The emotional aftermath of abortion is becoming a worldwide epidemic. Although most of the women who endure abortion are suffering in silence, many find comfort by sharing their grief with others in online public, anonymous forums.
I focus a lot on the Down syndrome-related aspects of why I believe babies with Down syndrome should not be terminated. However, in taking some time to read posts on these forums (something I don’t do often because it causes me such emotional turmoil as a mother of a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome), it is clear that there are severe effects to women and their families in the aftermath of an abortion for Down syndrome.
Despite the fact that these parents believe they are doing what’s best for them and for their baby, the evidence speaks otherwise.
One of the first reactions the mothers have to a prenatal diagnosis is fear of an ill or unhealthy baby. It is as if Down syndrome is synonymous with sick. But many babies with Down syndrome do not have associated medical problems and spend no time in the NICU.
After the termination, the mothers report missing their babies terribly. They describe the painful experience of seeing a child with Down syndrome in public, wondering if their child would have been similar. They talk about dealing with the guilt and grief they are left with, sometimes years after the termination.
The mothers discuss how alone they feel–that they are not able to talk to people close to them about what they did.
They talk about wanting to save their babies from all the pain and suffering that comes with having Down syndrome.
Who is responsible for encouraging this bias against Down syndrome? How about Big Pharma for developing “life-saving” screening tests for Down syndrome. Blame leaders of countries who implement screening programs with the intent to eliminate Down syndrome. (Does it seem unlikely? Read this.) Blame doctors and genetic counselors who give parents outdated and biased information about Down syndrome.
No parent should have to experience the tragic, heart-wrenching, and unspeakable horrors described in post-termination forums. No parents should be forced to make a decision about keeping or killing the baby they wanted.
Some mothers admitted to searching for positive evidence of parents raising children with Down syndrome. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the people and stories they see are not the minority. They are the NEW AGE OF DOWN SYNDROME. Let’s hope society catches up before it’s too late.