Down’s syndrome people – better off dead?
This is the headline on an article in the monthly diocesan newspaper. It is a commentary on the recent case of a Down syndrome patient who was given a do-not-resuscitate order by his doctor without consultation with himself or his family. Here’s the news item from the Independent. The author of our article in the diocesan newspaper notes the odd behaviour at the Olympics, when Britain celebrated our really rather good NHS and later exulted in the strength and determination of disabled athletes at the Paralympics, given the fact that such disabilities are ‘hunted down’ and eliminated by the evil of abortion and such things as the above case happen in our hospitals.
We may reflect for a moment on the Church’s basic teaching of the dignity and right to life of all human beings, from the beginning (defined by science as at conception) to the end (any emphasis my own):
Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority: by flouting them, or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy. If it does not respect them, authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from its subjects. It is the Church’s role to remind men of good will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted or false claims. (CCC 1930)
And then on the testimony of parents of little Downs syndrome babies, who were intimidated by what they thought would be a difficult parenthood and then discovered that society already has a support network in place. Here, for example, is a lovely story of how the initial fear of caring for the child (‘grief and heartache’) is conquered when the baby comes along. Parenting.com also has this beautiful story about Baby Jo Jo and the story of her parents as they came to term with their baby’s condition.
I’ve put this post up because the article in the diocesan newspaper caught my eye, a few days after a friend of mine gave birth to a baby suffering from Down’s. She would not even think of aborting the child. As the lady in the first story above says, God makes no mistakes.