Every life has equal worth. However, not all lives are treated with dignity. For instance, society commonly favors the lives of non-disabled people over disabled people. This preference even appears in the debate about the legality of abortions. A common argument pro-choicers pose is that a woman should get an abortion if she is not comfortable bearing and/or raising a child with disabilities. An abortion would be better than birthing an unwanted child into this world, correct? I would argue otherwise.
Financial issues are still prevalent in today’s economy. Admittedly, raising a disabled child does require additional expenses than it would raising a non disabled child. However, abortion should not be posed as the best answer to a parent’s financial troubles. Abortions are a band aid solution to poverty. A better alternative would be improving the safety net for guardians. Perhaps then fewer people would feel it is financially obligatory to terminate pregnancies.
The most discussed disability in the debate is Down Syndrome (DS). Iceland recently announced they have an extremely low percentage of citizens with DS. In the article What kind of society do you want to live in?: Inside the country where Down Syndrome is disappearing, Julian Quinones and Arijeta Lajka from CBS News reported the cause. Icelandic mothers get prenatal screenings and get abortions after finding the child has DS. This is upsetting for various reasons. One justification for abortion is that kids with DS are likelier to get put in and stay in the foster care system; Abortion would end any chance of possible emotional suffering. However, ableism is the underlying issue. People with DS and other disabilities are as valuable as people without disabilities, and should be viewed as such.
The rights of disabled people is close to my heart. I personally have a speaking impediment, which has led to me sometimes being treated differently. I do not want sympathy, but my past has influenced my political beliefs. The existence of disabled people should not be used to justify abortion; our lives have meaning too.
[Today’s guest post by Angelica Del Pilar is part of our paid blogging program.]