A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Mark Schrad’s opinion piece in the New York Times. Oddly enough, a friend who is concerned about these same issues saw my comment on the NYT site and got in touch. Like Schrad, she has an 8-year-old child with Down Syndrome. Unlike Schrad, she supports the Ohio legislature and testified in favor of similar legislation in Indiana. A Public Policy Fellow at Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture, Mary O’Callaghan holds a PhD in developmental psychology and has written a piece for the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog.
Her article highlights the dangers in Schrad’s position, in a professional and reasoned tone. I agree wholeheartedly, and tried to make a similar argument myself in that earlier post. I am so grateful that the work of advocacy is not a solo pursuit, that I have friends who are intelligent and determined and articulate. Sometimes the work of parenting, especially parenting a child with disabilities, can be lonely work–parenting in general is pretty tough and usually thankless. But moments like these remind me that we’re not alone. Children with Down Syndrome need the work of all of us parents–Mark Schrad (whose article has sparked necessary conversation) and Mary O’Callaghan, and many others who advocate for their children and others on a daily basis. Articles like Mary’s in particular need to be written and widely read. Knowing how very articulate and incisive my friend is in her advocacy is a great gift.
If you read my earlier post (whether you agreed with it or not), you should really read this article. She concludes with a punch: Despite the increasingly positive data about Down syndrome, somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of parents who receive this diagnosis choose abortion. I testified in Indiana, not because we are on a slippery slope, but because once we accept abortions based solely on disability, we are already at the bottom.
Indeed so. Let’s hope we aren’t there yet.