I recently had an interesting discussion with someone on Twitter about whether women should choose abortion if an amniocentesis revealed that the baby had Down Syndrome. Understandably, many women do chose an abortion at this point in their pregnancy because they feel that they are not ready to accept the challenges of raising a child with special needs. However, I do not think that I would choose an abortion in this situation, primarily because I have multiple family members with developmental delays.
ABC news reported a few years ago that 92% of women who find out that their baby has Down Syndrome choose abortion. I’m not sure how reliable that statistic is, because the doctor the article quotes doesn’t explain how those results were garnered. But I don’t doubt that the number of women who choose abortion in the case of a Down Syndrome diagnosis is high. Raising a child with special needs of any kind, be it Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, or physical challenges, can be difficult. Every family is different in terms of their ability to handle those challenges. It is not my place to say what decision is right or wrong.
This question reminds me of the discussion I had with many pro-choice Tweeters who answered the question “Can you be pro-choice if you woudln’t choose an abortion yourself?” Everyone I talked to said that the context of the situation would determine their choice, but they all agreed that every woman has to make the decision for herself. Whether or not I agree with someone’s decision, being pro-choice is ultimately about trusting women to make their own decisions.
What’s your take on the situation? If you found out that your baby had Down Syndrome, would you continue the pregnancy? What factors would influence your decision?
Serena is a freelance writer who enjoys baking, protesting, and playing with little dogs.