter, of the kind that might me see me outliving my gay or trans kid. Because all I’m turning up is anti-gay, anti-trans bullshit on my search.

    I am unaware that being gay or trans causes any heart problems, leukemia, etc. Again, cite that shit.

  383. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    AM, there’s a lot of bullshit to unpack here, so I’m going to do this in separate posts as I have time:

    It goes like this: “[Someone else’s] suffering builds [AM’s] character.” Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

    That’s one of many of your strawman arguments.

    Oh, holy fuck!!! You really don’t know what a strawman argument is.

    The above is not a strawman. I believe its appropriate taxonomic classification is “snarky comment.” With a bit more formalism, the definition of a strawman is that when someone is arguing for X, the strawmanner says “This guy is arguing for Y, and that’s horrible!!!”

    The above, by contrast, is a characterization of the inconsistencies and blind spots of a viewpoint via humor. This equates to “My opponent claims X, but his supporting assertions indicate that he actually means Y.” Other posters have already presented arguments as to why your claim, X, is false (i.e., they have experiences of suffering and do not find it builds character or can be reframed as a “challenge”), and others also postulated that your presumption to speak for other people’s suffering and your repeated dismissal of the experiences of those dealing with real suffering and your minimization of its effects indicates Y (i.e., your character and ego seems to be that which most concerns you).

    I was not making an argument for this case, I was just tying a snarky little bow on the argument that had been made. Note, this is by definition not a strawman because the essence of a strawman argument is to try to subtly change the argument so that the audience doesn’t notice you’re attacking a man made of straw. When someone uses bolding and brackets to highlight the differences between X, and Y, it’s not a strawman–it’s EMPHASIZING inconsistencies.

    But nice try, though…*eyeroll*

  384. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

    I’m curious. Since one of the arguments here is “I don’t want to outlive my child”, if we could test for homosexuality or transgenderism, would you abort a fetus that tested positive for these? They’re more likely to die earlier, suffer disproportionately in comparison to straight cisgender people, etc. In fact I think the average age for a transgender person is between 20 and 30. Lower than that of Down’s syndrome.

    What EG said about your stats just being wrong.

    Furthermore, this gets to the heart of what disadvantages are socially constructed versus those which are at least partly intrinsic. The disadvantages of being gay or trans are the result of social exclusion–people discriminate against them, harass them, they face condemnation from their families and peer groups, etc. There is nothing biological that prevents a gay or trans person from being a fully free agent in their world–they find no inherent difficulties in relating to & affecting their world, they have no different basic aptitudes for various careers, they lack no senses or abilities that would limit their autonomy or personal convenience, and there is very little physical discomfort or medical need*.

    The problems facing LGBT kids are largely ones I can control: I can be sure to create a sex-positive and inclusive atmosphere in my home (family acceptance is one of the larger factors in mental health and happiness with gay kids and young adults), I can be proactive at their school to make sure social situations are positive and welcoming, I can make sure my friends/coworkers/guests in my house respect my kids (or cut any assholes out of my life), I can make sure they have access to role models from an early age, I can choose pediatricians who specialize in LGBT issues (or is at least LGBT friendly), and I may or may not have control over whether I live in an enlightened and welcoming neighborhood. In the case of trans kids I can raise zem according to their preferred gender from birth and medically manage puberty as appropriate.

    *Really, the only unresolvable (i.e., non-socially-constructed) medical issues that I can think of are: gay people can’t get pregnant with their partners, but with modern fertility technology that’s becoming a smaller and smaller concern; trans people may or may not need SRS as they wish, some find transition to be physically painful or may be concerned with post-op sexual function, and there’s some higher incidence of uterine cancers due to exogenous hormones, etc.–all in all, fairly manageable.

    I think you know that a lot of mortality is the result of suicides and HIV (even if your stats are waaaay off)–these are the results of other human beings being cruel, lack of sex education and resources, etc. I can do a lot to minimize these risk factors for my child. Now, in an alternate universe where someone might be born with some hypothetical disorder involving an incurable tryptophan hydroxylase abnormality (leading to altered seratonin levels, high risk of depression, and suicide) and SCID (a genetic immunodeficiency that’s currently quite difficult to treat)–yeah, then I would probably abort because those would be biological problems that I couldn’t fix for my child no matter how much I tried, rather than the result of how they interact with the world.

  385. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    AM:

    That’s not what I said you said. I said “disabled” due to the “Tay Sachs and comparable disability” comment.

    TAY-SACHS IS NOT COMPARABLE TO ANY DISABILITY. You know, I’m getting really fucking shocked that you so cavalierly throw around the experiences of those with Tay-Sachs and their families. For someone who puffs himself up so much about his concern for disabilities, your apathy here is pretty disgusting. Abby has already explained what this condition is–it is an inevitable death sentence at less than 4 years of age, with a body wracked by seizures, choking, and unceasing pain. Continuing this pregnancy is condemning a child to a life of torture, and it’s pretty clearly wrong. This IS NOT THE SAME as saying all disabled people know nothing but suffering; this is saying Tay-Sachs itself is nothing but suffering. A “comparable disability” is not anything you want to reframe as a “challenge”–it is something that ALSO causes intense pain and inevitable short-term death but by a slightly different mechanism.

    For you to claim “Tay-Sachs or a comparable disability” means any old “disability” actually IS a strawman, because X is not Y and you’re trying to pretend they are.

    So.. yea, another strawman on your part.

    Oh, fuckitol!! No, you accused me of saying it would be unethical to continue a DOWN SYNDROME pregnancy. You’re doing it here:

    For Down Syndrome in particular, there really isnt any evidence or argument beyond your own arrogance to suggest that it is unethical.

    You do realize there’s no edit function here, and we have Ctrl-F, so you can’t hide from your own bullshit.

    Not as many as your ad hominem attacks, however.

    Oh, so not only do you not know what a strawman argument is, you ALSO don’t know what an ad hominem is either???? For fuck’s sake, just shut up for a bit and learn about the world around you.

    Here is the Pharyngula wiki, which does a great job tearing down this mendacious, threadbare “ad hominem” whine:

    One of the common errors made during discussions and arguments at Pharyngula is to confuse ad hominem with insult. An ad hominem response to an argument might be: “You’re wrong because you’re an idiot.” However saying: “You’re wrong because of this, that and t’other fact, you idiot” is not ad hominem but is insulting.

    And I’ll also add that the insult is an important part–it’s to establish your wrongness outside of the sphere of legitimate debate.

  386. Donna L
    Donna L February 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    if we could test for homosexuality or transgenderism, would you abort a fetus that tested positive for these? They’re more likely to die earlier, suffer disproportionately in comparison to straight cisgender people, etc.

    Give me a break. There’s nothing inherent in either that would lead to a diminished life expectancy, no matter how many times the religious right knowingly repeats that lie with respect to gay men — a long-debunked “statistic” based, if I recall correctly, on the average age at death of gay men who were identified as such in published obituaries. Hardly a scientific sampling, especially during a period that probably encompassed the height of the AIDS crisis.

    As for trans people, for whom reliable statistics are few and far between, any diminished life expectancy — assuming that for the sake of argument it exists — also is nothing inherent in being trans, but is attributable to the exponentially higher rates of murder and, especially, suicide among trans people. Higher suicide rates which themselves reflect the results of discrimination and ridicule and hatred from the world around them, especially from their own families. Not a problem EG’s child would ever have. Just like parental homophobia was one thing my son never had to deal with.

    Yes, gay and trans kids have higher rates of smoking. Why do you think that is?

    Also: neither being gay nor being trans is a disability.

  387. Donna L
    Donna L February 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

    PS: the Box Turtle Bulletin is a great source for debunking all the lies propagated about LGBT people.

  388. Stogucheme
    Stogucheme February 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

    @Donna L:
    I experience pain and will probably die sooner than most. I’m still happy, and the only way my quality of life has been diminished is by the ableism I’ve been constantly surrounded with. I wouldn’t have wanted to be aborted because I was disabled.

    And that’s really what this thread is communicating. That kids who are non-common bodied/non-neurotypical should be aborted because “Oh, they’ll live such a terrible/less happy life.” Jack’s point stands. You can accommodate for disabilities and we can be happy.

  389. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    I actually came in with quite a few facts and corrections, especially regarding the rapidly rising life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome. Don’t pretend you were already aware of that..

    Um, actually, yes I was. If you’ve been reading carefully you’d notice that I come from a pretty involved medical background–if my citing of a peer-reviewed journal article on pediatric mortality in Down Syndrome wasn’t enough to clue you in, the fact that I went into considerable physiologic detail to explain how a fetus can’t give a shit might have been a tip-off.

    Thanks to a perusal of my university’s very extensive academic journal subscriptions, I have plenty of information at my disposal to identify that the general consensus on the Down Syndrome life expectancy hovers generally in the 50s (not that another 5ish years of Azheimer’s-ridden life is particularly relevant in the overall calculus of whether or not to continue a pregnancy, but anyway!), but cases are highly variable with respect to age, sex, and social situation/availability of services, which is a huge problem in the US. Generally most of the medical literature assesses survival with respect to a particular associated condition and/or medical procedure. The actual medical success rates of procedures have been going up markedly, which is driving a great deal of the longevity, but marked disparities still exist with respect to the severity of the phenotype and regarding access to support and services. So, yeah, interesting…if it weren’t entirely beside the point we’ve been making about RISK of a severe outcome, and which outcomes we feel (as potential parents) are too severe or too likely to be worth the risk for a potential child.

    You’re obviously a very angry person

    Oh, thank you for so beautifully incarnating a classic Derailing For Dummies trope!! Wow, that just makes it so easy!

    “The Marginalised Person™ has possibly even decided that you’re simply too obnoxious to waste patience on and is venting their sense of frustration.”

    and

    “You can use it to disregard everything they’ve said to you and just not deal with the issue, in particular ignoring your prior behaviour that led to the anger.”

    you just got intellectually rotisseried by about 4 or 5 separate contributors in here.

    By whom?

    Seriously–BY WHOM?

    By K., whose final retort was just to say “intersectional” and flounce without answering a single question?

    By LotusBen, who explicitly states he won’t address any argument that challenges his pre-determined beliefs?

    By Mike Sullivan, whose entire argument boils down to some fucked-up forced-pregnancy embryos-are-more-important than women bullshit?

