Thursday, September 18, 2008

Down Syndrome, Abortion and Politics

I thought I was ready to head to bed and call it a night, but I just saw a story that incensed me. Before I get into my rant, let me explain that I have the most wonderful, beautiful, and happy grandchild a grandmother could ever want. It just so happens that Niah has Down Syndrome.

When my daughter-in-law April was pregnant she was told her child would be Down Syndrome. She was also told the baby would have Dandy Walker which would mean, at best, she'd have autistic type tendencies on top of Down Syndrome. They later also told the kids Niah would have duodenal atresia, which is a separated intestine which can just be stitched together (kinda broad strokes on my descriptions of both problems).

They did an awful lot of praying. No, they weren't praying whether to have an abortion or not, that wasn't a question for them. They prayed for healing and strength. They looked forward to the birth of Niah.

When Niah was born she was whisked away to be tested and to prepare for surgery. April had complications and couldn't be with her so I stayed by Niah's side through the first days of her life in Intensive Care.

Niah didn't have Dandy Walker. They were wrong. The duodenal atresia was a fairly quick fix with surgery.

Today Niah is five years old and she is the joy of all of our lives. She is a handful at times. She has more extended family than any child I've ever known! Everyone falls in love with her. The most difficult challenge for me is trying to beat everyone to the gifts that grandparents are "supposed" to give! She is showered with love and she loves everyone back.

The kids were pressured into the abortion route. Almost everyone they encountered in the medical field steered them openly or through hints to choose to get rid of their "problem". They changed doctors once as a result of the pressure.

That little "problem" has blessed more lives than I can count. Having that little girl come up and hug me is worth more than I can ever put into words.

I listened tonight as Sarah Palin talked briefly to Sean Hannity about how she felt when she discovered Trig would be a Down Syndrome child. I'm sure the discussion will be on YouTube soon so I'll try to remember to share it with you. I understood completely what she was sharing. I struggled with my feelings about what the kids would face with all the problems. Greg (my husband) and I changed some major plans simply because we thought we might have to chip in and help.

Right after listening to Sarah Palin talk about the love and joy Trig was bringing, I stopped in here to turn off the computer and saw this story (News Busters):

Washington Post's 'On Faith' blog, Sally Quinn, on the role of social issues in the presidential campaign and cited recent poll numbers on abortion: "On abortion, the latest New York Times/CBS poll shows 37% of voters say abortions should be generally available, 42% want the procedure available but with stricter limits than we have now. 19% say they should not be permitted at all...What do you make of those numbers?" Quinn responded: "Well, I think the majority of people in this country believe that abortion should be legal at some point. And 90% of people, for instance, who have Down's Syndrome babies choose to terminate their pregnancies....

Talk about contrasts!

If you read the entire article the gist seems to be that Sarah Palin was wrong to choose to keep her child, that she's wrong on abortion, and that the majority of women are pro-abortion. I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and re-read the entire article just to make sure I'm not reading things into it. You may get another bit about it from me in the morning depending on whether I read it before or after my first cup of caffeine!

I'm thankful my son and daughter-in-law chose to keep my beautiful granddaughter and not take the selfish, easy way out (although what is easy about aborting a life?). I'm thankful Sarah Palin chose to keep Trig. I think maybe, just maybe, if she ends up in the White House it might make it a bit easier for people to accept a child who isn't perfect according to some standards. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing the Vice President going to events with Trig!

(and before someone brings this up, I'm not a one-issue person. If Hillary Clinton had a Down Syndrome child it wouldn't make me vote for her... nor does the fact that Sarah Palin has a Down Syndrome child influence my vote... it's just icing on the cake that she's the kind of person who would make a choice I think is commendable!)

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