Sarah Palin and me: The joys of a Down syndrome child

I don’t presume to tell others what to do when they are faced with these difficult decisions. But I worry that women who find themselves pregnant with a child who has a physical or mental disability get only one message, which is all about the burden about to be dumped in their laps. Today, nine out of 10 American women who are told they have a child with Down syndrome choose to abort. I think it’s fair to say that if some of these potential parents had a glimpse of the other side they might have made a different decision…

The American people are complicated. I know pro-lifers who have aborted when they found out their baby had Down syndrome. I know of a couple who are suing their doctor because amnio tests did not disclose that they would be having a baby with Down syndrome. And I know a woman who is strongly pro-choice but chose to keep her Down syndrome baby and couldn’t be happier with her decision. I also know couples who choose to adopt children with Down syndrome and consider themselves blessed.

I have no magic answers. I do have a beautiful daughter who lights up my world when I look into her trusting little face, who enriches our family with her life, and whose big-heartedness brings out the best in those who know her. I sometimes wonder how many Americans deprive themselves of that same joy because of an aggressive message that abortion is the only sensible choice.