    By Suzy Dymock, who has taken a flying leap into Germain Greer never-neverland and believes ultrasounds are oppressive, natural childbirth is “true womanhood,” and a winning argument is to spew ableism about Tourette’s?

    By Stella McLeod, who doesn’t understand what “birth” means?

    By YOU, who can’t properly define a logical fallacy to save your life, who fails to read and/or misrepresents others’ arguments shamefully, and perpetually tries to equate Tay-Sachs with just about anything?

    Yeah, sorry, not seeing much of a rotisserie, really…

  390. Chiara
    Chiara February 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm |

    I NEVER made any claim that any person or persons’ happiness was not genuine, or that it was misguided or illusory. Just that the happiness cannot be specifically attributed to the Down’s rather than to other co-occuring factors.

    So stop trying to fucking strawman. It’s bloody dishonest and tedious.

    Wait what? I never said that their happiness should be attributed to Down’s. Quite the opposite. I said that many disabled people are happy, despite being disabled. I’d appreciate if you could actually read my posts instead of just conflating my opinions together with those of all the other people who’ve argued against you. All I’m arguing with was the idea someone suggested that all disabled people necessarily suffer (inherently, not because of discrimination) more than abled people. Some do, some don’t.

    The value of THE DISEASE ITSELF is questioned, when it is discovered in utero and therefore NOT ATTACHED TO A PERSON. This is not difficult, and it’s not about you.

    Sorry but that’s total BS. It’s like Christians who say ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’ with regard to homosexuality. While I don’t consider myself defined absolutely by my disability it certainly does color the way I interact with the world, the way I think, and the way other people perceive me.

    So when you say you question the value of the disability, you’re saying that you question the value of a number of character traits that disability causes, and therefore questioning the character of disabled people. If you were able to cure someone with a cognitive disability then to some degree you would see a change in their character.

    So when a disabled person reads that you would like to get rid of disability x, y or z they know that the way they think and what they think and their personality are influenced by their disability, and getting rid of the disability would mean becoming quite a different person.

  391. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm |

    some philosophy 101 theories, for which you arrogantly patted yourself on the back without realizing how elementary you were being

    It’s actually cognitive psychology more than philosophy, but whatever… Yeah, it’s pretty obvious stuff (and I never said it wasn’t), but you were one of the ones who was making such a petty argument that all it needed was basic CogPsych. If you realize how elementary it is, how come you don’t also realize that “the people I know are happy” has no bearing whatsoever on a woman deciding what to do with an at-risk pregnancy, or on the ethics of at-risk pregnancies at large?

  392. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

    It amazes me how so many people in this thread seem to think that people’s lives are a hallmark channel movie. Ironically they attempt to simultaneously claim ownership of children then claim that it is nature or god’s fault if child has disease or condition XYZ that they could have kept from manifesting. They want to own the idea of the brave little trooper, regardless of what said brave little trooper actually thinks. This is why they can only look at the “Happy stories of success.” stories. Some years ago there was a program about primordial dwarfs and the father of one of these children (Might have been called Little People America.) mentioned how he was worried because the suicide rate of the males (If I remember correctly he specifically mentioned males.) was particularly high.

    “But, but that doesn’t fit the hallmark narrative!” Don’t worry there is more. There was another child who basically said that she wanted to die when she was asked how it felt to be her. “But, but, but they don’t think that!”

    I wonder if these people would tell one of these kids starving in a third world country to just keep a stiff upper lip or some other such nonsense.

  393. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm |

    Identity theory, happiness, and ethics are pretty squarely within philosophy, whether you reference the brain or not. I actually have a degree in cognitive science (though I’m a bit rusty). We’re talking philosophy here.

    It’s elementary stuff, but I don’t agree that your conclusion follows. The bottom line is that science is not the authority on ethics. If people who have a disability don’t wish they were never born, then that’s a strong argument against the ethical imperative to prevent disabled people from being born.

    These decisions are a result of faith. Your faith in science might contrast with someone else’s faith in God or someone else’s faith in nature or someone else’s faith in her own intuition.

    The law allows for all of these types of faith to influence this decision (as opposed to, say, smoking weed in a government building), and any ethical debate can’t make judgments about the lives of people with disabilities while simultaneously ignoring / discounting their perspectives and the perspectives of those who are closest to them.

  394. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm |

    LeftSidePositive:

    Do you just not care about others’ enjoyment of this space? Are you taking NO responsibility for how your actions on this thread affect the discussion?

    I don’t particularly care about your individual enjoyment of this space because I don’t like you. I’m taking responsibility now and saying I’ll stop talking to you if that’s what you prefer. I’m also willing to keep answering your questions if you prefer that, but you might not like the answers.

    And don’t you think that calling others’ contributions “ableist derails” is pretty damn hostile, especially when we care passionately about the discussion? Do you really think it’s okay to do that?

    Many of your individual contributions have been ableist derails in my opinion. Yes, I feel pretty damn hostile toward you. Yes, I think how I’ve been treating you is okay.

    And yes, you HAVE tried to put your views above criticism–that’s what all that “setting a boundary” stuff and flouncing MEANS. It’s not a question of “ignoring me” or not–just don’t take a giant crap in the middle of this space, and not care whether what you say is true or whether people you’re attacking have a point. If that’s how you’re treating this thread, just read it.

