So, there’s a new law being written into Ohio and it is being called HB-135. It states that if you find out your baby has soft or hard markers for Down Syndrome, you will not be allowed to abort that baby. If you are like me, you would expect pom-poms , chanting, and overall grandiose gestures of gratitude from the Down Syndrome community. I can almost picture them, fists repeatedly punching the air, celebrating… “yes, all life is a gift.” …and,well my goodness it sure is, I have seen quite a different concoction of reactions.
This is a button that if pushed may singe your finger. One that separates elephants from donkeys. However, here is the a view from some of the very people who hold a baby or have a live-in roomate with DS. You do not get to decide if we can handle the blow of our dreams being shattered. You do not get to pick if we are: able to, concerned enough, in love enough, or invested enough to survive our lives being altered.
I do not wish to speak for the masses. There are many of my dearest out there who have embraced their special needs baby because they embrace their religion, their morality and pureness of soul. These are the kind of people who walk so closely to purity that they reserve judgement for no one.
This is not all of the people though. The cards do not always play out so neatly.. Dreams, desires, ego, family , relationships, pasts , finances and do I dare say, etcetera happen? Every person cannot embrace. People have stuff. So, while I am grateful and borderline ecstatic …I never had to make this choice. I chose not to choose. And, because, Judah is the most glorious, life altering thing that has ever happened to me, I want to grab a megaphone and shout “choose it choose it.”….but I can’t. Bobby and I chose it. We fought through our tears and grief-stricken ache. We rose above it to unbelievable elation…but we picked it. We agreed on the pumpkin, plucked it from it’s patch and proudly post pictures of all his exquisiteness. How can someone else pick it? Only we know the turmoil that we fought through to get to where we are now. We love this boy with every cell, in every organ, of our very being, and we love this lovely life we’re building…but we can’t elect anyone else’s life the same way we wouldn’t pick their pumpkin.
Truth be told, when I convinced myself that my baby had Down Syndrome early on, we had “the talk.” Bobby was all good, all in. Cut and dry, a life’s a life. I weebeled. I wobbled. I probably procrastinated with purpose. But what if I didn’t? What if I made the choice to be the one who chose? Bobby and spoke of these what if’s last night. Not as in what would we do without JuJu. I think it’s pretty clear how crazy in love we are with this human We would be losing out on so much without him…but, what could’ve happened to our marriage? There would have been possible regret there. Resentment might have shown up. The kind that sticks around like that last pile of snow in April. The kind that could start a crack in the wall, the kind that could ruin everything….and that’s when there is love involved.
Well, now think about he repercussions when the government appoints you your choice, when the decision doesn’t come from a conversation but rather a mandate? It worries me.
I’ve read and read and read on the topic. I’ve spent late nights googling and getting the information right. Because, frankly, I need to do this subject justice. There are many people who read my words and I prefer not to piss anyone off. Also, I want to be a voice of information and joy. I never intend to shake a finger.
Okay. So, here’s the meat and potatoes of the meal. It seems that this law HB-135 is pretty much unenforceable and the woman herself cannot actually get in trouble; just the Dr performing it. For the Dr. its a felony. It kind of makes my above point tongueless, tongueless but true. North Dakota already has a similar law, however, it applies to all genetic disabilities not just Down Syndrome. Nevertheless, this law has proven to be unprosecuted. First off, a woman can just claim she doesn’t intend to keep her baby for a different reason, besides genetics. Also, because of the only law I actually remember from high school; Roe vs. Wade. This is a federal law, therefore, allowing women to just travel to a different state. So why? That’s what I kept asking myself. Why is there so much trouble going into a law that cannot be carried out? My first heartwarming thought was a political environment so warm and fuzzy that it was finally ready to embrace all of God’s creatures and treat them equally. To my dismay, I found out something quite different. The people who are making this law are using it to slowly poke holes in the infamous Roe vs. Wade case. They think if enough holes are poked, maybe they can see straight through to the other side. This might be what hurt me most as I dug for answers. Lives like my baby Judah’s aren’t so much being validated….they are more like a political pawn. Ouch!!!
To make matters worse? A beautiful NEW law called the: Pro-Information Law, is unraveling because of this. The pro-information law, which was born in just 2014 , sets out to do just as it’s name suggests. It is to tell those with a new diagnosis about all of Down Syndrome’s components; correctly. It was only a couple of years ago when Dr.’s were telling women that their child would have no life, that a child with Down Syndrome would in fact be a burden. Crazy right? This law serves to inform and to not push abortion (which still happens quite often even though it’s illegal.) This case personifies “knowledge is power” and it’s being bullied by an authoritative voice that is making decisions for us. It seems that by taking away the information piece and replacing it with a requirement, we are actually be making matters worse not better……and oh, it was starting to feel so much better.
Well, I must step down from my soap box for now. If you need me, I’ll be fighting the good fight. Helping people to accept and love others with all abilities. I won’t be doing it through intimidation and mandates. Instead I choose to enlighten others through a peek into Judah just being Judah…and he is a force much bigger than law. That I have seen with my very own pumpkin picking eyes.