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Mother of Down Syndrome Child Argues for Legality of Killing Down Syndrome Children

On the "Parenting blog" at The New York Times, a mother of a Down Syndrome Child argues for the legality of killing unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I found it ironic that it's on the parenting blog though.

Alison Piepmeier, the director of the women’s and gender studies program at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, whose website states that she "takes on the patriarchy" argues against North Dakota's law to ban abortion due to "fetal defects.":

As part of my research for a book on prenatal testing and reproductive decision-making, I have talked with women who terminated their pregnancies when they learned that the fetus had Down syndrome. For most of these women, abortion was an incredibly painful decision. These were wanted pregnancies in which the fetus was already identified as a child, and often even named.

Repeatedly women told me that they ended the pregnancy not because they wanted a “perfect child” (as one woman said, “I don’t know what ‘perfect child’ even means”) but because they recognized that the world is a difficult place for people with intellectual disabilities.

One woman told me, “The thing is I could not, in good conscience, from the get-go, know that my child has these setbacks in life.” Another identified adulthood as the challenge: “There is no part of caring for an infant or school-aged child with Down syndrome that we didn’t think we could handle. We chose to terminate mostly on the basis of our understanding of the challenges and quality of life he and our family would face if/when he lived to be over age 21: his middle age, and end of life.”

Another woman talked quite a bit about rape. She was assaulted as a child, she knew that the statistics for sexual abuse were high for people with intellectual disabilities, and she was determined that her daughter would not experience that, so that was one of the reasons she terminated her pregnancy. She referred to her abortion several times as “the protective choice.”

All these women grieved, but did not regret, their abortions. A state law banning abortion would not have stopped them from terminating their pregnancies, it would just have made an incredibly difficult process even more difficult for them. Indeed, more than one mother I spoke with traveled out of state for her abortion because the pregnancy was too advanced for her to have an abortion in her home state.
So in order to avoid their children suffering from setbacks mothers instead decide to destroy them in the womb. That, to me, seems like the scariest thought in the world. Because life is an uphill climb for everyone at times. Everyone. Should we all be spared from life? Having a baby is always a little scary and more so for mothers who learn their children have medical problems. But abortion is not a reset button. It's the taking of a human life.

Abortion can seem like an easy solution. And love is hard. Love is hard because life is hard but that's what makes love so much more miraculous and improbable. I pray that we all choose to be part of the miracle that is life.

*subhead*NY Times.*subhead*

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Lynda said...

Since when could one claim a right to kill an innocent child on the basis that he or she may suffer hardship during his or her life? Diabolical. The motivation is clearly selfishness and pride.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

It is certainly a twist to declare saving children with down's syndrome is a plot of the patriarchy. I thought it was the patriarchy in ancient Greece that took children rejected by fathers to die on mountains.

Paul Zummo said...

This comment to the article was about spot on:

Gee, one woman ended her fetuses life so that she won't ever be raped. Makes a lot of sense.

Blackrep said...

Don't believe this high-minded bull for one minute. People invent astonishing justifications for their shallow and selfish behavior. Villains cast themselves as heroes daily in the dim little theater of their own minds. They are embarrassed to be associated with what they perceive as imperfection. Embarrassed enough to murder and call it "protection." Nice try, but we all really know that you're a vain, type-A nitwit who doesn't want to show up to cupcake play-dates with an irregular-looking child. Nor would you give over the care of the baby to someone else and give the impression that there's someone in the world who might be better than you at motherhood, and you couldn't stand to see that child happy and thriving in the care of another woman who is better than you. So spare us the show.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought feminists fought tooth and nail AGAINST the notion that being raped was a fate worse than death that made the victim "damaged goods" and ruined her life forever? I thought they were all in favor of using the term "survivor" rather than "victim" because "victim" implies helplessness and passivity, while survivors take control of their lives and don't let what happened to them define who they are?

Now don't get me wrong. I am female and I have an autistic daughter who will likely need some kind of care or supervision for the rest of her life, and who could easily be more vulnerable to sexual abuse or exploitation than a typical young woman. The thought of it happening to her scares the hell out of me. But does that mean I should kill her now so that it never happens? If not, then why would it have been any better to do so before she was born?


MaryW said...

Great response, Blackrep. Loved the "cupcake play date" description. So true.

Kenny R said...

"the world is a difficult place for people with intellectual disabilities."? Then how do you explain the success of Joe Biden?

Sherry Antonetti said...

As a mom of a child with Down Syndrome, I would say, the world is a difficult place. It was difficult before he was born. It remains so. I have no illusions about the road before us, but I also know, he is part of what makes this difficult word bearable.

Ramona Richards said...

I was pre-eclampsic, and two weeks shy of my third trimester. My child, who was both viable and abortable, had to be delivered, one way or another. We were warned that she would most likely be severely disabled, which she is. But 26 years later, I'm glad I chose life, however horribly hard it as been. It's also be abundantly glorious as well.

Donna M said...

To Alison Piepmeier,
......right now, the biggest horse's @$$!!!!....on the planet!!!


.........this is how insidious it is!

This is the group that advocates and promotes the "WRONGFUL LIFE" mentality.

People like "her" and her group sued Catholic OB physicians and put them out of business!

