First, if you have not read this, do so now. It is what this blog post is about:
Richard Dawkins says fetuses with Down’s Syndrome should be aborted
Okay, you read all that? All set? Here we go:
I get that this is a personal choice and that people will ultimately make the decisions themselves. But I’m not here to talk about the never ending debate on abortion, as we all know what everyone thinks by now (two sides, ect). I’m here to talk about the worthiness of a life of someone, or ‘it’, as Dawkins puts it, has to live, or as a burden to society and family, when diagnosed with a challenge. I’ll be speaking from my own personal experiences relating to this.
So, I have a few friends who look up to this guy… I’ve always been a little put off by him… but so….. … I read quite a few comments on this article and it made me sad to see how people can think in such ways…. One of them said: “Richard nails it again. And yet again people get so emotional they can’t think rationally. It’s much kinder to deal with the situation this way. They won’t have a life, they’ll ruin their parents lives, and when those parents die, an even greater tragedy unfolds. All this resolved in a moment.” I just…. Just… Seriously? Have we come to this way of thinking? My jaw dropped in a gasp when I read what Dawkins had to say, and then some of the comments, such as the one I shared. Survival of the fittest. Only if it doesn’t make life harder for us (and them, I guess). It’d be like saying: Your child has physical abnormalities. She will never have a quality of life (a doctor actually said this to my parents when I was way younger). She will not go to the prom or get married or dance or sing or do this or that. Therefore, her life is meaningless, and your lives are forever ruined. I’m sorry that you’ll have to go through this.
I’m paraphrasing the parts after “Therefore”.
Has MY life been an easy one? Of course not. It isn’t supposed to be. How would I grow if it was such an easy ride? Do I ever wonder what life would be like if my physical challenge did not exist? Sure, maybe I have my moments. But then I think of the people I would not have met if I was aborted (which was never an option for my parents for any of their kids). Or, if I was not born the way I was. And it makes me sad and glad. Sad because, I wouldn’t have met the important people in my life, whether they stay or come and go, for as long or as short in my life they’ll be. And happy, because I HAVE met these people after all. Even the ones that bring sad, painful memories. I met them all for a reason.
Sometimes, people will tell me how I’ve affected their lives, and, honestly, it feels really awkward. I’ll get fidgety and at a loss of how to respond and try not to get misty-eyed, especially if it’s face to face. I guess it depends on who the person is as well. But, it also means a lot to me. It means, perhaps, there are more things to do and discover in this world that I’ve not yet done or experienced. Maybe I can inspire or help others more or make them smile. Even if I never do see them face to face. If they see my artwork, or read my story, or even better – become friends, that’s enough to keep me going.
I guess what I am trying to get at, instead of automatically thinking in the same mindset as Mr Dawkins has, I choose to have the mindset of hope and compassion. Without either, there is no purpose to a soul. In this case, an unborn baby/fetus/whatever-the-pc-term-is-nowadays.
People are always underestimating what those with physical challenges can or can’t do in having a good “quality” of life. Speaking from my own personal experience, it’s not exactly fun to be reminded by people on how different I, or anyone else with a physical challenge, looks, or is, compared to the rest of their world. People can tell me, or anyone, that by not only what they say, but also what they don’t say, what they do or don’t do, that they may otherwise have said (or not) or done (or not) differently, if I was like all the other “pretty” or outspoken super confident women out there. Sometimes that motivates me to prove them wrong. Sometimes it just wears me out in a way where I’m just tired of trying to prove my worth to the world. Just give me a chance to be me without having the need to show you that there is more to me than people usually think. People think I don’t see it when it happens, but I most always do. Even if I don’t call attention to it (hardly ever). It’s the Silent Reminder. It’s not fun to go through.
I suppose reading Dawkins comments, and other comments in agreement with him, brought a bit of frustration out of me. I’m sorry, but I can’t stand mentalities that Dawkins and others share.
People born with mental and/or physical challenges always have a potential to have a good quality of life. It may not always be the Societal Standards of a Good Life, but that’s okay. Everyone is different.
So all I have left to say is:
Give people a chance.
Thank you for reading.