Two Stories about Babies with Down Syndrome
"It's a girl!"
I received these words with tears of joy when our third child, Marilee, was born. We could have known her sex months earlier, of course, but we decided to wait. And yet, as I wrote in a recent Her.meneutics post, other cultures are far less willing to receive girls with joy. In both India and China, many people receive the prenatal information that they are having a girl as cause to terminate a pregnancy.
Prenatal information always comes within the context of a larger cultural narrative. We express our dismay over the "gendercide" halfway across the globe, yet prenatal testing in the United States also comes within a cultural context. Here, prenatal testing focuses upon identifying "fetal abnormalities." Information about such abnormalities occasionally help a baby survive through surgical intervention in utero or due to additional medical support at birth. Information can also help parents receive a child with physical or cognitive delays. But the same information is often ...1