Banning abortion for Down syndrome extinguishes parents’ right to personal choice

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That abortion is not the exception, but rather the expectation in cases of Down syndrome, is not limited to medical professionals. Though precise numbers are unavailable, at least two-thirds and as many as 90 percent of fetuses found to have Down syndrome in utero are aborted. Public opinion polls show that Americans are significantly less critical of abortion in the case of mental or physical impairment. Even the Dalai Lama says it is understandable.

So it raised eyebrows when we — a couple of pro-choice liberals — informed our doctors that we had chosen not to terminate the pregnancy. There was pushback: Did we not understand the decision?

We were sure that we’d love and care for our child regardless of her abilities. Today, despite complications and frustrations beyond those of raising a typical child, Sophia is an exuberant 8-year-old.

We have never had second thoughts, even though we understand why some parents might choose otherwise. Which is why it was particularly distressing to learn that this fall Ohio is likely to become the second state (after North Dakota) to outlaw abortion after an in utero diagnosis of Down syndrome.

The Ohio bill may be just the latest maneuver by pro-life conservatives in their war to curtail a woman’s right to choose. But as my wife and I learned, when it comes to abortion and special needs, there is no easy answer — and the idea that these deeply personal ethical and social decisions could simply be legislated away is ridiculous.

Read full, original post: Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion?

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