John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera on Abortion, Bias, and Babies With Down Syndrome: Good Argument, but We Can Do Better

A pro-choice doctor just made a case for not aborting children with Down syndrome. But his case needs to be better.

By one estimate, about three-fourths of all pregnant women in the United States undergo prenatal testing to determine if their child has Down syndrome. Of those who test positive, between two-thirds and ninety percent abort their unborn child.

Someone who didn’t was Aaron Kaposy’s mother. Kaposy’s father, Chris Kaposy, is a professor of bioethics at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine in Newfoundland, Canada. He has just published a book entitled “Choosing Down Syndrome,” which argues that “more people should have children with Down syndrome . . . from a pro-choice, disability-positive perspective.”

Kaposy recently outlined his argument in an article at Aeon. Unfortunately, what’s missing is anything that makes unborn children with Down syndrome meaningfully safer in utero. The heart of Kaposy’s argument, at least in this article, is that people like his son Aaron are victims of bias. “Other possible explanations,” he says, “don’t add up.” For instance, “[H]aving Down syndrome doesn’t negatively affect one’s sense of wellbeing.”

Furthermore, “concerns about negative effects on families of parenting a child with Down syndrome are unfounded.” Research shows that such families “tend to be as stable and well functioning as families that include only non-disabled children.” And, as he puts it, “many people know such families, and know that they flourish.”

So the overwhelming tendency to abort babies with Down syndrome, he says, cannot be motivated by “concerns about the quality of life of such children,” or “by worries about family functioning.”

So Kaposy concludes that it’s bias that’s the main factor in aborting babies with Down syndrome. He writes, “Western cultures value independence, and consequently people with high levels of dependency are often stigmatised.” This stigmatization can, under some circumstance, turn into even a “loathing for people who are dependent.”

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Source: Christian Post