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Who has the right to life?


Melanie_

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OK, I know we've got a long thread already on abortion, but this is a different twist.

Winnipeg Free Press

MANITOBA anti-abortion advocates and parents of Down syndrome children are worried offering all women the chance to have prenatal genetic screening will result in a "seek and destroy" mentality and a spike in the number of aborted fetuses.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) will recommend today that every woman, regardless of age, have access to genetic screening for chromosomal abnormalities such as in Down syndrome.

The new guidelines will give all women the choice of having minimally invasive blood tests or ultrasounds to assess their risk. Before, these types of screening methods were reserved for pregnant women 35 and over, who have at least a one-in-400 chance of having a baby born with Down syndrome.

~snip~

Arthur Schafer, director of the University of Manitoba Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, said accessing the latest genetic technology is part of a woman's reproductive freedom. He said there will likely be a drop in the number of babies born with Down syndrome, as some parents feel they can't be financially or emotionally responsible for a child with special needs.

"Not everyone feels they're able or willing to handle such a burden," he said.

Krista Flint, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, said the organization is working with the SOGC to advocate for balanced information for parents about what raising a child with Down syndrome is really like. She said it's neither a birth defect nor something that needs to be eradicated.

Thoughts?

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IMO life doesn't begin at conception, so it's the parents' choice if they decide to abort the fetus.

Wait until the perfect baby comes along, I see.

You see, I was supposed to have serious mental issues when I was born, but to the doctor's suprise, I turned out above average in that regard. So really, this screening stuff is BS and will result in many terminations that are unneccessary and plain and simply quite Brave New Worldish.

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I agree, BC chick, but my concern is about aborting based on genetic testing. Will we see the elimination of Down Syndrome in our society? Should we see this as a good thing? What happens to the occasional child born with Down Syndrome anyway - someone who slips through the genetic screening? And an even bigger concern is what happens next - how many other genetic conditions will we start testing for, in search of the "perfect" baby? In China, there is trend towards aborting female fetuses since people prefer to have a son, and they only get one child (although this law seems to be loosening somewhat).

I am in support of a parent's right to choose to continue a pregnancy or not, but this recommendation by Canadian OB/GYNs makes me really uncomfortable.

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MANITOBA anti-abortion advocates and parents of Down syndrome children are worried offering all women the chance to have prenatal genetic screening will result in a "seek and destroy" mentality and a spike in the number of aborted fetuses.
Should be a non issue. Down syndrome kids are 100% guaranteed to be a drain on any family and on society. I can't understand why anyone would think that reducing the number of down syndrome kids is a bad thing.
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I agree, BC chick, but my concern is about aborting based on genetic testing. Will we see the elimination of Down Syndrome in our society? Should we see this as a good thing? What happens to the occasional child born with Down Syndrome anyway - someone who slips through the genetic screening? And an even bigger concern is what happens next - how many other genetic conditions will we start testing for, in search of the "perfect" baby? In China, there is trend towards aborting female fetuses since people prefer to have a son, and they only get one child (although this law seems to be loosening somewhat).

I am in support of a parent's right to choose to continue a pregnancy or not, but this recommendation by Canadian OB/GYNs makes me really uncomfortable.

If we all want perfect blue eye blonde babies, we should just say it. People need to stop skirting the issue.

People shun imperfections in their children, and if they are unable to admit that, then I say the process should be illegal. When they can come to moral terms with what they desire, then by all means, let them live with the thought of it.

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These parents disagree with you, RW.

UNFORTUNATELY, in my mind, it feels like one of my daughters became part of an endangered species last week.

But my nine-year-old daughter, Mary, isn't a whooping crane. She's a child with Down syndrome.

Mary has a life, she goes to school and she loves being with friends. She's loved and she gives love back.

She especially loves music and during a recent outing to a concert with Fred Penner and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, she exuded more joy than most children in the audience.

In the last few days, though, recommendations from medical professionals have led both myself, and other parents of Down syndrome children across the country, to fear and wonder what the future holds for children like Mary and whether there will be far fewer Marys to be part of both our Canadian mosaic, and also in other parts of the world.

~snip~

What Mary has also shown us is she is a child and not a burden. It will take her longer to do something, but we and many others are there to help her reach her full capabilities. And they're all the full beneficiaries of her love.

We wanted a perfect child and we received a perfect child.

Why would a parent not love her?

Another Article in the Wpg Free Press

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I agree, BC chick, but my concern is about aborting based on genetic testing. Will we see the elimination of Down Syndrome in our society? Should we see this as a good thing? What happens to the occasional child born with Down Syndrome anyway - someone who slips through the genetic screening? And an even bigger concern is what happens next - how many other genetic conditions will we start testing for, in search of the "perfect" baby? In China, there is trend towards aborting female fetuses since people prefer to have a son, and they only get one child (although this law seems to be loosening somewhat).

I am in support of a parent's right to choose to continue a pregnancy or not, but this recommendation by Canadian OB/GYNs makes me really uncomfortable.