    My boundaries have to do with me, not you. You can do whatever you want. I have decided to emotionally and intellectually disengage from this conversation with you. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop posting on this thread or engaging with other people here. It doesn’t even mean I’m going to ignore you. I’m willing to continue to answer your questions if that’s what you prefer.

  395. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm |

    Oh the irony since that is precisely what you are doing.

  396. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm |

    that last post of mine was directed at AM.

  397. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

    The thread seems to have moved past this, but I just wanted to say that I did some research into conditions like Trisomy 18 and Tay-Sachs disease. What happens to these babies is really horrifying, and I feel so much compassion for them and their families. I wasn’t familiar with either of these conditions before this thread. I definitely support medical research and social policy aimed at eradicating these conditions, although I’d still stop short of supporting anything that would impede a woman’s right to freely choose to abort or carry to term.

    That said, yes, I probably do negatively judge women who would knowingly continue a pregnancy when the fetus was going to be born with Trisomy 18 or Tay-Sachs disease. It’s still none of my business, and I wouldn’t condemn them, but I can’t say it doesn’t somewhat horrify me that someone would make such a choice, although I suppose I understand that if such a choice is based off dogmatic relgious beliefs how it must be very hard to consider deviating from those beliefs.

  398. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

    AM @ 422:

    Your faith in science might contrast with someone else’s faith in God or someone else’s faith in nature or someone else’s faith in her own intuition.

    Sorry, but you don’t have “faith in” science. Science just is. That reminds me of when I see poll questions about whether or not someone “believes in” evolution or global warming. You don’t get to decide to believe in them or not, they’re just facts.

    A person’s faith in a god or nature or her own intuition may contrast with or even trump science, but only one of those is an actual thing.

  399. H
    H February 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    @abby
    You do get to decide, reality just doesn’t care what you believe. Doctors didn’t believe in germ theory back in the Civil War era, when this theory was still new. Let’s just say there is a reason you were better of dying on the field of battle than going to one of these hospitals.

  400. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

    AM, my responses to all your other points are apparently still in moderation, so I’m afraid you’ll have to stay tuned.

    If people who have a disability don’t wish they were never born, then that’s a strong argument against the ethical imperative to prevent disabled people from being born.

    NO. You have a very major confound here, which is that just about NO ONE with a generally healthy mental outlook wishes they had never been born. If I were to get knocked up right now, the resulting kid would probably really enjoy zir life and would never wish ze had never been born. HOWEVER, I’m going to do my damnedest to prevent any out-of-wedlock babies to be born to me (even though EVERY SINGLE ONE of those resulting people probably would have loved their lives!). I see people in the hospital with horrible incurable painful genetic diseases and the vast majority are very happy, positive people–that DOES NOT MEAN the disease itself is a good thing, and it does not mean it would be a “tragedy” if these diseases weren’t passed on to the next generation.

    (And another thing, people with a disability are not monolithic–just because some are very happy doesn’t mean everyone is, and a fetus may land ANYWHERE on the spectrum of disease perceptions.)

  401. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm |

    H:

    You do get to decide, reality just doesn’t care what you believe.

    No, I’m saying that some things are not about belief. When people tell me they don’t “believe” in evolution, I respond that they don’t accept evolution. Belief is for things that don’t have evidence. You have to believe in God, because there is no evidence. That’s the point of belief. Evolution, and, you know, science in general, is based on evidence, not belief.

  402. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

    Language is important. “Pro-life” and “anti-choice” and “forced birther” all convey different things. Letting people “believe” or not believe in science puts evidence on an equal footing with belief. I refuse to play into that.

  403. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm |

    When people tell me they don’t “believe” in evolution, I respond that they don’t accept evolution.

    You’re better than me. I tell them, “Well, I do believe you are extremely stupid.”

  404. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

    These decisions are a result of faith.

    They may be made as a result of faith by some people, but that’s not an ethical way to do it. False beliefs may lead to horrific consequences when parents let their babies suffer futilely because of their religion, just like LotusBen mentioned above. And yes, science is HUGELY important to ethics–“Good ethics starts with good facts.” How do you know what’s the best thing to do in a situation when you don’t know what’s actually going on?! Go look upthread for “Reason as a Moral Obligation” and watch it.

    And science doesn’t work by faith. Science works by rigorously examining evidence, doubting oneself and one’ biases, and reaching a conclusion that stands up to scrutiny from others.

    any ethical debate can’t make judgments about the lives of people with disabilities

    WE ARE NOT making judgments about the lives of PEOPLE with disabilities (how many times have I had to say this?!). We are making a judgment strictly about the contribution OF THE DISABILITY ITSELF to a hypothetical person’s life. Some other actual person’s life in its totality does not have any bearing, because the only thing a given fetus is going to share is *the disability* and not any of the other factors. In that case you’re weighing the CERTAINTY of some impairments, the rather high likelihood of others, against the hypothetical and highly-selectively-sampled possibility for general happiness, which is not any different for baseline (can’t possibly bring the average up). Therefore, the expected payoff in this situation is negative.

  405. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm |

    You’re better than me. I tell them, “Well, I do believe you are extremely stupid.”

