It will come as no surprise, given the trend towards pain avoidance at all cost in our culture, that prenatal testing over the decades has done less to prepare parents for their child's entrance into the world, and more to facilitate the termination of babies' lives. In fact, when I once explained to another woman that we had a long relationship with a genetic counselor in context of our son's hemophilia, she was shocked to learn that it was a positive experience, enhancing the care of our son and daughters. Who could blame her for these misconceptions? After all, we live in a nation where over 90% of all prenatal diagnoses of Down Syndrome end in abortion. And women carrying any sort of child with a perceived medical concern are increasingly feeling pressure from doctors to terminate their pregnancy. Never mind that often these tests are inaccurate or results faulty.
So this weekend's award goes to the doctors of Nikki Kinckle who strongly urged her to abort her baby with Omphalocele,a condition where the baby's organs grow outside of the stomach wall. Later ultrasounds would also reveal that Nikki's baby had dangerous complications with his feet, which increased the pressure that medical professionals placed on her to end her pregnancy.
Nikki and her husband persevered. Here is the result...
Think of what we deprive the world of when a precious boy like this has his life prematurely snuffed out because of his special needs. He is so stinkin' adorable, I can hardly stand it!
In preparing today's post, I showed this video to my children, who were inspired and charmed by watching little Kayden take his first steps with a walker. I discussed with my kids the fact that there is great pressure to end lives like Kayden's before they are ever born. My son shook his head and expressed his disgust that there are even people that would terminate their pregnancy because of a prenatal diagnosis of hemophilia.
What is "quality of life" and who gets to decide it? While life can be challenging and even heartbreaking at times with special needs, disability or chronic illness in the family, it can also be that way without.
The fact is that this world is a better place with our children in it. This is not only true because of the fullness of our children's lives, but because of how they change us and everyone else around them. God's glory is on display in our kids. Through our kids He teaches the world what matters most, what perseverance looks like, and that His strength shines in our weakness. Without our sons and daughters with challenges, that is far less evident.
Because of the life experience raising such remarkable children, it is our sacred duty to spread this message to a culture that would ignorantly see them as better off dead.
~ Barb Dittrich
* For further reading: Catch all of our posts on BIOETHICS and special needs.