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Old 02-19-2014, 08:15 PM
bofish bofish is offline
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Default Aborting because of mild disability

`London suggested is start this thread...but I want to keep it from getting too heated. I brought up the issue of pro-choice activists being unwilling to discuss the link between selective abortion and disability.

My personal opinion is this: I am against genetic testing.I do not believe that a couple who desires a baby should chose that baby based on ableness nor gender. Andrew Solomon makes the compelling case that if "gayness" or transgender were detected in fetuses, many of those would also be aborted.

I also believe abortion should be legal. I also am not totally pro-choice in the way that I believed a woman should have an abortion for any reason. On the other hand, each situation is different. Fetuses with what I would call manageable, often asthetic disbailities: glaqcoma, deafness, more than one finger, "hair lip" or dwarfism are prone to be abortede

I don't see the abortion as the problem, per se, I see societies compulsive fixation on the able-bodied as the issue.

I don't knows if anyone is open to discussion, maybe London will chime in.abo

Last edited by bofish; 02-19-2014 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:37 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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I'm never going to give birth so this is theoretical for me. It's something I've thought about a lot, however.

I decided awhile ago that I would consider an abortion in the case of a fetus with severe intellectual disabilities. A physical disability but with full mental capabilities would not be enough for me to have an abortion. I've known multiple people with blindness, deafness, need a wheelchair, no legs below the knee, or other physical impairment and they get along just fine. Intellect is important to me and, while I am not easy in my mind about this, it would have bothered me immensely to raise a child that could never grow intellectually, or develop into an adult mentally.

What would I do about the gray areas? Like Down Syndrome where a full life is possible, even if complete intellectual abilities are not? I really don't know.

I also know that people who are pro-choice have to live with aspects of abortion that make them really uncomfortable. I support women's right to choose - even when that choice is not the one I would make, and it disturbs me. I hate that people regularly abort female fetuses in many countries. It bothers me when people abort for minor physical issues or even major ones but where a full life is entirely possible. (I don't worry about people aborting gay babies because there is no homosexual gene.) But that's the nature of abortion. I have to acknowledge that some would make decisions I hate, and I need to support those decisions. A relative brought a fetus to term that would never develop a brain. This is not the decision I would have made. But it was not mine to make and I support it, even as I struggle to understand why.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:05 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Default My opinions

I am pro-choice,
because I don't believe the government has any place in deciding what is best for a woman and her body in regards to medical issues.

On a personal level, due to having experienced having an abortion and the afteraffects; I am against abortion and would counsel most people towards adoption or keeping the baby.

BUT-I don't think that it should be regulated by law.

ESPECIALLY because my priority is the well-being of the child AND mother. A child brought into the world and raised in an abusive environment-isn't benefiting from a law that doesn't allow abortion.

Also; if it were MY daughter; I would prefer she be speaking with a professional medical person about her needs, issues, concerns, fears etc; not going down a back alley.
While I would like to believe that my children would come to be-and know that they COULD come to me; I know that many children can not go to their parents and back alley abortions are the reality when the law makes abortion illegal.
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Old 02-20-2014, 02:51 AM
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If the Childs disability would not make them a burden to my normal children then I would not abort.

But I would not want to saddle my children with responsibility they did not ask for. I am not going to live . It is hard enough to make your own way in life let alone being responsible for someone who is dependent forever. I would not want a child deemed ward of the state or institutionalized.

So if there was no chance of them being able to live an independent life. Then yes I would abort. There are very very few home willing to adopt a special needs child.
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:54 AM
AlwaysGrowing AlwaysGrowing is offline
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As someone who works with people with developmental/intellectual disabilities, I find it interesting that people think "average" (I refuse to use the term "normal" here) intelligence are the only ones able to have a full life.

I work with multiple adults who are significantly below average intellectually. Each of them has a distinct personality, varying interests in music and television and movies and jokes and games, they love to hug or high five or kiss your forehead to show their appreciation and love even when they can't/won't use words. They are amazing, and I love them as much as I love my family. They achieve new things all the time, and while the achievements may not be the same as the ones I am working towards, they are still impressive and joyful times and the pride and joy is visible in their demeanor.

It breaks my heart that so many of these wonderful people aren't born because people find them a burden.

On the actual topic, though... I 100% support a woman's right to choose, for any reason. For me personally, I would not and could not abort unless it was a case of either me or the baby being almost sure to die in a painful way. Obviously, I believe even people with sets of different abilities and intellectual levels can lead fulfilling lives, so in general a disability would not be a reason for me to seek an abortion.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:30 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I am pro choice. I've had two abortions myself and never once felt regret. I knew, at 19, that I would never want to be a mother. I was raised in poverty and suffered because of it, and was just beginning to experience life, and my sexuality, on my own terms at that time. I had no monetary means, nor any desire, to raise a kid. Is that a better reason than if a genetic test shows something physical or mental that I felt would make my offspring's life (and mine) very difficult? Dunno, but I feel that a woman's personal decision should not be questioned by anyone else. For millenia, women used whatever birth control method they had available at the time, and abortions were one of their choices. It's only been since organized religion deemed it a sin, and moreso in "modern" times when the medical profession became male-dominated and midwives and women were no longer respected as authorities on female bodies, that a woman's choice to abort or not came into question by larger society.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:27 AM
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Hypothetical: A pregnant woman finds out, through genetic testing, that her child will have a disability of some kind, one that she is not willing to endure as a parent. Her options, as she sees them: abortion or adoption.