    I’m originally from, and am back in, New York. But I lived in Oklahoma for a few years during high school. I was the only Jew, the only person not from Oklahoma or a surrounding state, and the most outspoken liberal at my school. I know of several people who became significantly more liberal and open at least in part because I was friends with them. My best friend was, when I met her, a previously-homeschooled Baptist who sat on the front steps with a Bible to try to save souls after school. Now she’s a vegan feminist atheist socialist who went to Occupy Tulsa.

    She wasn’t stupid. Just misguided. Brainwashed, perhaps. Before I knew people like her, I thought they were all morons, these anti-science bigots. They’re not. And much as “You’re an idiot” appeals, and much as this makes me feel like my mother, there’s something about flies and various substances that applies here.

    Ugh. Don’t tell her–my mom–I admitted that, okay?

  406. AM
    AM February 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

    Ironically they attempt to simultaneously claim ownership of children then claim that it is nature or god’s fault if child has disease or condition XYZ that they could have kept from manifesting.

    More value judgment that certain people are better off having never been born. In your view, abortion is medicine. Not everybody believes that.

    There was another child who basically said that she wanted to die when she was asked how it felt to be her. “But, but, but they don’t think that!”

    High suicide rate among a community means people of that community should have never been born? Are dwarves committing suicide because of their inherent condition or because of discrimination? I personally don’t think a high suicide rate means all of those people were better off not being born. In fact, I don’t even think a suicidal person is better off having never been born. Even still, the suicide rate among people with Down Syndrome is lower than the general population.

    @Abby

    Science indeed requires faith. Science changes its “facts” all the time. There’s lots of science that I believe in and plenty that I think is crap. If you were wise, you wouldn’t blindly follow everything that’s published in an academic journal, and you certainly wouldn’t allow science to dictate ethics.

  407. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm |

    Librarygoose: Because what makes one better than the other, what causes me to judge, I just don’t know.

    To me, it’s a question of quality of life. I doubt I’d be able to provide for a child with Downs, unless my circumstances changed drastically; and even then I’d have to really think about it. If a woman decides she can’t provide the care level a child with Downs needs, well, she probably knows her strengths and weaknesses better than any stranger does. I have a strong preference for abortion over half-assed care or total neglect. People with Downs can live long and full lives- as long as one understands that they will always somewhat lag behind their peers and may not be able to live on their own.

    I will probably never meet a child with Tay-sachs or a child who carries any dominant lethals. ‘Cause most of them died, painfully. I think that area’s pretty black and white; anyone, parent or not would judge a parent who willingly or accidentally inflicts pain on their child. And what parent wants their child’s entire life to be spent in a hospital cot, hooked up to machines? I know there are parents who’d choose life at any cost, and I admire their courage. But I can’t fault the parents who’d rather avoid that pain. I know exactly what I’d decide.
    Also, why did people decide that this thread had to be all about Downs? Amniocentesis isn’t all about Down’s. I keep repeating myself: it’s a neccesary procedure, and can help save the life of baby AND mother. But, yah, Christians (I’m guessing here, but Mike, Suzy and AM to name a few, just reek of small-town church and willful ignorance) aren’t convinced women are anything but fetus factories to be replaced at will.

  408. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm |

    Also, why did people decide that this thread had to be all about Downs?

    Because that’s where discussions of abortion and disability always go. It’s a great place for the anti-choicers. Everyone has met someone with Down’s, often a child. The issues aren’t like Tay-Sachs or tri-18. Down’s is the perfect syndrome for arguing against abortion in cases of disability. And the kids are cute. They’re not misshapen, or wheelchair-bound, or full of tubes. For a while they’re just like any other kid, only a bit delayed. It’s hard to look at a picture of a smiling child with Down’s (and I have many such pictures) and support aborting. Or at least, that’s the assumption; I personally don’t find it hard.

  409. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

    Ugh. Don’t tell her–my mom–I admitted that, okay?

    But I am your mother!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    *rips off mask*
    *realizes wearing a mask to spy over the internet is pointless*

    (I’m not really your mom).

  410. EG
    EG February 24, 2012 at 12:02 am |

    In your view, abortion is medicine. Not everybody believes that.

    Yeah, I knew we’d get here sooner or later.

  411. AM
    AM February 24, 2012 at 12:05 am |

    Well, I’m bored of this at this point, so it’s time to leave this hornet’s nest because I actually have things to do!

    I think we’re all in agreement here… that @leftsidepositive’s comments are more fun to read in a Cartman voice. Seriously, try it.

    I trust that you won’t talk about me behind my back.

  412. Azalea
    Azalea February 24, 2012 at 12:16 am |

    365
    Abby Spice 2.23.2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    AM @ 342 quotes me:

    I would certainly judge the hell out of someone whose baby would have a serious disorder, Tay-Sachs or a comparable disease, and didn’t have an abortion.

    And responds:

    That’s the closest thing to “shaming” pregnant women based on choice that we’ve seen on this thread.

