Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sarah Palin and the Proud Choice She Made

When Sarah Palin learned that her infant son would be born with Down’s Syndrome, she said she never considered ending the pregnancy. When Trig was born in April, she penned a note to loved ones in the voice of “Trig’s creator, Your Heavenly Father,” rejecting sympathy for her son. Source: Boston Globe, “A valentine to evangelical base”, p. A12 Aug 30, 2008

I found this story today , written by Jennifer Ginsberg and Heather Robinson, in I believe it is a very important story. I have read that there is a high rate of abortion upon prenatal discovery of Down Syndrome. This is appalling. We are all God's children - we all have a "right to life." My own cousin Tommy was a down syndrome child, and his life was a gift to all his family. He was beautiful, he loved life!

Down Syndrome: Sarah Palin's Brave Choice

When I saw the governor's beautiful baby, I felt ashamed for questioning what my choice would have been.

When I was four months pregnant with my first baby, I went to my OB for a routine checkup and structural ultrasound. I remember feeling so excited to have the opportunity to see a 3-D image of the little baby, whom I was already completely in love with.

Once my doctor began performing the ultrasound, I knew something was wrong. She became very quiet and looked concerned, as the computer measured all of his little body parts. "There's a problem," she said slowly. "You see, the right side of his brain is measuring larger than the left."

"What does that mean?" I felt dread wash over me.

"Well, it could mean a lot of things. Or it could mean nothing. Sometimes there are simple anomalies which even out as the pregnancy progresses. But the difference is significant enough that I am going to have you meet with the genetic consultant and perinatologist."

Genetic consultant? Perinatologist? Are you kidding me? Up until five minutes before, I felt as happy and excited as I ever had in my life. I already felt a profound connection with my unborn baby and I had begun anticipating our life together.

I met with the specialists, and the news wasn't good. In addition to the brain anomalies, he was also retaining fluid in his urethra, and I had an extremely high level of amniotic fluid. I was told that these were all markers for carrying a baby with an extra chromosome 21, which meant he had a one in a hundred chance of having Down syndrome.

Further tests were recommended, and I was referred to a pediatric neonatologist. Overnight, I went from being ecstatic and excited to feeling wrought with fear and anxiety. Suddenly, my husband and I were faced with very difficult choices. Should we go ahead with the amnio, which would definitively determine if our child had Down syndrome, but would also pose the risk of miscarriage? If the test indicated that our baby had an extra chromosome 21, what would we do with that information? Would we make a decision to have the baby, or choose to terminate the pregnancy?

We had to do some serious soul-searching. After discussing all the possibilities, reading everything on the Internet that I could find, and meeting with my rabbi, I decided to defer my decision until I got the amnio test results back. I was so grateful when I received the definitive news that my baby did not carry the extra chromosome for Down syndrome.

Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, had a different outcome.

I'll never forget the first moment I saw her on TV. It was last September. The Republican National Convention. She was wearing black, her hair curling at her shoulders, her eyes bright. I remember my excitement and pride as I watched this strong, feminine woman take the stage and compete to occupy the second highest office in the free world.

Read the rest of the story

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