Pro-life vs. pro-choice, same-sex marriage vs. traditional marriage, liberal college professors vs. conservative home schoolers, feminism vs. traditional roles for women — all of these issues have arisen as focal points during the GOP Presidential Primaries as highlighted in a recent article in the Seattle Times.
The relationship between religion and government has emerged as a flash point in the presidential campaign in recent days after an effort by the Obama administration to require religious institutions to include contraception in health-insurance plans for employees. All of the Republican candidates objected to the effort, which the administration tweaked after a massive outcry, especially from Catholics.
And our small Trisomy 18 community, and women’s health, has emerged at the center stage of these culture wars after Presidential candidate Rick Santorum said the following:
CBS News “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer asked the former Pennsylvania Senator to respond to comments Santorum made in Ohio Saturday where he said President Obama required free prenatal testing in the health care law “because it ends up in more abortions” which “cull[s] the ranks of the disabled in our society.”
Santorum told Schieffer that the policy is the “continuation” of the president’s support of aborting disabled fetuses.
“The president has a very bad record on the issue of abortion and children who are disabled who are in the womb,” Santorum said. “I think this simply is a continuation of that idea.”
Santorum said he is talking specifically about amniocentesis, an invasive test where amniotic fluid is taken from the womb. He said the procedure “actually creates a risk of having a miscarriage when you have it, and is done for the purposes of identifying maladies of a child in the womb. In many cases and in fact most cases, physicians recommend, particularly if there’s a problem, recommend abortion. . . .
“Yes, prenatal testing, amniocentesis does in fact result more often than not in abortion. That is a fact,” Santorum said.
” I know what I’m talking about here,” Santorum said. (Santorum’s daughter was born with the genetic disorder trisomy. Another of his children died two hours after birth.)
What does this mean for us as the members of this community? A Trisomy 18 diagnosis means that all of us will face pain and heartache as we lose our children far too soon. We ALL will be emotionally ravaged as we face difficult decisions. This common bond is what brings us together, but will these conversations about abortion, prenatal testing, and women’s health tear us apart bit by bit? Will we become a casualty of these culture wars, or will we face this challenge together and share our collective knowledge with the mothers and fathers who follow behind us? What knowledge would you like to share about prenatal testing and your own unique experience?
My own answer is resounding: I will stand next to the parents who choose prenatal testing AND those who don’t; I will stand next to those who say goodbye early AND those who fight like hell to keep their children alive; and I will stand next to the mother and father weeping over her infant’s bedside saying her final goodbye to the child they chose to remove from tubes and bring home to a cradle for a brief but glorious moment. These are all my people — regardless of where they stand on a cultural divide.