I Thought Everyone Wanted Less Abortions?!?

I was surprise (but not shocked) last week to read a headline in the LA Times that read: Canadian Doctor Warns Sarah Palin’s Decision to have Down Baby Could Reduce Abortions . I was under the impression that liberals and the medical professionals simply wanted to have “save and rare” abortions. Lest you think that is what he really meant, let me post the article. I would really like to link it, but for some reason (I wonder why?) the article has been removed. But I copied it before they got it down. Here is the article in its entirety:

Sarah and Todd Palin’s decision to complete her recent pregnancy, despite advance notice that their baby Trig had Down syndrome, is hailed by many in the pro-life movement as walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

But a senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions.

Published reports in Canada say about 9 out of 10 women given a diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy through abortion.

Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Ottawa, worries that Palin’s now renowned decision may cause abortions in Canada to decline as other women there and elsewhere opt to follow suit.

He says not every woman is prepared to deal with the consequences of Down babies, who have developmental delays, some physical difficulties and often a shortened lifespan.

Wider use of blood screening and amniocentesis during pregnancies can now accurately predict the presence of Down syndrome.

Lalonde says his primary concern is that women have the….

…choice of abortion and that greater public awareness of women making choices like Palin to complete a pregnancy and give birth to their genetically-abnormal baby could be detrimental and confusing to the women and their families.

“The worry is that this will have an implication for abortion issues in Canada,” Lalonde tells the Globe and Mail.

In her widely-viewed acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention and a TV audience of some 37 million last week, Palin did not refer to her baby’s birth as a decision or choice. “In April,” she said, “my husband Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig.

“From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

“Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a special love.

“To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.”

Others in Canada, which has just begun its own national parliamentary election campaign, see the Palins as positive parental role models who could help reduce the tide of Down syndrome abortions.

Krista Flint is executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, which says its goal is to foster “a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity, worth and equal rights for ALL people.”

The society now displays a photograph of the happy Palins with their baby on its homepage and offers to provide “positive and factual information” for an open discussion of Down syndrome.

However, Flint says doctors usually give couples very dark messages about life with a Down syndrome child.

“We know overwhelmingly the message families get is ‘Don’t have this baby, it will ruin your life,'” Flint says. “And I don’t think people would look at Sarah Palin and see a ruined life. Regardless of politics, I think it’s a good example.”

Lalonde says giving women detailed information on the consequences of their decision is not actually encouraging them to seek abortions.

–Andrew Malcolm

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