Happily Ever After, with Down SyndromeA priest gives a woman who planned to abort her fetus with Down syndrome the option of adoption. Jezebel accuses him of coercion. But maybe this type of action is one way out of the politicized and polarized abortion wars.Amy Julia Becker
Last week, the news came out about a pregnant woman in Maryland who discovered through prenatal testingthat her fetus had Down syndrome. She planned to abort—the same choice made by at least 3 in 4 women who receive this diagnosis—until a local priest intervened, offering to find a family to adopt her child.
The woman was already 23 weeks pregnant, so she only had a few days to procure an abortion legally and reportedly gave the priest 24 hours to find a family. 900 offers came in. The church has narrowed the potential parents down to three couples, and the woman has decided to carry her baby to term.
Days ago, with this story buzzing around the blogosphere, I met a mother and her new baby, who has Down syndrome. We had a lovely time. Her son reminded me of my daughter Penny as a baby—full of smiles, attentive to his mother's face, swatting at toys, and hardly making a peep other than happy noises.
But the best part of our time together was the final few minutes when Penny, who also has Down syndrome, came home from summer school. She got off the bus, walked over to our guest, and stuck out her hand. "I'm Penny. It's nice to meet you." Penny proceeded to chatter about her day, talking about playing with a classmate, doing math (her favorite), and our plans to visit a friend the next day. When the mom and child needed to leave, Penny extended her arms for a hug, and then she asked, "Can I give your baby a kiss too?"
That night, Penny and I were telling my son William about our visitors. "You know how we were kind of scared and sad after we learned that Penny had Down syndrome?" I asked. "Well, I think maybe this mom felt a little bit scared and sad that her baby had Down syndrome, so maybe it helped her feel more happy to meet Penny and see that having Down syndrome isn't scary or sad for us."