In a recent article published in the Huffington Post UK, ‘When A United Nations Expert Says Everything Should Be Done To Avoid The Life Of Children Like Yours,’ Renate Lindeman, a mother of three children, two of whom have Down’s Syndrome, wrote a beautiful response to a United Nations expert’s statement in 2017 that, “Though it is necessary to help disabled people once they are born, this doesn’t mean that we have to accept to allow a fetus suffering with impairment to live,” to which was also added, “we must do everything we can to avoid disabilities.”
As a woman who survived an abortion attempt and as also a mother, myself, Ms. Lindeman’s words resonated with me. Take this line, for example: “to refer to selective abortion as a means to ‘avoid disability’ is demeaning to both my rights and those of my children.”
Our youngest daughter, Ava, was born with a myriad of health issues. Instead of asking, “how is she doing,” the most common initial question has been, “did you know about this before she was born?” Listen. I understand that some people may simply be inquisitive about how we handled such news, but I also know the weight that comes with that question. “Did you know about it before?” is a cleaned up, politically correct version of the question,”you CHOSE to have a baby with health issues?”
To answer that question, no, we didn’t know that Ava would be born with health issues, but of course, that reality wouldn’t have changed our decision about her life one bit.
I have been in contact with many parents who are counseled to abort their children with health issues similar to Ava’s, and it breaks my heart.
It saddens me to think about how our culture has attacked those with disability, and despite all of it’s cries of acceptance for all, it sorely rejects those with disability or complex medical issues.
It worries me to think about how hearing statements like those from this U.N. expert or others who push for abortion of individuals with disabilities or health differences will affect Ava as she grows up, but we are raising her to know that she has worth and purpose, and that who she is isn’t defined by the standards of our world.
But I digress…
Stating that abortion is necessary to avoid disability is demeaning to my daughter and to all individuals with disabilities or differences. There is nothing to avoid in our children, but everything to gain, to love and to learn from.
And as an abortion survivor, myself, I think it’s important to add that abortion for any reason, any circumstance, is demeaning to the right of every human being. Abortion takes away rights, it doesn’t provide them or enhance them.
Which leads me to this final point of Ms. Lindeman’s that I so deeply appreciated: “As a woman I have the inherent right to give birth to my children, unjudged, no matter what their differences or disability.”
If our culture really wants to be supportive of women and empower them, then let’s start with pregnancy.
Read Renate Lindeman’s article in it’s entirety, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/renate-lindeman/when-a-united-nations-exp_b_18562542.html,