This story was brought to my attention by “greg” in the comments to a previous post, which I appreciate, and I comment about here because it is worth more prominent notice: A Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) story reports that Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, bemoans the example the Palins set by giving birth to Trig because it might reduce eugenic abortion. From the story:
But others fear Ms. Palin’s emergence as a parental role model sends a different message. As a vocal opponent of abortion, Ms. Palin’s widely discussed decision to keep her baby, knowing he would be born with the condition, may inadvertently influence other women who may lack the necessary emotional and financial support to do the same, according to André Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
Dr. Lalonde said that above all else, women must be free to choose, and that popular messages to the contrary could have detrimental effects on women and their families. “The worry is that this will have an implication for abortion issues in Canada,” he said.
But families with Down children see it differently:
Members of Canada’s Down syndrome community say that many of the country’s medical professionals only give messages of fear to parents who learn their baby will be born with the genetic condition.
“It’s very dark,” said Krista Flint, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. “They hear a lot about the medical conditions that are sometimes associated with Down syndrome. They hear about the burden … it places on children and a marriage. They hear about things like shortened life expectancy. They hear a lot about the challenges of a life with Down syndrome.”
That’s why Ms. Palin has become an example that could possibly stem the tide of families who abort fetuses after a positive determination for Down syndrome, she said.
“We know overwhelmingly the message families get is ‘Don’t have this baby, it will ruin your life,’ and I don’t think people would look at Sarah Palin and see a ruined life,” Ms. Flint said. “Regardless of politics, I think it’s a good example.”
I believe Flint because I have seen evidence of this attitude in my own work.
So even in other countries, the birth of Trig has become the focus of intense debate and discussions. Good. Contrary to Dr. Lalonde, I hope that people will decide to emulate the Palins in their unconditional acceptance and love for their beautiful son, Trig.