Canadian Doctors Group Worried Palin Example Could Pressure Some Women to Not Abort Down’s Child
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
TORONTO, September 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s loving and highly-publicized acceptance of her Down’s syndrome child Trig has at least one prominent Canadian doctor worried that her example may lead to mothers shunning abortion after diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.
According to the Globe and Mail, Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), is worried that Palin’s decision to give birth to Trig, despite knowing about his condition, could influence other women in similar situations, but who lack the financial and emotional support that Palin had access to.
"The worry is that this will have an implication for abortion issues in Canada," he said.
Citing his concern for women’s "freedom to choose", Lalonde said that popular examples about women like Palin, who choose not to kill their unborn children, could have negative effects on women and their families, reported the Globe.
However, Lalonde said that doctors in Canada give balanced information about the consequences of the condition to pregnant women with a Down’s child, and that women are not necessarily encouraged to abort. "We offer the woman the choice. We try to be as unbiased as possible," Lalonde said. "We’re coming down to a moral decision and we all know moral decisions are personal decisions."
Krista Flint, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, however, disagreed with Lalonde’s claim that pregnant women are given balanced information about the condition: "Many of the country’s medical professionals only give messages of fear to parents who learn their baby will be born with the genetic condition."
The statistics for abortion amongst Down’s children in Canada are stark: according to some estimates 80-90% of Canadian children with Down’s syndrome are aborted.
"It’s very dark," Flint said in the Globe and Mail report. "They hear a lot about the medical conditions that are sometimes associated with Down syndrome. They hear about the burden . . . it places on children and a marriage."
"They hear about things like shortened life expectancy. They hear a lot about the challenges of a life with Down syndrome. That’s why Mrs. Palin has become an example that could possibly stem the tide of families who abort fetuses after a positive determination for Down syndrome," Ms. Flint said.
"We know overwhelmingly the message families get is ‘Don’t have this baby, it will ruin your life,’ and I don’t think people would look at Sarah Palin and see a ruined life," Ms. Flint said. "Regardless of politics, I think it’s a good example."
According to Physicians for Life between 84 percent and 91 percent of babies with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S. While this figure is similar in Canada, it is even higher in England and Spain where 94 percent and 95 percent of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com articles:
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Palin calls her baby born last week with Down Syndrome a "gift"