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Monday, 29 November 2010

Changing vocabulary instead of saving lives

In the USA, the term "mental retardation" has now been replaced by "intellectual disability". Good: but it would be more convincing if children with trisomy were actually allowed to live.

Leticia Velasquez is a co-founder of Keep Infants with Down Syndrome, has written for MercatorNet, pointing out that drawing a new word from the thesaurus, while welcome in itself, is a hollow gesture if we continue to abort most children with trisomy. She says:
My point is this; if an entire class of people, those with three sets of the 21st chromosome, are routinely targeted for destruction -- at a scandalous rate of 90 per cent -- can merely changing the term we use to describe those 10 per cent who escape the net increase respect for their human dignity and intrinsic value to society in a meaningful way? Isn’t a more fundamental change required before having a child with Down syndrome goes from being the greatest fear of pregnant women to being widely accepted by society?
She also reports the puzzlement of a psychiatrist who travelled to Ireland and noticed far more people with Downs syndrome than he was used to. Eventually he realised that this was because abortion is not allowed in Ireland and so children with trisomy are by and large casually accepted in everyday life.

See: No more “mental retardation”. So?
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