I'm a single parent of an adult daughter, with Down's Syndrome!....and there is nothing wrong with her and her genetic makeup!!!! EVERYTHING WORKS!!! The last I checked, her DNA STILL REGISTERS HER AS A MEMBER OF THE HUMAN RACE!!!.....

...we have had our challenges, but most of it evolves around people like AP......

....my child was bullied,...
exposed to verbal and physical abuse while she grew up....by "normal" people.......had to learn new strategies to deal with conflict management.....and some effective @$$ kicking by siblings, cousins and friends!...
Managed to level the playing field!

My opinion is asked all the time regarding parenting children with challenges!

Never ceases to amaze me how these psuedo intellectual/academic elitists "always" seem to find the most useful "idiots" around to promote their unethical ideologies!!!

They take the whole human race for granted!

Donna said...


Joe Biden is "NOT" a member of the human race.

Zoobiologists, Obama and R Emmanul on an outing in the bush, to find the perfect VP running mate, found an unidentified lower primate cavorting among a family of rhesus monkeys.

This sqwaking, lone creature was found to have the extraordinary skills and ability of mimicking and vocalizing human language and behavior!

When brought back to civilization, this specimen was taught to act on que by certain Obama handlers.......(by use of verbal and brief physical prompts)
.....explains the redundancy and two dimensional thinking!

The lone specimen was found to be a genetic science experiment gone horribly wrong!

Through illegal gene splicing of rhesus monkey DNA, swamp grass, and E. Coli..

.......new species: J'Obidenous Offendus

Proteios1 said...

Realistically. How long before insurance companies or govt. which have us by the financial balls, require ..that's require...an array of fetal tests to characterize the status of the child? Once issues of (dis)ability, disease, etc. are established, how long then before its no longer for a parents information but the results are required to be acted upon. A in, only those deemed worthy of birth will be paid for or even allowed.
Yes, I know this seems extreme, but much of what we do now was optional of voluntary..or not even available. I'm speaking as a scientist, the testing methods are getting better. The social stigma getting more intense

Anonymous said...

I agree with Alison's point of view as a father of a daughter with DS. Changing people's hearts and minds through more and better info will change the abortion rate - prohibition will not make people with DS more accepted people in society - just people to be more fearful of.

Donna M said...

Must reply,.....A,

I had my DS child as an unwed mom when I was 19....in 1977.....

Just about everyone had an opinion and wanted me to get an ABORTION!!!...except my family....

It was hell on earth! I WAS SO MISERABLE! I lost most of my, so called friends, because I refused to abort!

I COULDN'T DO IT!....but, an advocate came to my rescue...THE BVM!...I trusted in the mercy of God!...and have never been the same, since!

....and the rest is history!

It was terrible in the beginning!!! No one, understands that parents, family and friends had to fight for their child's personhood to be recognized!

Do people not know?...for real?

Fought for the rights of ALL children with developmental challenges and for ALL those to follow!

Those "rights" of personhood were fought hard for and won!!!....and now they want to take them away, AGAIN!!

It's in my "hard wiring"!!! To love, protect, and defend my child's human rights.......to the end......I fight for your child's too!

Lynda said...

Making legal the deliberate killing of babies with DS or other conditions in their mothers' wombs does change hearts and minds - against persons with such conditions and their parents! Educates people to think such persons have a lesser right to life and dignity than other persons; educates people to think that such persons ought to have been killed! And, if the law purports that it is right to kill a child prior to birth, why not after? It's the same child before and after exiting the womb. If man-made law is evil, unjust, flouts the Natural Law (universal and eternal), it teaches man that evil is good, that certain persons do not have the inalienable right to life. Such laws corrupt the minds and hearts of people, and set them against those who are targetted by the law. Of course, all such laws are invalid and void for being against reason, justice, the individual and common good, and ought to be declared so by a court of law.

Donna M said...

Thank You, Lynda and ALL the others who defend life!

I do not find it hard to see the face of Jesus in these little human hearts!

I have trouble with satan's minions....the ravenous wolves in sheeps clothing!

I am their worst nightmare!!!...See, I don't give a fig for injust laws of man! BREAK THEM!!!

...may God never find me guilty of the sin of omission!....not going to hell for being gutless and guilty for the intrinsic, pernicious evil of going a long to get along!...

Anonymous said...

It seems that these women have a poor me attitude that is all about how hard the decision was on them. Poor them. They killed their baby because it might have a harder life and they may have a harder life caring for it. Sorry but I don't feel bad for them, stop being selfish and realize that you can love your child even though it has a "defect". Abortion should not be a choice, it is a human being at stake. It should only be allowed to save the mother's life if it is at risk.

Lynda said...

Thank you, Donna M, for your committed witness to the eternal truth. Know that your example will have taught and heartened many to do the right thing. People like you who stand up for the truth regardless of its reception, really cheer my spirit. God bless you and your daughter.

Donna M said...

To the "PRAYER WARRIOR", Lynda,

VERY HEARTENED by your kind words of support in a desert of adversity!

....July 13, 1977...........the date ringing any bells?......

60 yrs to the day,.......the Prophetic Revelations of OUR LADY OF FATIMA!

.......my daughter's birthday!....

Amy D said...

The women (and men) who abort their DS children may have shot to hell their one true ticket to heaven. They are less human because of their decision. Remember them on Divine Mercy Sunday. May they repent of this insanity before its too late.

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