Via Media

George Neumayr on the ‘abortion debate that wasn’t."

Not wishing to publicize a practice most doctors prefer to keep secret, the medical community releases only sketchy information on the frequency of eugenic abortion against the disabled. But to the extent that the numbers are known, they indicate that the vast majority of unborn children prenatally diagnosed as disabled are killed.

Medical researchers estimate that 80 percent or more of babies now prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. (They estimate that since 1989, 70 percent of Down syndrome fetuses have been aborted.) A high percentage of fetuses with cystic fibrosis are aborted, as evident in Kaiser Permanente’s admission to The New York Times that 95 percent of its patients in Northern California choose abortion after they find out through prenatal screening that their fetus will have the disease.

Excellent article, from the Seattle paper (not the American Spectator, where Neumayr is an editor). It will be interesting to see the reaction.

Pop culture refraction: In the HBO series Six Feet Under, Nate and Brenda are battling over testing for their unborn child. One test has revealed a slight chance of a disability, Brenda is resistant to taking any further tests, her husband (long time viewers: can we hate Nate any more than we do right now, after this episode?) is pressuring her, and finally admitted that he would want her to abort. Her language was blunt: "You’d want us to kill it?" "Well, yes."

It was very well done, and another startling example of this series dealing with the abortion issue forthrightly, without euphemism. (An interesting thought just popped into my head – for a show about death, this show has never, I don’t think, had a euthanasia plotline. Has it?) The writing on this storyline was especially strong last night. Nate has a conversation with a female friend who had had a child die in the past. She explained to him that despite the suffering, the experience was worth it (forgive the utilitarian language), and said, with a sort of awed look on her face, "He was a person. A wonderful person. And I was so privileged to know him."

Of course, when Nate reports the conversation to Brenda, he completely misrepresents it, saying it was all about how difficult the experience had been. Brenda asks, "Did she say she regretted it?" He pauses. "That’s not the point."

(As we said…Nate Hate Club meets here)

When Brenda gets the news about the questionable test, she’s shopping for ponchos in a maternity store. She can’t decide between two she particularly likes. She gets the call, puts both back.

At the end, she’s made her decision, not to get any further testing. Final scene: she’s walking out of the maternity store, wearing one poncho, carrying the other in a bag. She got both. Pregnancy squared, Baby Love underlined. Not a word spoken, not any required. Great stuff.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus