Websites on "pregnancy interruptions" are
A Paean to Eugenics

by Mary Wilt

Mary Wilt, a freelance writer from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the mother of three, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome.

They miss their little angels, their children who have predeceased them and gone to heaven. So they construct web pages in memory of these angel babies. Each little one is listed by name, with a sweet saying from Mom, the diagnosed condition which precipitated their death, and the date they were aborted.

These sites are dedicated to the "courageous parents" who have selectively terminated their pregnancies due to "poor prenatal diagnosis." This is called an "interruption" in the special lingo used on these pages, and an interruption, they explain, is not really an abortion. As one site puts it: ". . . Interrupting the life of a much wanted, much loved, much planned-for baby due to poor prenatal diagnosis is an especially heartbreaking decision and should not be thrown into the statistics with the abortions for other reasons . . ."

They note that with increased use of prenatal screening comes increased diagnosis of certain conditions, and subsequently more abortions. And they bemoan the fact that there are few "support programs" for those women who choose to abort their less-than-perfect babies. These web pages are designed to ". . . create a safe haven of encouragement and validation. . . ."

They have made a decision that their children, many of them diagnosed with non-lethal conditions like Down syndrome and spina bifida, should not be born based solely on this diagnosis. Yet they don't want to be thrown into the same lot as those who aborted for other "less valid" reasons. And they want their reasoning - that the potential life was so awful that death is preferable - to be validated. They seek encouragement of some kind.

Pardon me if I fail to concur with any of this.

The number-one reason listed for interrupting these "heavenly lives" is Trisomy 21 - Down syndrome. As the mother of a living, breathing, real-life person with Trisomy 21, I find these pages outrageous. Amid the treacly prose is a message of horror and hatred: these people are too awful to be born. We have done the right thing. Encourage us. Validate us.

At great length they describe for us the sadness of the prenatal news. They tell us about their decision to send their defective little fetuses up to heaven, where they apparently play on some celestial field and where they are normal! Not pitiful! Not deformed! They play as little perfect angels, and no one makes fun of them. But though they were forced to make this painful decision, this "heartbreaking choice", they miss their little angels so.

In other words, their fetuses had no value as imperfect living beings. Their only value is in celestial perfection. When they were potentially alive, they were worthless because of their disability. Now they are perfected, and mourned.

Perhaps because the majority of the little angels had Trisomy 21, there is even a special page reserved for parents who have aborted for this reason.

To get the full flavor of this, you have to read the actual words: "... we'll be discussing the special grief these parents experience, particularly when they see children/adults with Down Syndrome. While we hope all parents will learn something from this page, the main purpose to help parents who have interrupted their pregnancies due to T-21 find validation in their grief and support for the heartbreaking choice they made..."

What is it they hope parents will learn from this page? That people with Down syndrome are to be greatly feared? That it is a good thing to abort them? That sometimes ignorant people make fun of people with mental retardation, so it is best if they are not born?

The people who put up these web pages availed themselves of their rights under the law and had abortions due to a prenatal diagnosis of a condition that they felt was not conducive to life, for whatever reason. They did not "interrupt" their pregnancies, they aborted their fetuses. This should have remained a personal decision between them and their doctors. Instead, they have whitewashed these abortions with sentimental words and lovely pictures of angels and clouds. These pages are a paean to eugenics. They romanticize the decision to abort for a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome and other non-lethal conditions.

I am horrified by these little angel babies. I am disgusted to read that their mommies want validation for deciding they were worthless. And on behalf of all the real mommies of real little babies with Down syndrome, I want to say I am profoundly sad for these women's decisions.

The sites: A Heartbreaking Choice and The Grey Area

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