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Nov 28 2012

John Meunier: When children become inconvenient

Original post at http://johnmeunier.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/when-children-become-inconvenient/


This goes outside the box of this blog’s regular content, but I read this and was horrified by it.

In a review of a book about parenting children with exceptional needs, the author reviews some of the author’s conversation about the extent to which parents go out of their way to avoid having children who are challenged. The second paragraph is the horrifying one.

Not that many don’t contrive to avoid these experiences: In his chapter on Down syndrome, Solomon reminds us that at least 70 percent of Americans with prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome opt for abortion. (That number would, I admit, have included me if I’d had the diagnosis.) Another group—probably larger than anyone thinks—gives their newborns up to institutions. “I wish I could show you a list of the people who have given up their babies to me,” Solomon is told by the head of an adoption agency for children with Down syndrome: “It would read like Who’s Who in America.”

And then there is the exit strategy still defended, rather improbably, by a couple of modern ethicists who, in the tall tradition of Adolf Hitler, continue to support the murder of live handicapped children. Parents who do not want their kids with a disability, argues Princeton scholar Peter Singer, should be allowed to kill them until around age 1. (You sense he could be talked into extending this grace period.) The logic behind this argument is as puerile as it is sinister: “Most women who eliminate an unwanted child will produce a wanted one,” Singer claims, “and the loss of happiness of the one who is killed (whose life would have been unsatisfactory) is outweighed by the happiness of the healthy child who follows.”

Here is a illustration of a line of thinking as far at odds with the teaching of Jesus Christ as you can get.


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John Meunier

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