It is Impossible to Both Love Your Child and to Wish Her Dead

Father Baker's post on "Parents sue for pre-natal misdiagnosis of Down syndrome" on his blog site, Bioethike deserves comment. See http://bioethike.com/2009/06/15/parents-sue-for-prenatal-misdiagnosis-of-down-syndrome/. I left a similar comment to the following on the site (with some editing which I should have made before I posted there), but wanted to post it here as well:

The Levys are heartless. As a father of a special needs child, I find preposterous the assertion that parents love their Down Syndrome child as much as their other children, but would have killed her had they known before she was born that she had Down Syndrome. We do not kill those whom we love nor do we sue others for giving us inaccurate information which prevented us from killing someone whom we now claim to love. Put simply, it is a lie.

I can understand that the Levys may find themselves in financial need given the extra expenses often involved in caring for a special needs child. Fortunately, God has given to me a well-paying job with excellent benefits and a wife who is a health care profession who has a good understanding of how to manage the needs of our special needs child. I may not, therefore, face all the problems they face. However, to file what is called a wrongful life suit arising out of their failure to kill their child but for the inaccurate information is not the way to solve those problems. If they are Christians, one hopes that they are part of a community of family and friends who will help where needed. If not, then we can pray that they become part of such a Christian community.

Were I their two older children, I would find frightening the assertion that their younger disabled sibling is just as dear to their parents as they are. What that says, even if they don't intend it, is that none of their children are so dear to them that they wouldn't have killed them had they known before their birth that they would be disabled.

Hopefully, the Levys will learn that God gives us burdens as blessings, not as curses. Special needs children require special effort, effort that changes their parents. Those changes can be for the better, and become a blessing, or for worse, and become a curse. The mother and father, through the grace of God, largely determine which it is. May God melt their hard hearts and give them the grace to be sanctified through the life of this special needs child, the child with which He blessed them.

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