    Do you know anything about Tay-Sachs? I’m guessing not. Here, let’s turn to our friend Wikipedia:
    “Infants with Tay–Sachs disease appear to develop normally for the first six months after birth. Then, as nerve cells become distended with gangliosides, a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities occurs and progresses inexorably. The child becomes blind, deaf, unable to swallow, and develops atrophy and paralysis…There is currently no cure or treatment for Tay–Sachs disease. Infants are given feeding tubes when they can no longer swallow…Even with the best care, children with Infantile Tay–Sachs disease die by the age of 4.”

    Alright:

    1) An abortion is still something that would have to happen to the pregnant person’s body.

    2) While it is in hir body, it is a fetus and does not have a right to be born nor aborted based on what is best for it. Pregnancy is about the needs wants and desires of the pregnant person.

    3) Being pro choice is about respecting the needs wants and desires of the pregnant person. It’s ze body, ze choice. We dont shame pregnant people who drink through their pregnancy or who do the other mile long list of shit that could hurt the fetus. Why draw an arbitrary line in the sand now?

    4) You are free to abort for whatever reason, a person pregnant with a fetus with the world’s worst disability is free to carry to term for whatever reason hir wants to. Thats what choice is about.

  413. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive February 24, 2012 at 12:26 am |

    I don’t particularly care about your individual enjoyment of this space because I don’t like you.

    I never said anything about my individual enjoyment. I meant enjoyment for everyone. Reading arguments in good faith is interesting for the vast majority of forum readers (or they wouldn’t be on a forum!)…reading LotusBen’s self-justifications for not making arguments in good faith is significantly less interesting for much of the readership.

    And another thing–this isn’t about liking me personally. I think Mike Sullivan and AM are totally insufferable pompous douchebags and yet I show respect to this forum, the other readers, and yes, even to them, to make sure my arguments are coherent, honestly-presented, and fact-based. I question myself, read their posts carefully, and make sure they’re pompous douchebags before I tell them so. They might disagree with me, but at least they’re trying to communicate their warped view of reality as they see it.

    I’m also willing to keep answering your questions if you prefer that, but you might not like the answers.

    What I want answers on is what are your counterarguments to the case I have made as to the difference between accurately describing medical probabilities vs. ableism. On how intellectual disability is not entirely socially constructed. I went to great trouble to explain my position to you, and you refused to examine your opinion or even ADDRESS my argument.

    Many of your individual contributions have been ableist derails in my opinion.

    Since I have made a counterargument in good faith, you have exactly two choices as an ethical person:

    1) Address my counterargument and show me why you think I’m wrong.
    2) Concede and stop flinging accusations of ableism and derailing at me.

    “I feel, that if a person can’t communicate, the very least he can do is to SHUT UP.” –Tom Lehrer, That Was The Year That Was

    Yes, I feel pretty damn hostile toward you. Yes, I think how I’ve been treating you is okay.

    If you do not care enough to carefully consider your position or whether or not your beliefs are even accurate, your own opinion on your behavior carries absolutely no ethical weight. If you think it’s okay to be hostile to me while being self-serving and lazy in your own thoughts, you are just throwing a temper-tantrum.

    My boundaries have to do with me, not you. You can do whatever you want.

    Which is to criticize your self-righteous imposition of “boundaries” in attempting to cut off legitimate criticism.

    I have decided to emotionally and intellectually disengage from this conversation with you.

    No you haven’t. If you had, you’d just stop replying to me.

    Instead, you feel the need to pontificate on all the reasons for your flouncing…seriously, this has been an epic multi-tiered meta-flounce!! You are now flouncing about criticism of your flouncing about criticism of your flounce. (At least!)

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop posting on this thread or engaging with other people here.

    Yep, and I’m going to keep calling you an intellectually dishonest asshat whenever it’s warranted. (And I’ll back up that assertion!)

    It doesn’t even mean I’m going to ignore you.

    So, how exactly do you “emotionally and intellectually disengage” without ignoring?? I don’t even know if that’s possible, but I’m pretty sure you’re not doing it.

    I’m willing to continue to answer your questions if that’s what you prefer.

    If you were actually willing to answer my questions you would have just done it already instead of meta-meta-flounced.

  414. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 24, 2012 at 1:09 am |

    Now that’s a good flounce by AM…

    I have a feeling I might regret the rest of this post…but whatever, I’ve never been good at sending off consistent signals…

    But LeftSidePositive, I have a couple things I want to say to you. Look: we obviously got off on the wrong foot when I started our conversation with “fuck you and your ableist bullshit.” That wasn’t a good way to start a dialogue in good faith. But I don’t know why you’ve had to repeatedly flip out on me. I get you are a fiery person and all that. But we seriously don’t even disagree on that much. It’s not that I’m inherently closed off to discussing any of this either, even if that’s the impression I may have given off. I actually like challenging my assumptions and enjoy when my views can evolve on things. And this thread has already given me an opportunity to think about a lot of important things in some depth.

    I just don’t quite have your stamina is all. Also I can’t handle a stream of insults. I know it’s something you have a flair at, and that’s fine; I don’t object to it on principle. But this is a sensitive issue for me, and I’m a sensitive person. If you want me to be able to engage with you intellectually to the best of my abilities, there’s gonna have to be more restraint or ground rules or something. I haven’t felt like I could say any of this until now since I started off by being a dick to you. I didn’t feel like I had any credibility to ask you to be nicer to me. But yeah, I just wanted to let you know if there’s anything I’ve said over the course of this thread you still want to discuss, I’m open to that. And criticizing my views is fine and swearing for emphasis is fine, too. But just I guess remember I’m hypersensitive on this.

