Dana Goldstein, an associate editor at the Daily Beast, says improved prenatal testing could well reduce the number of secular, educated families who have children with Down syndrome.
She interviews parents of kids with DS, who say they hope that doesn’t happen. An excerpt:
Rachel Adams [a professor of English and American studies at Columbia University whose son has Down syndrome] describes herself as a pro-choice feminist, a woman who wouldn’t want to deny any other woman the choice of whether to carry a pregnancy to term. But she’s also committed to giving expectant parents a more hopeful view of what it’s like to be a mother of a child with Down syndrome. This spring, she and a friend will be giving talks to genetic counselors about how they can more sensitively deliver the news that a fetus has Down syndrome, without steering couples toward termination.
Adams sees a contradiction in our society’s increasingly friendly bearing toward disabled people and its obsession with developing ever more revealing genetic tests. “Now that I have Henry, I go from such optimism to such extreme worry,” she says. “There are ethicists who ask, â€˜At what cost to humanity is the elimination of whole categories of people?’ You’re living with these contradictions-wanting women to have complete reproductive freedom but wishing the choices they had were conveyed to them in a different way.”