Eradicate the “disease”?

A while back there was an article about a new test that would identify if your child had Down syndrome earlier in the pregnancy in a less invasive way. Dr. Patsalis was excited about this new test because it could help the medical community “slowly eradicate the disease” that is Down syndrome. 

I could go into a long spiel about how angry this article made me, but there are many posts out there already that have already covered this point. The article’s timing, however, corresponded with my freshman daughter’s class starting a study on DNA. During our discussion of her upcoming studies, I mentioned this article to her not thinking that my 8 year old was also in the car listening. After discussing the matter for a short time, I decided it was time to end the conversation because I was not ready to explain just how this “eradication” would be taking place, namely, termination of the pregnancy, to my 8 year old.

That was several weeks ago and I had not mentioned the article again. The other day, seemingly out of nowhere, my 8 year old asked me why people wanted to get rid of Down syndrome. Obviously, she had not forgotten about our prior conversation and had been considering it.

I thought for a moment and said that some people feel it is unfair to others, especially siblings, to have a child with Down syndrome. “Why?” she asked? “Well,” I said, “you know how some times I have to give more attention and help to Peanut and you sometimes get upset about it and how Peanut needs more help to learn things. Some people think that is not fair to you and your sister.” 

“That’s just stupid.” my daughter said.

My 8 year old often struggles with the extra attention and help our 6 year old needs at times. And yet, even she can see past those times and see that our lives would not be the same without Peanut. Even as frustrated as she may get with her sister, she loves her and would be sad if she was not a part of our life. 

I’m holding out hope that before we “eradicate the disease” our children will grow up and educate the world just how stupid that would be.

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