    I do think there have been some things you’ve said that are ableist. I’m willing to be more specific on that if you’re interested. That doesn’t mean I think you are a bad, unethical person or something. There are just some viewpoints you hold I strenously object to. And you seemingly do toward some of mine as well.

    Anyway, I’m willing to discuss any of this if it’s still of interest to you.

  415. thinksnake
    thinksnake February 24, 2012 at 1:33 am |

    So… there are large sections of this thread that really sent off my anxiety, so I skipped them. Maybe I should have stopped reading altogether, perhaps that would have been better for my sense of self.

    Earlier in the thread (I’m not going back over to find out who, since I really don’t want to trigger myself on a lot of the ableist bullshit that’s been said by a whole byunch of different people) someone mentioned that ‘buildings that aren’t accessible isn’t ableist’ or somesuch. Since I didn’t see that particular point being countered, I just wanted to point out that that is exactly what ableism is. Unthinking ableism is still ableism.
    Seriously, intent ain’t fucking magic.

  416. shfree
    shfree February 24, 2012 at 1:41 am |

    Well, I’m bored of this at this point, so it’s time to leave this hornet’s nest because I actually have things to do!

    I think we’re all in agreement here… that @leftsidepositive’s comments are more fun to read in a Cartman voice. Seriously, try it.

    I trust that you won’t talk about me behind my back.

    Don’t speak for me, AM. Because I think you suck. And these sorts of discussions make my brain hurt, because of the people who just keep coming out from nowhere who just will not get it. ABORTION NOT ABOUT YOU UNLESS YOU ARE THE ONE HAVING THE ABORTION. Jesus. Eyes on your own paper, for fuck’s sake.

  417. Stogucheme
    Stogucheme February 24, 2012 at 1:56 am |

    Good god. TABs debating the future of PWDs and whether or not to abort them. I’m officially disgusted. You do realize, that if you advocate aborting people with Klippel Trenaunay, and if you had done this a couple decades sooner, I wouldn’t be alive, right? So don’t give me crap about taking things personally.

    Why don’t any men here discuss the future of women? Whites, go ahead and discuss POCs’ futures. Cis people, you go decide trans* people’s fate.

    SERIOUSLY. You have no right to do this whatsoever. I may not represent all PWD’s, but you lot sure as hell don’t know shit about us.

  418. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 24, 2012 at 2:09 am |

    And if my brother had been born a few years earlier he would have died because the doctor who saved him was not in that hospital, and my mother would have aborted me because she couldn’t go through that again. But you know what, it would have been her choice.

  419. Li
    Li February 24, 2012 at 2:23 am |

    @thinksnake

    You were looking for H at 326.

    While it is definitely good to educate people about disabilities, it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that people are being “ableist” because they never thought to build ramps and such until someone who needed one spoke up about it. They didn’t build the ramps because they never thought of it because they don’t live that kind of life!

    And oh boy is that some textbook ableism right there! The scarequotes, the “that kind of life” line, the insistence that people are being “ridiculous”, the implication that places would be accessible if only someone spoke up about it

  420. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 24, 2012 at 2:30 am |

    Good god. TABs debating the future of PWDs and whether or not to abort them. I’m officially disgusted. You do realize, that if you advocate aborting people with Klippel Trenaunay, and if you had done this a couple decades sooner, I wouldn’t be alive, right? So don’t give me crap about taking things personally.

    Why don’t any men here discuss the future of women? Whites, go ahead and discuss POCs’ futures. Cis people, you go decide trans* people’s fate.

    SERIOUSLY. You have no right to do this whatsoever. I may not represent all PWD’s, but you lot sure as hell don’t know shit about us.

    You just don’t get it, do you? FETUSES ARE NOT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. THEY AREN’T PEOPLE, PERIOD.

    Just because you have a disability, apparently, doesn’t stop you from being a forced birther. Even though you have no “right” to make pronouncements about what women should do with their bodies.

    I have a disability. I am a woman of trans history. If someone terminated a pregnancy because they didn’t want to have a child with my illness, or one who was going to be trans (not that any test for the latter will ever exist at any time in any of our lifetimes), it would be none of my goddamn business and I would have no right to condemn it, even if I thought the person lacked understanding that being trans doesn’t always lead to a life of misery. Continue to educate and try to increase the general understanding of transness or anything else? Fine. But condemn an individual’s choice to terminate a pregnancy for any reason or no reason? Never.

    So, yeah, you most certainly do not speak for all PWD’s.

  421. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 24, 2012 at 3:02 am |

    Thank you, Li!

    I’ve had a hard time with this thread because I know people on here have said some really ableist things. And sometimes it’s been obvious to me. Like Matlun’s comment @314 where ze said that it was “unethical” for mothers to carry a Down’s fetus to term.

    But most of the time I can’t put my finger on it. I know what’s being said is ableist, but I don’t have the ability to analyze it and break it down like you do. And then I bring it up in a vague way and get a string of epithets launched at me and I start doubting my perceptions. . .maybe I’m just being too sensitive, after all?

