Monday, May 16, 2011

A mom sues over her child being born disabled

I read an article about a mom who sued her doctors after her baby was born with a disability. She would have aborted the baby had she been informed of the disability while she was pregnant because having a “normal” baby was very important to her. The fact that she was not offered testing that would have prompted her to abort her now 3-year old daughter won her a $7 million settlement.
To put it mildly, this makes me ill.
The genetic condition of the child that spurred the lawsuit is not stated. One common genetic condition that readily comes to mind is Down syndrome. I have several mommy friends who have beautiful, amazing children who also happen to have Down syndrome.
I have learned that the rate of abortion after prenatal genetic testing comes back positive for Downs is over 80%! This is absolutely appalling to me. How is this possible?
I did a quick Google search to see if there was any info about this, and I found a great article that sums things up about the extremely high rate of Down syndrome abortions.
Down syndrome is far less prevalent than autism.
Downs occurs in about 1 out of every 733 children born. Autism occurs in about 1 out of every 91 children born. I shudder to think of what would happen if a widely available genetic test for autism became the norm for prenatal care. Would we suddenly lose a generation of children?
I have 2 children that some might call disabled. Do I consider them disabled? No. Would I have chosen to abort them if I had known they would end up with autism? HECK NO! My boys have taught me more than I could ever imagine. I am better because of them. That includes the fact that they are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
I encourage you to read the article about the $7 million settlement and then share your thoughts below in the comments.


Cari said...

Angela I am just in tears over this. AND FURIOUS!!!! All children are a blessing, and yes I whole-heartedly agree that my son has taught me some amazing lessons and I am blessed to be his Mommy {despite my whining sometimes}. Last year I had to take my little guy into the E.R. late one night for croup, and was talking to another Mother in the waiting room of a SEVERELY disabled child in a wheel chair, unable to communicate. It took her and another aide to care for him just in the ER. Right there and then I just thanked God that my guy could walk, run, and hug me. That Mother was one of the most gracious people I have ever met, and I still think about her and her son daily. I am so sick of society and "perfection", perfect hair, skin, Ridiculous! What's next? If we could look into the future and see if our child wasn't an honor roll student, would have an addiction, not be what we invisioned them to be, would that warrent abortion? Life is hard and unpredictable, being a parent is hard, typical, non-typical, disabled, etc. When people decide to have children, I think they are only thinking about having that "perfect child". When people are thinking about having kids, they need to consider that the child may have difficulites, that is part of the deal, part of being a parent. The rewards of parenting are many, I feel extra lucky; Autism diagnosis made me stop dead in my tracks and slow down and savor each and every milestone. Thanks for sharing this.

Caffeinated Autism Mom said...

Cari,that was a wonderful comment. This story hit a nerve with me, too. It's hard for me to imagine not being okay with a child, no matter what their "problem" might be. I just don't understand that mentality at all. I was truly floored when I read the article, which is why I had to share it. I knew I couldn't be the only one.

And, I totally understand where you are coming from when you think of other parents with profoundly disabled children. I cannot even imagine the full extent of what that would be like.

I know how hard things can get around my house at times (and I can also get very whiny!), so I cannot even wrap my brain around what some parents I know live with every day and the challenges that they and their children face. There can be such love and inspiration present. I don't think any of them have regret having their children because they, too, have learned from them and became better people as a result.

Well, thanks again for sharing your view. It is always welcomed here.

Anonymous said...

I read a novelby Judi Picoult about this very subject. The mother in the story loved her disabled daughter very much. She sued because she needed lots of money to take care of her, since her disability was incredibly expensive. It pretty much tore the family apart. The book is Handle with Care, if anyone is interested.

Caffeinated Autism Mom said...

Anonymous, thank you so much for your comment. I have not heard of that book in particular, but many of my friends have recommended this author to me. I'm going to have to try to find some time to read fiction at some point! From what I hear, she is wonderful and I imagine this book would be also.

Anonymous said...

Just reading your blog for the first time. I have a 7 month old little boy and I have been learning about parenting through many blogs, and found yours through another blog (hope that makes sense). Anyway, I love to read about others experiences and appreciate your ability to give me (us) an insight into your life, learning from one another is so important and something our parents did not have at their fingertips.
Anyhow, my thoughts about the article and something I have always said, when you CHOOSE to get pregnant, you are choosing to start a family no matter what, not "only if everything is perfect" is a huge committment and no everyone looks at the entire picture. When it came time for testing, we agreed not to do the testing because I just wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and bask in the wonder and anticipation of how my life was going to change. I wouldn't want to control our fate like this women wanted to. Life is about what is handed to you and how you respond, it is a beautiful gift.

Caffeinated Autism Mom said...

Anonymous, I am so glad you found me (however you got here)! :-) And, I could not agree more with your opinion. Beautifully put. Thank you for stopping by and I hope to hear more from you soon.

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