Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just a Small Rant...

...About Prenatal Testing and Eliminating Imperfection

Not everything can be detected in an AFP, a CVS, an ultrasound or an amniocentesis. As far as I know, those tests will not determine if your child will have mental illness, heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, autism and the list goes on. Or do we have tests for these things in the works? Shudder...Those tests can't tell you if your child will be happy or a contributing member to society. They can't tell you if your child will grow up to be a criminal, a serial killer, a child molester or a rapist. They can't tell you if your child will grow up to be bully or a thief. They can't tell you if your child will have motivation or drive or end up being homeless. These tests won't tell you if your child will stand out, or be homosexual, or have a learning disability or be an outcast because he or she is too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat, too pretty, too ugly, too blond, too dark or too anything. I certainly know that the prenatal tests will never tell you if your child will be in a car accident or a near drowning or take a bad fall or have a birth trauma. There is NO SUCH THING as a perfect child and having those tests to rule out the forbidden DOWN SYNDROME or any other detectable birth "defect" doesn't guarantee that you will have that unattainable picture perfect human being. I'm sensitive now, more than ever, to this obsession over early detection for the purposes of eliminating "imperfect" unborn children. There is a push to eliminate children like Joaquin and Sofia. I wish people would understand that "disability" is actually very natural and it's everywhere. People come in all shapes and forms and abilities. I find it impossible to find anyone in the world that doesn't suffer from some sort of challenge or "disability". Wear glasses? Ever had braces? On a diet? Have a bad back? Ever need surgery? Need coffee in the morning? Ever had a headache? Ever need help with anything? Would you say you are perfect? Would you say you are totally healthy? My bet is each and everyone of us has some challenge or special need that they deal with regularly.

I guess this is my way of saying (and this is ONLY MY OPINION) that I don't think anyone should enter parenthood unless they understand that you take on ALL SORTS of risks, trials and tribulations, heartaches, and disappointments when it comes to having a child and you are signing up for the JOURNEY. Wherever it may take you. It's a huge responsibility. And it's a privilege.  So if you aren't up for the challenge, don't have a child. To the medical industry: Let's get off this slippery slope of prenatal testing. Let's be mindful of the direction we are headed. Let's not pretend the testing is to have more "information" or to "prepare". If that were the case, I wouldn't be ranting right now. The abortion rate after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is staggering. 92% of babies who are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are eliminated. That sentence alone says it all.

OK...rant is over.

On to something inspiring, amazing and beautiful. Thank goodness for that.

A link to a beautiful video:
Wonderful Works

A link to the beautiful new ministry launched today:
Wonderful Works




15 comments:

  1. Well said and my thoughts exactly!!!

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  2. well said... another thing that really bothers me is when people say i dont care what iam haveing as long as its healthy..I think well what are you going to do if its not and i shudder to think what there answer might be.

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  3. Very well said! There are no guarantees in this wonderful life, are there?

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  4. Very nice and true words, one of the best I've heard recently about prenatal testing! We blame Nazi, and Hitler, and Stalin, but we are no different if we want to eliminate some people and to leave only best ones.

    I'll save your words :)

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  5. Jen,

    Thank you for posting this! Words cannot express what your friendship has meant to me. I love you, my dear sweet sister!

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  6. Preach it, Jen. I'm behind you 100% on this one, my friend.

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  7. Jen, I often read but don't comment, but that was very well said and exactly my thoughts. Well said.

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  8. Very well said.

    My third child was four years old when she was severely brain injured in a car accident. One second she was a "perfect" four year old - walking, talking, running, learning to write her name... And the next? she could not stop the drool from running out of the side of her mouth, no speech, could not walk, lost the use of her right side. The brain injury changed her completely, from a "perfect" child to a disabled one. If I had known while she was in the womb that her life would be altered in such a way at the age of four...would I still have chosen life for her? Absolutely.

    But maybe that's just me. And the rest of the 8% of us....who would also chose life for a baby with Down Syndrome.

    I agree that science goes too far sometimes.

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  9. Have to agree with this little rant. My husband and I were trying to get pregnant for six long years and then when I finally were pregnant with twins they advised I should get an amniocentesis. I decided not to have it done since there is always the risk of a miscarriage due to this test and because I already decided I'm keeping my babies no matter what. You made a very valid argument. You cannot possibly know what lies ahead being a parent.

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  10. Just posted something similar a few days ago. This idea that Down syndrome is a domes day diagnosis is so ignorant.

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  11. I am a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, and love everything about my profession...except prenatal screening. I honestly find it baffling that we (obstetricians) spend so much time on this. Totally agree with you.

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  12. I was chastised by a nurse and perinatologist for refusing an amniocentesis. It's amazing how hateful and full of venom some medical professionals can become when you say you value life and don't need to be "prepared" for any conditions your child might have. I agree with your post COMPLETELY and worry about the possibility of a government run healthcare system mandating prenatal testing in the future...

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