The aftermath of Down syndrome abortion

      6 Comments on The aftermath of Down syndrome abortion

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.

newborn
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.

i will be forever

The mothers discuss how alone they feel–that they are not able to talk to people close to them about what they did.

i have no one I can confide  one of the worst things is

They talk about wanting to save their babies from all the pain and suffering that comes with having Down syndrome.

leaves
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 Blame doctors and genetic counselors who give parents outdated and biased information about Down syndrome.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.

one of the most painful

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.

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About Katie

Katie Bee is the author of for Elysium blog: a site about family, Down syndrome, home, art, and writing.

6 thoughts on “The aftermath of Down syndrome abortion

  1. Kris

    This is devastating. Although I am not surprised, it is extremely hard to read. As I sit here trying to understand, trying to devise a thought process of what may help, I am just at a loss of both words and thoughts. Somehow, we, as a pro-life Down syndrome community, need to put our heads together. It’s such a tragedy.

    Reply
    1. Katie Bee

      Yes. I feel like I concentrate so much on the before, but there is a whole second side of this issue of mothers who need support and don’t find resources.

      Reply
  2. Teresa

    Obviously, this whole subject bothers me. But what I think I find the most troubling is “My genetic counselor was there, and reminded me that they are the ‘higher functioning’ and minority of people with Ds.” This is supposed to be a person in the know, and yet the GC is so ignorant? Or did she have some sort of agenda? And notice how shortly these mothers aborted after they got the diagnosis. How are they supposed to digest this news so quickly? How are they supposed to make this decision when they are told they have to decide quickly, and the info they are given by supposed experts is so outdated? It took me about 2 1/2 months to process the news after our prenatal diagnosis. Would these women have changed their minds had they been given accurate information, or met with a Ds group, or talked to a parent? Several moms, including me, have brought up that we’d like to give some sort of welcome basket or offer to talk to a family, and we’ve been told time and again by our local Ds association that it’s a big HIPPA violation. We’ve even said that we’d talk to families, just give them our info, but nothing has come of it. So what can we do? I just take my child out, hoping that if anyone who interacts with him ever gets a diagnosis, they’re remember him and think it’s not a death sentence.

    Reply
    1. Katie Bee

      I guess if the early results of an NIPT allow women to do more research (to realize that the genetic counselors were wrong), then it could be a good thing. The part that really gets to me is that when they see our kids out in the world, they have already been convinced that there is only a small chance their child would be the same “level of functioning” (for lack of a better phrase). There must be more we can do! It’s so hard to sit by and watch it happening.

      Reply
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