It is late at night and I am tired. Never a good idea to try to rationalise your anger when you’re tired, but it’s too late for that now. I have just read a statistic in a newspaper article that has made me want to abandon forty years of laid-back liberalism and start swinging an axe. How can I continue to live and let live? 98% of positive Down syndrome amniocentesis tests in the UK end in termination.
Did you get that? I think I need to say it a bit louder.
Out of every 100 babies conceived in the UK with Down Syndrome, 98 are killed.
Termination is a cop-out non-word. You’re dealing with the ending of organic life. I’ll call it what it is. Killing. You wouldn’t terminate a chicken. There’s another word too that is hovering dangerously close to my fingertips.
I’m sorry. I can’t deal with this right now. Jacob’s hearing test in Crumlin this week shows that he’s likely to have impaired hearing and that was annoying me greatly there. Then some pictures of great kids on the Nigerian Downs Assoc website made me smile so that was nice. But all that’s kicked into a cocked hat because in the UK in this age of enlightenment and sensitivity to the planet they kill babies who have Down Syndrome. Beautiful, beautiful people, misunderstood by those who know better before they have a fucking chance to introduce themselves. Here I am, terrified of the political incorrectness of calling Jacob my Down Syndrome son (when he’s actually my son with Down Syndrome if you don’t mind), but who gives a flying crap? What the hell does that matter? In the UK they kill babies with Down Syndrome, and it’s legal and quite apparently the done thing. NEVER DO THE GOD-DAMNED DONE THING!
Aah, I am hanging my head in shame for my fellow humans and crying quietly into this night and I am trying to be gracious and pray for them at the same time because I do not think that they know what they do. I have a beautiful boy whose every cell is graced with forty seven chromosomes, 23 from me and 23 from his mother and one little bugger that slipped in just to spice things up a bit. Could I have considered ending him for that, had I known his status before his arrival? Not while breath moves through me. Could I find forgiveness for someone who would make that choice, someone for whom Down Syndrome would be reason enough? Could I? Forgive me instead Lord, I fear I could not.
It is late, and I’ve already said that it’s a bad idea to try to rationalise emotions when it’s past bed time, but right now I don’t think I could trust myself around that kind of decision-making person. No. It’d be safer to be somewhere else.