I agree with you somewhat - I thought about the slippery slope too. First it's the ones with Down's Syndrome, then the unintelligent ones and then the ugly ones? Where does it stop?

But given that I like to make judgements based on individual merit, I would have to still say yes to this specific case. Down's Syndrome is very difficult for a parent, it's not the same thing as an "undesirable" yet "functioning" human being.

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If we all want perfect blue eye blonde babies, we should just say it. People need to stop skirting the issue.

People shun imperfections in their children, and if they are unable to admit that, then I say the process should be illegal. When they can come to moral terms with what they desire, then by all means, let them live with the thought of it.

Edited: Big difference between a functioning, yet aesthetically undesirable offspring and one with down's syndrome.

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These parents disagree with you, RW.
Of course. The human mind is capable of finding something positive is the most difficult of circumstances - it is an important survival/coping skill. However, that does not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of down syndrome kids are not capable of living without a caregiver. Many of these parents of down syndrome kids worry a lot about what will happen to their kids when they die and there is no one else willing to assume the burden of caring for mentally challenged adult.

If someone choose to raise a down syndrome kid then that is their choice. However, I don't think anyone can claim that reducing or eliminating the number of down syndrome kids is a bad thing.

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I think the real issue does come down to choice, though. Once a test is available and encouraged, as is the case as of today's announcement, parents will face increasing pressure to "choose" to abort their fetus.
Why is that any different that the pressure that the down syndrome advocacy groups would like to put on parents to "choose" to carry a down syndrome fetus to term? Medical science is very good at giving us choices - it is unreasonable and impractical to try a turn back the clock and pretend we don't have those choices.

When it comes to aborting female children - I dislike that choice but in the long term any society that makes a widespread practice of aborting female children will find that their population will start to shrink. In addition, the "value" of a girl in those societies will increase dramatically. IOW - that is a problem that will correct itself in the long term.

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Thoughts?

Eugenics, except with a different name. I can't wait till the day when we can manufacture babies genetically and play god with human life. Apparently we haven't learned anything from history.

Should be a non issue. Down syndrome kids are 100% guaranteed to be a drain on any family and on society. I can't understand why anyone would think that reducing the number of down syndrome kids is a bad thing.

It's an ethical issue, what if their is a mistake and the kid was terminated for no good reason. For myself at least, I am pro-choice only to the extent that a women should have the choice to abort if she feel's she can't raise it. However to abort over things like the gender, and possible mental defects doesn't seem to be moral to myself.

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However to abort over things like the gender, and possible mental defects doesn't seem to be moral to myself.
Aborting a child because of serious mental defects no different from aborting a child because a woman can't raise it. If perfectly good fetuses can be aborted because a woman makes an arbitrary decision that she 'can't raise it' then the chance of aborting a misdiagnosed fetus should be not be of any concern.

OTW. Once we agree that women should be able to abort children for 'lifestyle' reasons we cannot reasonably arguing that aborting children for any other reason is some how wrong. How could you ever determine what a woman's real motivation is anyways? Only she really knows.

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Should be a non issue. Down syndrome kids are 100% guaranteed to be a drain on any family and on society. I can't understand why anyone would think that reducing the number of down syndrome kids is a bad thing.

It'd be nice to reduce the amount of brown eyed people too, don't you agree? So undesirable! We all need to perfect little blue eyed blondes right?!?

Anyone that doesn't fit perfect, just kick 'em to the curb. Who needs it?

A child that is injured and receives a permenant disability (say becomes a quadriplegic) is certainly a drain on any family and society. Maybe we should just kick 'em to the curb too. Why not? Unperfect peices of crap hey?

So if the kid isn't 100% perfect to societies standards, they should be aborted. Great for society.

Your thinking on this issue disgusts me immensely. Many disabled people become fully functioning members of society. They are people too.

Look at someone like Stephen Hawking. To you, he's just a drain on society right? Despite his contributions, because he has a disability he's worthless.

Down syndrome people in particular and disabled people in general are still people and have contributed to society. Eliminating all the undesirables is a truly frightening outlook towards the world.

I could list a bunch of world leaders that once expressed your views of the inferior getting removed from society, but I'd be accused of drawing too radical of lines.

Big difference between a functioning, yet aesthetically undesirable offspring and one with down's syndrome.

That is absolutely appalling. Do you kick over people's wheelchairs too because they don't contribute in exactly the ways you want to your society? How about mentally disabled people, do you want to eliminate them too from society for being a burden?

These people have lives and just because they are different doesn't make them worthless or somehow subject to your standards.

I honestly can't believe people exist with your attitude towards other's lives.

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Look at someone like Stephen Hawking. To you, he's just a drain on society right? Despite his contributions, because he has a disability he's worthless.
Holy red herring batman! We are not talking about people who already exist. We are talking about fetus which is nothing more than a potential human. Furthermore, you are not addressing the real issue: why is moral for a women to abort a healthy fetus because it would interfer with her lifestyle but it is immoral to abort because the child could be severely disabled and not capable of living a life without a full time care giver?

Furthermore, mister 'i hate social programs', what business do you have telling other people that they should bear the huge cost of raising a disabled child in a society where there would be no support from the gov't (at least in the society that you would like to see).

