Originally posted by beezzer
.... the parents who made the decision to perform the act which led to the child.
When parents have sex for purposes of procreation, the expectation is that the baby will be born healthy. the expectation is that a healthy child will
be born, a child who will grow to live independently, a child who will outlive parents. In past times, the very survival of the family and the group
in which it lived would be put at risk if care had to be diverted to a member who could not live independently, or a member who could not ensure
survival of the group.
Before science came up with tests to determine in utero the health of the fetus, parents would be confronted at birth with the shock of a newborn with
the inability to survive or the inability to live an independent, long life. Such a shock is the equivalent of shock from a physical death, as it is
the death of the parents' prior aspirations for their newborn.
Back then doctors mercifully allowed newborns to die peacefully without medical intervention or extraordinary means. Or parents made the painful
decision to put their child under the care of an institution, to receive care (medical, or financial, or emotional) the parents knew they could not
Nowadays, early testing can allow the parents to still make a painful decision. The aspirations for a healthy newborn still die, but parents can
choose not to bring into this world a child who would need a level of care they feel they could not personally provide.
I think we do a disservice when we do not fully explain what it means to care for a physically (or mentally challenged) child. Saying, "Sure, I would
change the adult diaper of my 15 year old son when I'm 55!" is not the same as actually doing it. A child with Downs Syndrome or many other
challenges needs a commitment to above and beyond ordinary care in order to have the best quality of life.
For a few decades now, society has been able to help parents learn to care for their children they have decided to bring into this world, but, sadly,
many of the programs to help children are being cut/underfunded. We used to speak proudly of our "million dollar" babies, newborns who needed a
million dollars worth of care before leaving the hospital.
Maybe such proclamations served well the egos of a medical establishment, and were made in more prosperous times, but unless society (private and
public) is prepared to continue to devote many dollars for its children with health challenges, any talk of valuing life is cruel lip service.