Monday, March 10, 2008

Great Idea Brownback

At the critical crossroad when a young woman might be at her absolute most vulnerable and least likely to make a well informed decision women need the best counsel available. Often already in an emotionally unstable point because of the hormones raging in her body a young woman can often make a difficult situation that at the least is uninformed.

Doctors who we trust to have our best interest at heart often have a jaded and surprisingly and equally uninformed position, and while possibly well intentioned, take advantage of the weak moment to push their own personal opinions.

The KC Star recounts as a point of their story this morning a story many of us have heard time and time again of a young pregnant woman dealing with the devastating news of a prenatal diagnosis of problems with their unborn child. In the particular case of this story with Down syndrome. I think the story correctly sets the stage and the excellent legislation that Senator Brownback has proposed to help the situation. The only shortcoming I see in the bill is we should take the additional step to include new training and education for doctors who deliver the news so they aren't perhaps so jaded about the prospects of life with Down syndrome.

The article tells the familar story of a young pregnant woman given the news that her unborn child has Down syndrome and the medical opinion from the doctor to abort. The doctor gives all the unpleasant and negative details about life with a person with a disability and that all choices facing them are bad. The article correctly notes that most pregnancies with a prenatal diagnosis such as this are currently terminated.

It is easy to run this down an emotional path for all of us who know a person with a disability and particularly Down syndrome and know what an absolute joy they can be in our lives. It is also easy as does the article to suggest they are special gifts from God. Here is what I do know about people with Down syndrome.

First, genetically and in every other way are people who are more just like the rest of us than they are different. They have the capacity to love, hate, experience joy and sorrow just like the rest of us. They have the same right to life, liberty and happiness that we have all agreed was given to the rest of us. Those rights deserve to be protected as much as for any of the rest of us.

Second, they are wonderful in their difference. Regardless if you personally believe they are specially touched by God or you don't believe in God at all you can't know a person with Down syndrome and not realize by virtue of their differences possess a remarkably unique perspective on life. We are all affected by this perspective when we know them. They possess a unique filter on the things of this life that is difficult to describe but I think it is so profound that when we allow it has the ability to change people's lives. They are like umani for humanity. They season our lives and make it rich. They have a tendency to simplify complex problems and stresses into manageable parts and they force the hardest of people to re-evalute their priorities. I've seen these changes in people firsthand. I've seen the very best come out in people as a result of their personal experiences with individuals with Down syndrome.

So, I would comfortably assert the value of these lives to the world. These people make us better people. Senator Brownback makes a great move here to establish and protect them while they are still yet unborn. Helping people under the stress of making a decision about keeping a pregnancy make a more informed decision is needed. I think learning first hand about these precious lives, the services available to support them and in fact what they bring to the world will go a long way to protecting them. Thank you Senator Brownback and make sure it goes through. It was also telling that there has been little opposition from liberals and the pro-choice group.

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