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I honestly can't believe people exist with your attitude towards other's lives.

Oh take it easy, you're taking my words out of context. I was talking about your whole "slippery-slope" argument about whether or not people will start aborting kids who don't have blue-eyes or anything else that might not please them.

But if you want to make this personal, let me ask YOU something. What kind of a person are you for thinking anybody has a right to tell other people when or when they shouldn't terminate a pregnancy?

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Why is moral for a women to abort a healthy fetus because it would interfer with her lifestyle but it is immoral to abort because the child could be severely disabled and not capable of living a life without a full time care giver?

Addressed below.

I still assert that in a morally absolutist way, abortion is immoral. But it's legalisation is the utilitarian answer from the policy aspect. That's it, that's all I will give it.

When abortion switches from an out for women unwilling to raise a child to a social control policy, it becomes my business.

Furthermore, mister 'i hate social programs', what business do you have telling other people that they should bear the huge cost of raising a disabled child in a society where there would be no support from the gov't (at least in the society that you would like to see).

I think I've been very clear previously that I strongly advocate programs that assist truly disabled people, a person that unfortunately has Down's syndrome obviously is truly disabled and they should be offered the support of society.

Down's syndrome people have entered the workforce in various capacities before as well, it's not like they are always 100% a burden on us.

I'm not going to advocate anything that puts a family in a position where it causes them great harm to make the right decision.

But if you want to make this personal, let me ask YOU something. What kind of a person are you for thinking anybody has a right to tell other people when or when they shouldn't terminate a pregnancy?

When the decision to do so is morally bankrupt. Abortion a pregnancy for selfish reasons is one thing, but as part of a social policy to elimate elements from our society is another. One is individual choice, the other a societial issue. Targetted abortions against future elements of our society don't exist in the relative vacuum that other abortions do.

You kill a man, that's your business IMO, you should go to jail, ect. ect. but I could really care less. But if you are part of a group that begins to elimate a race/disability/characterist from society, that's a whole different story.

See where I'm coming from?

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When abortion switches from an out for women unwilling to raise a child to a social control policy, it becomes my business.
I don't think anyone is saying that people should be forced to get the tests done nor do I think people should be forced to get abortions. We are still talking about letting a woman decide. I am simply saying that it does not make a difference what motivations the women might have as long as it is her choice.
Down's syndrome people have entered the workforce in various capacities before as well, it's not like they are always 100% a burden on us.
I will agree with that. But we both know that a women who is told that her baby has down syndrome will most likely choose to abort unless she has had some positive personal experience with down syndrome kids or because she believes that all abortions are wrong.

Medical science creates complicated ethical dilemmas for us and that I why I believe that the best approach it do keep the state out and let the individuals who have to live with the consequences make the decisions for themselves.

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When abortion switches from an out for women unwilling to raise a child to a social control policy, it becomes my business.

I believe that the best approach it do keep the state out and let the individuals who have to live with the consequences make the decisions for themselves.

You're correct, self determination, for whatever the reason is no one else's business but the woman's. Privacy and self-determination rights make it no one else's business.

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It is easy to make a judgement on this when you haven't been there. In our family in the last generation acute leukemia reared it ugly head. Forty years ago there was no treatment, diagnosis acute leukemia, death in 10 days. Chronic leukemia death in 7 years or so.

Now in this generation it attacked two cousins the same age, one lived, the other died. Cost to the tax payer around $500,000. But with this one doctors are loath to say it is generic.

Another ugly one has raised its head in our family. A type of Elephant Mans disease where Tumors grow on the body. It can be very benigh but suddenly it has gone the other way. This one we are now told is directly inherited. A young man in his middle twenties had a horrible growth start to grow on his leg, the solution cut if off. Two years later after horrendous pain and suffering he has tumours in his brain. His family is going through hell. He will die probably. Now his twin brother is developing tumours on his back. Welcome to reallity.

It is so easy to make judgements on these situations but until you have been there be careful what you promote.

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You're correct, self determination, for whatever the reason is no one else's business but the woman's. Privacy and self-determination rights make it no one else's business.

Ugh, here we go again. A woman can do anything because she's a woman.

Does that include making consistantly irrational arguments devoid of any explaination of your logic?

It is so easy to make judgements on these situations but until you have been there be careful what you promote.

These people you mentioned did not kill themselves did they, so it is apparant to me that they valued the gift of life beyond their pain and suffering. What right does one have to prematurely end that?

I'm unsure where exactly your coming from in your statement, whether your on side with eliminating undesirables from society or not? Would the parents have not had children had they known previously that this was genetic?

The slipperly slope to this I suppose is where do we draw the line on undesirable.

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The mother of the twins is the carrier. She always knew that she had small growths but never paid any attention to it. Now this is her fault or so she believes and she is going through hell. She has warned her only other child, a daughter not to have children since they probably would carry the gene.

The twins probably will both die and there are a lot worse things that you can do to parents than commit suicide. Making your parents life hell with blame is pretty horrendous.

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