The Corner

Dignity & Suffering

I just got off the radio (Jim Vicevich, Connecticut), talking about this British advice columnist who announced on a BBC television show that she would “suffocate a child to end its suffering.”



What struck me as the most outrageous aspect of it is that it is not so outrageous. It is, in a sense, what we do. Upwards of 90 percent of those diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome are eliminated here, for an example. 

Yesterday in Washington, a forum at my alma mater focused on practical solutions and alternatives to this reality. Practical ways to help those who face a diagnosis about their unborn child, practical ways to help families and individuals with disabilities. This is worth reading. 

Yes, there is suffering. But there is also beauty and grace.

That’s not to pretend watching anyone suffer is easy. But you don’t watch, you bear pain with them. I speak here of so many of you who wish so deeply you could take on the pain of a loved one, and sacrifice so much to be a real part of their days, as they bravely live on, making you richer for it, in ways you might not even fully realize.

May the beauty and courage of some be a challenge to us all. 

I’m grateful to Virginia Ironside for this: She did not make use of euphemisms. She gave us a visual. And it’s repulsing people. And it’s an opportunity to talk about it — real life choices. And make sure people do, in fact, have choices. 

Please do read this. You don’t have to buy into all of it. There is real practical advice there that can go far. 


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