I am quite confused about House Bill 166, which would “prohibit abortion based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome” (Tribune, March 1).
Who would make the decision, and how would it be made, that an abortion was being sought solely on this basis? Women, their families and their health care providers might make a decision regarding abortion based on many, many factors. If there was a diagnosis of Down syndrome in such complex situations, would that automatically supersede all other decision factors? (For example, the fetus may have other diseases/conditions that might virtually guarantee a very brief and painful post-birth existence.)
Would the presence of such a Down syndrome diagnosis “force” women to attempt to take a pregnancy to term no matter the other factors? This seems like very unclear and shaky ground upon which to build legislation.
Also, I found it rather objectionable to read Sen. Stuart Adams’ patronizing characterization of “Down syndrome kids and their simple way of life.” In my approximately 40-year career working with children and adults labelled as having disabilities, I have known many persons with Down syndrome who have led full and rich lives with regard to social relationships, employment, community involvement, etc. Again, such patronizing and infantilizing attitudes and perspectives do not provide a good foundation for legislative decisions.
Rob O’Neill, Salt Lake City