    So thank you so much for bringing some much-needed clarity on to this thread in relation to some of the ableism that’s been expressed here.

  422. Stogucheme
    Stogucheme February 24, 2012 at 3:13 am |

    @librarygoose and DonnaL:
    1. I was directing my comments at TABS. PWDs are the ones who should be having this discussion, not them. (That was the entire point of my post.)
    2. That was the *only* point. I never wrote anything about mothers’ right to abort or not. I think every mother has the right to abort. I do not always think it is morally correct to abort. (Like if you can care for the child but don’t want it just because it’s disabled. Or if you wanted a boy and not a girl.) I’d still let the mother abort, because that’s their right.
    3. Yeah, a fetus isn’t a person. But by making the ‘should you abort or not’ question about PWDs, it’s personal to me. Especially since people have regretted me being born in the first place and told me I should never have children ever.

    I’m pro-choice. I’m also anti-pressure-to-abort and anti-ableism.

  423. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 24, 2012 at 3:55 am |

    ::blinks:: Where did all the new people come from?

  424. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 24, 2012 at 3:59 am |

    Stogucheme :

    You do realize, that if you advocate aborting people with Klippel Trenaunay, and if you had done this a couple decades sooner, I wouldn’t be alive, right? So don’t give me crap about taking things personally.

    You do realize, that if you advocate aborting people with bipolar disorder, and if you had done this a couple decades soon, I wouldn’t be alive, right? So don’t give me crap about how I should take this personally.

  425. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice February 24, 2012 at 3:59 am |

    Ah, they’re coming from here.

  426. matlun
    matlun February 24, 2012 at 4:13 am |

    I’ve had a hard time with this thread because I know people on here have said some really ableist things. And sometimes it’s been obvious to me. Like Matlun’s comment @314 where ze said that it was “unethical” for mothers to carry a Down’s fetus to term.

    I believe that you did agree about more severe disabilities/diseases so I guess we are only in disagreement about the question whether the health consequences of Down’s are severe enough. To me this is a borderline case (as I said, I am not strongly committed to my position), but that is where I stand for now.

    Now: How is this ableist?

    Ableism is to me oppression of PWDs and prejudice against the same. It is a violation of or intrusion on their individual rights.

    A fetus is (as has been pointed out ad nauseum) not a person and has no rights.

  427. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 24, 2012 at 4:32 am |

    Especially since people have regretted me being born in the first place and told me I should never have children ever.

    Jesus fuck, that is…beyond human.

    But for your original post, my point was a lot of people could have been aborted for many reasons. Not getting aborted wins you no competition. The choice to abort is for the mother and she should have all the info she asks for. There has been some intense ableism on this thread, you want to get into that, go ahead. PWD should have a voice in this, please. Some of this thread has made me wince, but I don’t feel properly informed enough to really go at it. But almost being aborted doesn’t make you grand-high arbiter of moral abortion.

  428. falcon
    falcon February 24, 2012 at 5:22 am |

    “The next generation will have 90% fewer humans with Down Syndrome. How is that not horrifying? ”

    How is fewer birth defects not a huge win? That is the point behind genetic counseling and folic acid and pre-natal testing and not drinking while pregnant.(and many other things) The closer to 0 birth defects the better. And don’t tell me it is because I am too healthy or something, I have trouble with my brain and lungs. When 0 kids are born with my problems I am having a big party.

    Only having healthy kids just means that you love your kids not that you have anything against disabled people.

  429. anonymous for this comment
    anonymous for this comment February 24, 2012 at 5:33 am |

    1. I was directing my comments at TABS. PWDs are the ones who should be having this discussion, not them. (That was the entire point of my post.)

    Nope, sorry. Any woman who’s a parent or a potential parent is going to be part of this discussion – regardless as to whether or not she’s TAB or PWD. The woman, in her capacity as a possible future parents, gets to decide whether or not she will carry a pregnancy to term – and decides what factors are important to her when she chooses.

    We all start out as helpless fetuses – we all depend on the choices our mothers made, or didn’t make. May make us uncomfortable, may even be terrifying to contemplate – but it’s also the truth.

    Especially since people have regretted me being born in the first place and told me I should never have children ever.

    You know, I genuinely feel for you – a lot of people do this, and a lot of abusive parents will also do this to their children, regardless of their status as TABs or PWDs.

    My mother went through a period where she blamed all of her life’s misfortunes on having me. I was a hugely sensitive child – I frequently picked up on her ambivalence when I was little, and it broke my heart. Maybe another kid would have fared better, I don’t know (my brother has none of these problems, but then again, my mother’s relationship with my brother is very different). I think a lot of my later problems, including problems with abuse (which I would get no help for), stemmed from that. Sometimes, my mother still reminisces about how great life was before I came along, and how wonderful it all could’ve been if she wasn’t forced to make sacrifices for me.

    What can I say? It sucks. In analyzing it, I’ve realized that one of the reasons why I never got treatment for chronic pain, which I developed later in life, probably has to do with the fact that I grew used to punishing myself for existing. After all, I had ruined my mother’s life. My poor, wonderful mother!

    With regard to abortion, my mom frequently talks about how she was encouraged to get one by her doctor when she got pregnant with me. She makes herself out to be a hero who overcame superhuman odds in order