Imagine you and your spouse find out you’re expecting. Having experienced this moment a few times, I know there’s nothing quite like it. Your world changes, and within days, your child’s entire biography unfolds in your mind: her first steps, first words, kindergarten, little league, ballet, high school, college, and eventually a young adult who will make you insanely proud. It’s all so promising.
But for thousands of parents every year, that’s when the “bad news” comes. You find out your child has been diagnosed in utero with a serious medical condition or disability. All of your dreams for her fall to pieces. As more conditions are identified by prenatal tests, the more parents there are that face this scenario.
Then the friendly suggestions begin: “No one would choose that kind of life.” “She’ll never be happy.” “No one would blame you for ending it.” For many parents, the suggestions turn to pressure: “It’s irresponsible.” “You’re creating a burden.” “You’re being selfish.”
Having talked with parents of children with disability, I can tell you this tragedy plays out all too often. The pressure to have “perfect” children is immense. And when the moment of decision comes, a shocking percentage of families go along with the culture—and end a life they’ve been told isn’t worth living.
This is why almost 90 percent of children diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome are aborted. During an interview last year with Joni Eareckson Tada, she shared with me her alarm over what might happen if a prenatal test became available for autism, especially since 1 in 80 children are now diagnosed with it.
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