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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Burden To Society

The first couple of years after Kayla was born I would lurk on pregnancy message boards, to include those sub-boards of prenatal diagnosis, possible prenatal diagnosis, and yes, even the terminating for medical reasons boards (TMR). The majority of posters on the TMR board who had either terminated, or were planning on terminating, had a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

One of the common themes on that board, that I read over and over, was that individuals with Down syndrome were a 'burden to society' and they didn't want to bring a child in to this world who was going to 'suffer' and be a 'burden to society.'

Yeah, I eventually stopped reading those boards.

I read an article over the weekend that reminded me of this common perception that society has about people with Down syndrome; and about the whole 'burden to society' thing. What does that mean anyway? Aren't we all 'dependent' on 'society' during our lives?

But back to the article. A 25 yr old male Acme employee was robbed of $50. He went inside to tell his manager and call the police. He picked out the perpetrator's mugshot. His testimony was key to putting this serial robber in the state pen for 7-12 yrs. The guy admitted to stealing around $3000 from 11 people and using the money for drugs.

The employee? The one who helped put this guy behind bars? He has Down syndrome.

Now, who is the 'burden to society' here?

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heather said...

Love it!!

Bailey's Leaf said...

How so sad, but with a very happy ending!

A Lady Called Amy said...

What I get from most peoples accounts of their loved ones/people they encounter with Down syndrome is that "they" enrich society and enhance the lives of those around them. I'm glad I've never been on those message boards. I think I'd get a little heated.

Kelli said...

It hurts me to read those types of comments about our little ones with DS, but I know that they are just blind to the beauty we see. So happy to read the great ending to the story though!

Runningmama said...

Love that story! And...sometimes I think the whole "burden to society" reason is just an excuse

chelle said...

When I worked with people who had disabilities .. the exact opposite was true ... They were always an asset to the community.

the three amigos said...

There are plenty of 'able minded' people who are a burden to society!!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I am very saddened by the thought of people aborting babies because of medical reasons that aren't fatal. It's extremely scary to me that our society can condone and accept the loss of so many human beings. I wonder where we will stop; if it's okay to terminate for DS, why not other medical reasons? How about blindness or deafness? What about spinal injuries and heart issues? Aren't these people just as expensive to take care of medically? In fact, MORE so? No one would dream of it, because they aren't "mentally challenged."

That? Royally pisses me off. I am so glad that you speak about the joys and pains of raising both of your children so that people can see that people with DS are PEOPLE and parts of FAMILIES.

Christina said...

Great story! What a bunch of sad boards - glad you stopped reading them!

Tracy said...

I love this post!