At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy League ethics program. In answer to another guest's question, he said he believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a disability, because it was immoral to subject a child to the kind of suffering he or she would have to endure. (When I started to pipe up about our family's experience, he smiled politely and turned to the lady on his left.)
In an article in the Washington Post, Patricia Bauer talks about her daughter Margaret and how there is an assumption that their family owed a duty to society to abort Margaret merely because she has Downs Syndrome.
I wouldn't merely have "piped up" to that Ivy League director of ethics (why is it that every "ethics" program is led by unrepentant believers in murder and other crimes? Want to know who's evil? The people involved in "ethics" programs). Shame is the best feature of public life, and I would've gotten loud and asked that jerkoff if he really believed that Margaret should've been "terminated." (kind of brings new meaning to the phrase: hasta la vista, baby) People expressing such thoughts in public, with snide superiority, deserve to be put in their place and firmly corrected. Who would care about causing a scene when you're sitting next to a man who outright says you have a duty to kill your children because they don't live up to HIS expectations? I'd get very loud, and very mad.
Ms. Bauer also writes:
Many young women, upon meeting us, have asked whether I had "the test." I interpret the question as a get-home-free card. If I say no, they figure, that means I'm a victim of circumstance, and therefore not implicitly repudiating the decision they may make to abort if they think there are disabilities involved. If yes, then it means I'm a right-wing antiabortion nut whose choices aren't relevant to their lives.
Frankly, these women who ask that question deserve to be slapped in the face (in the old fashioned sense of social disapproval of reprehensible conduct). It's none of their damn business. But if slapping them is a bit extreme, how about point-blank asking them: "WHAT do you mean by that? That Margaret should've been aborted?" Showing anger at such an offensive question might rattle some of their loose brain cells into perhaps thinking that maybe their assumptions aren't right about abortion after all. Who CARES if they think you're a "right-wing antiabortion nut"? It's more important to repudiate their assumptions about abortion, period. That they ask the question in a tone unconcerned about the child, only concerned with their own personal vanity, is all you need to know.