Reality: Children with disabilities are rarely selected for adoption. People don't want the added expense, they don't want to take the time, they don't want to have a child who's "different." Whether or not I think this is morally sound, it's the way things are. You have to deal in the real world, not the world you wish you lived in.

Hypothetical woman's child, if born, will most likely spend her childhood institutionalized in a state hospital or group home. Her physical needs will be met, barely, and her emotional and intellectual needs will likely be neglected. State homes are not renowned for their spectacular care of people with special needs.

I'm pro-choice because I believe every child has the right to be wanted.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:20 AM
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Yes I agree, SC.

As a general principle, I am in favor of letting the mother choose to abort or not to abort. But the sooner in the pregnancy the better, as a rule of thumb. I find the concept of late-term abortion disturbing at best, and in general I hope to see better technology soon that will increasingly enable abortions that don't cause suffering to the child.

I've noticed that all questions about abortion come without absolutes. There is no way to precisely define "too late in the pregnancy," for example. There is no way to precisely define "suffering too severe for the child." And I can't fathom where one would draw the line between "able enough" and "too disabled."

If she knew how crippled he'd be, and if we assume she had a choice, did Stephen Hawking's mother choose well in carrying her son to term? Well, anyone would say yes, of course, obviously, but what if she'd had no idea what kind of I.Q. he'd have, and what if she'd had reason to believe he'd be mentally handicapped? Then carrying him to term would be a leap of faith, and the high intelligence he proved to have would be a bonus in light of the prenatal expectations.

With that case in mind, how does one decide what quality of life is too low for a child to have to face? From what little I know of Stephen Hawking, it seems to me that he is glad he was born and wouldn't have it any other way. And additionally, a mentally-handicapped child isn't doomed to an unhappy life either, as AlwaysGrowing pointed out.

We keep pets that (we think) have well under average human intelligence, and don't consider their "handicaps" (their inability to speak English for example) to be reason they can't have a joyful life with us -- bringing us joy, and receiving joy from us. In fact lots of people keep houseplants which can't even move or care for themselves beyond processing sunlight and minerals -- just because we like the life that living things bring to our home.

In spite of all that, I imagine that if I was a woman and pregnant with a child who I knew would almost certainly be born with so many internal/external deformations as to make it very challenging for that child to stay alive, I would probably abort. If I knew my child would be somewhere in the ballpark of that level of internal/external deformations, I'd be strongly tempted to abort -- but I don't know how anyone can make such a weighty decision based on some one-size-fits-all standard. I think you have to be in the situation, and even use some intuition in deciding. Very difficult.

A really challenging, troubling story about these kinds of decisions can be found in the following article: http://blog.sfgate.com/sfmoms/2013/0...birth-defects/

If we had a special time machine that allowed us to visit an alternate future in which a "badly" (What constitutes "badly?") disabled child had been carried to term and lived at least five or ten years, we could ask that child if xe was glad to have been born in spite if hir disabilities. How many kids, honestly, even badly-disabled kids, would say they wish they'd never been born? Well we all say that at certain really awful points in our lives -- but how many of us really, consistently feel that way? Not many, I bet.

Shoot, even if you knew your child was merely going to be gay, you could rationalize an abortion by saying, "This child will go through life as a social pariah. It would be better to spare hir the angst, anguish, and lonesomeness xe'd have to endure for hir orientation. If this was more of a gay-accepting world then I'd carry hir to term." Ah, if only we had that special time machine and could interview the child-if-xe'd-been-born. Then we could get hir thoughts, feelings, and state of consent. But most of us obviously agree that you'd carry a "gay child" to term -- a life of social persecution notwithstanding.

Essentially, an abortion -- and indeed, the choice to carry to term as well -- is an attempt to predict the future. It is a prediction that every pregnant woman has to make, if she has any choice at all about aborting. Substantial risk of life to mother and/or child perhaps makes the choice more obvious. And then there's pregnancy by rape which is rather off-topic here but I mention it just to further illustrate how complicated the whole issue of abortion is.

They say women tend to be better at knowing their own hearts than men. I don't know if that's true, but it'd certainly be an appropriate advantage in making tough decisions about one's unborn child. You can't carve things down to one-size-fits-all rules, so you have to guess with the help of your heart! Is there any other way? None that I can see.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:42 AM
london london is offline
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I mentioned stats because people against abortion lie about them. Eg extra fingers run in families. People know their kid will have them. Often these cosmetic abnormalities point to other issues. Ears and kidneys, face and heart. Plus syndromes like Downs and Turners have particular markers. So say I had a termination of a fetus with severe heart problems and a cleft lip, anti abortion campaigner only mentions cleft lip.

Genetic testing helps us save babies. A baby with Downs might not be able to sustain its life at birth. If we know it has Downs and some idea of complications, we can prepare to give it the best chance.

Not everyone can parent a disabled kid. It takes work. My son is seven, doesn't sleep alone, can't wipe his bum, can't dress himself. Loads of love and joy. Not much sleep. Also had to put my career on hold. Not in the plan. I got a months notice that he would be prem thus small chance of hypoxic brain injury and/or CP. That bit of notice is why when two years later he was diagnosed with autism, i had dealt with .appreciating him being alive but imperfect.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:48 AM
london london is offline
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Stephen Hawking is only physically disabled. He has MND.
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