Testing, Abortion and Disability Rights

With the commonplace use of the 'triple test' we have become a society of eugenicists.  The test that gives warning of an increased risk of Down Syndrome and neural tube defects (spina bifida) is supposed to allow us to plan.  I rarely hear of anyone using it to plan, but instead hear people say "If it's positive, I'll have an abortion."

I am pro-choice.  I will fiercely defend the right of a woman to decide when she wishes to carry a pregnancy, and when she doesn't.  If she would have chosen to not have gotten pregnant in the first place, she has the right to choose not to carry the pregnancy.

Also, I cannot know all of the reasons that go into termination.  Perhaps she already has as much as she can handle, or perhaps she would be in danger if she had a child with a disability.

But the most common use of the triple test, to have a 'perfect' child, is a symptom of a larger problem in society:

              -The fear of disability.

Disability is hidden.  With autism we hear of people 'losing their diagnosis.'  Of 'passing' for normal (like light-skinned blacks in the last century would pass as white.)  When taking our boys out to family restaurants, we have heard people say "Why don't they just keep them home?"  People don't want our children using up the school moneys, being school in the same classrooms using up the teacher's time, as 'normal kids.'

Disability is feared.  "I never want to be like that.  If I'm paralyzed/unable to talk/cognitively disabled, just shoot me."  "I'm so sorry you have a child with autism/Down/CP.  I could never do it."  Because you would just kill the child as soon as you got the diagnosis?  Or put it up for adoption?

Disability is criticized.  "Well, he was speeding/drinking/texting."  "She drank alcohol during pregnancy."  "God will take this away if we pray hard enough."  "The doctors didn't get the baby out fast enough."  Someone must be to blame, right?  You just didn't try hard enough to get rid of it or prevent it.

But, as we are mortal, disability is certain.  The second law of thermodynamics, that everything is tending toward entropy (and away from order) is as true for the human body as it is for anything in the universe.   On a macro scale of losing limbs, to a micro scale of genetic changes, disability will find us throughout the life span.

Disability must be brought into the open.  It's presence must be aggressively defended by law and by society. Disability must be welcomed by the schools, the workplace and society as a whole.  The disabled have a wealth of information and experience that the abled do not yet possess.  But will need in the future.

We are all awaiting our own disability, or furtherance of already present disability.

We are working in our own best interest when we promote the rights of the disabled.

We are lessening the fear of the unknown.  We are bettering our lives.

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