From DoubleX magazine (a spinoff of Slate, property of the Washington Post Company):
Ayelet Waldman, author of ‘Bad Mother,’ and Elizabeth Weil, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, conduct a five-part conversation about late-term abortions in the wake of George Tiller’s death. Both women have had late-term abortions following diagnoses of fetal abnormalities. (Waldman’s diagnosis was an unspecified genetic abnormality with an “unknowable” prognosis; Weil’s was a cytomegalovirus.)
From Waldman, in part 5:
When NPR was considering running a piece by me about my abortion, they told me that they needed balance, and I wondered, am I going to end up in a debate over whether people with Down’s Syndrome deserve to be born, to live?
A commenter on my first post asks that very question. The answer makes me incredibly uncomfortable. No one likes to think of herself as a proponent of a contemporary form of eugenics. And yet, in some cobwebby corner of my mind, I fear that this is what I am saying. I absolutely believe that it’s fine to abort a mentally retarded baby. I have no doubt in my mind that I would do the same thing again. I’d go to any legal length to defend another woman’s right to do the same. But then aren’t I simply saying that people with developmental disabilities are better off dead? Or, perhaps more accurately, that we as a society are better off without them?
Now I’ve got a knot in my belly. Where’s that think tank full of bioethicists when you need them?
From Weil, in part 3:
The tough zone starts for me with the horrible question of which babies – not to mince words – are too fucked up, which babies have defects so serious we think it’s OK to decide they can’t live? What do you think about a baby with cystic fibrosis? What about a blind or a deaf one? We all know great people born in horrible bodies. Should we be allowed to say, no thanks, I’d rather try again for a better-formed kid?
… I think part of the public discussion we need to have is about the link between abortion and prenatal testing. Why are we doing all this testing if we don’t condone women acting on the results?
… here’s the tough part again: Do we really think aborting all future Down babies amount[s] to “curing” a disease?
Full text can be found at: