Friday, January 19, 2007

Amnio Testing for Down Syndrome Shouldn't be Routine

Patricia E. Bauer, a former reporter for the Washington Post, is the mother of a child with Down Sydrome. She opposes the American College of Obstetrician and Gynocologist's reccommendation that all women over 35 have routine early screenings for Down Syndrome. She states that since, Downs cannot be cured, that more babies will be aborted. The rate of abortions for Down Syndrome is already close to 90%.
"We're embarking on the elimination of an entire class of people who have a history of exclusion. Much of what people think they know about intellectual disabilities is inaccurate and remains rooted in stigma and opinions formed when institutionalization was routine."
In my community, there are a disproportionate number of disabled adults, thanks to the many homes run by Independent Group Home Living, which is based here. Many of these are older adults with the vacuous stares that feed that stereotype, thanks to decades of neglect in institutions such as the infamous Willowbrook, which was exposed by Geraldo Rivera in the 70's.
What most people don't know, is what Patricia Bauer asserts in the article, that "people with Down Syndrome and are better educated, and leading longer, healthier, and more productive lives." A case in point: Sujeet Desai and Carrie Berejon, two young people in their twenties,who happen to have Down Syndrome have just gotten married and moved into their own apartment. Both hold down jobs, in fact Sujeet is a musician.
A couple of years ago, Sen Sam Brownback, and Ted Kennedy, whose sister Rose had an intellectual disability, co-sponsored a bill which would make doctors inform mothers whose unborn child had Down Syndrome or another disability, about the true capabilites of these children.
Here's a link to an article in the Daily Mail by the mother of an actor, Max Lewis, who has Down Syndrome. My Lovely Son: The Hollywood Star.

No comments: