January 7, 2007 by Marj Hatzell
I was going to respond to a commenter’s comment in the last post (hi, Lucy! I’d do my nose) and elaborate on it, but instead I will use this post to discuss something that I found disturbing.
There are groups out there, groups that I have supported in the past, that are working towards research in the field of autism.
These groups are doing genetic research. Since both my boys, and several other family members, have autism, related disorders or autistic tendencies, I felt that I would need to do my part, have my boys participate and hopefully help other families.
This week I found out what they intend to do with that research.
You see, there is a movement toward research of genetic disorders and disabilities. In other words, people want to be able to get testing (possibly while pregnant) to see what their chances are of having a child with these certain disorders and disabilities. In other words, so they could possible decide to have or not to have that child if there is a positive results. In other words, terminate. (Now, don’t e-mail me all mad and stuff. This is my opinion. I am not talking about extenuating circumstances here, just my own circumstances.)
Now, I have been Catholic my whole life. I am pro-choice, would never terminate a pregnancy (I mean NEVER) but I have never been one to tell others what they must do. I have always felt that it is between them and their God, and if they chose that, while I do not agree with their decision and can come up with a million reasons why they shouldn’t, I have always felt that our government has no right to dictate what people should decide. While I should think most people have the intelligence to research this, the truth is that people often make a decision like that based out of fear or desperation. They listen to their boyfriends, spouses, parents, etc. Some women make that decision on their own.
My viewpoint comes from an ethical standpoint, not a Catholic one. I do not believe that anyone has the right to play God. I do not believe in capital punishment, Euthanasia or many types of medical intervention. There is only so far I believe that I (and my family) will go. I believe that there is a plan and a reason for what happens. Now, I am not saying that I won’t try cancer treatment or I won’t allow my child to have a life-saving operation. What I am saying is that I will not stay alive on life support if I am brain dead and do not want “heroic measures” taken after a certain amount of time. For more information, see my living will.
What I mean by that little soapbox ranting is that when you have a baby, you get what you get. You don’t get to look at the blood tests and ultrasound and say, “Gee. I don’t like that baby’s nose. I don’t like that club foot. I don’t like that Autism.” You deal with what you get in life. I do not believe that people should design their babies. I do not believe that people should approach it from the standpoint that they are buying an animal that must be genetically selected, like a dairy cow. By the way, as a former vegetarian, I do not believe that scientists should be genetically improving our food supply or designing animals, either. That is a different story for a different day.
OK, at the risk of alienating my entire reading audience, what I am trying to tell you is that we are totally screwing up the planet. So all five of you can run screaming from this blog NOW. But I have to tell you that the more we fark with everything the worse it gets. Don’t forget that Nazi Germany was doing genetic testing as a means to select the “best” population. They killed anyone that was different from the Aryan ideal. That included disabled people, homosexuals, persons with mental disabilities and an entire race of people in the attempt to commit genocide. You know, history has a funny way of repeating itself. I feel very strongly that the more they mess with it the more we will one day regret it.
I have decided that we will not participate in the genetic research. While I am hopeful that some horrible diseases and conditions will someday receive cures, or at least, ways to treat them, I do NOT want a “cure” for what my children have. There is nothing wrong with them. They are fine. There is only something wrong with the way society perceives them. The danger now is that there are members of society who do not believe my children will ever become productive and so therefore it is acceptable to euthanize them. There are parents who kill their disabled children to, “put them out of their misery” or because, “their child was in so much pain and suffering.” HOGWASH!!!!! We aren’t talking about putting down a horse, here (why, by the way, I do not advocate, don’t get me started). We are talking about human life. It is NOT ACCEPTABLE to kill your disabled child, nor is it acceptable to feel that they have the right to take their own lives because they are “better off.”
I will get off my soapbox now. Sorry for the tangent. I promise to get back to my giddy, silly, happy and optimistic former self any minute now.