Starting this week, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists is recommending that all pregnant women be offered a test for Down syndrome. I wonder who’s happy about this news, considering that more than 80% of babies diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome are aborted. In looking for reactions to this and other prenatal screening stories, I came across this must-read commentary. The author, Paul Adeline, reports about a group of individuals with Down Syndrome who — God love them — disrupted the 2003 International Down Syndrome Screening Conference in an effort to have their opinions heard. Adeline writes:
By the time the police had arrived, the conference organisers had agreed to let Anya Souza, 40, a woman with Down’s Syndrome, speak to the delegates for 10 minutes. The other people with Down’s Syndrome were allowed to sit at the back of the hall. These are some of the points Anya made: I can’t get rid of my Down’s. But you can’t get rid of my happiness. You can’t get rid of the happiness I give others, either. It’s doctors that want to test pregnant women, and stop people like me being born. Sometimes doctors want to sterilise us, prevent us from being born. After the conference Anya told a Disability Now Extra reporter that she is against testing for Down’s Syndrome, and that there should be more people with Down’s Syndrome around.