God’s Unmistaken CreationDecember 27, 2011
Author: By Kristal Dahlager
No single person possesses every skill or talent imaginable. To say that limitation equals weakness would mean that each person is weak. We are all created uniquely; thus, each person is necessary and valuable. If we existed without limitations, we would be self-sufficient and, therefore, no one would have value.
Our world would be a very different place if existence was measured by limitations. Our lives would be drastically void of what is often considered the very finest talent. For example, doctors advised the parents of singing sensation Susan Boyle to abort her because “they feared physical complications.”1 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s devotion to God and his football success would be nonexistent if his parents took the doctor’s advice to abort him.2 Further, we would not be blessed by renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli’s beautiful voice if his parents aborted him due to his possible disability.3
If a sliding scale of limitation measurement existed, I may not have the opportunity to share this story with you. On March 17, 1987, my mother went into labor with me. Due to complications, she was flown to a hospital better suited for my delivery. Upon arrival, the doctors performed several tests and determined I had heart problems, a mineral deficiency, my brains were in a mass at the base of my neck along with my spinal cord, and I had no arms or legs. If birthed naturally, my skull would be crushed due to the mineral deficiency, resulting in death. If the doctors performed a Cesarean section, I could live. Although highly discouraged bythe doctors, my mother chose the Cesarean. On March 18, 1987, I entered the world, and the doctors were wrong. My heart, brain, and spinal cord were intact. I also had arms and legs, but with limited range of motion. The doctors saw this abnormality as weakness. They recommended that my mother and father leave me in an institution. In the doctors’ opinions, I would never amount to anything. Again, they were wrong. I walked with the use of leg braces and arm crutches and continued on to earn a bachelor of science in statistics and actuarial science. By the grace of God, I currently attend Liberty University School of Law with hopes of becoming a business lawyer.
Contrary to popular belief, the term “disability” is not interchangeable with the term “weakness.” As misconceptions concerning disabilities spread throughout society, unborn children with disabilities become victims of targeted abortions. This article proposes that legislation be implemented to put an end to these targeted abortions.
For centuries, society has viewed persons with disabilities as less valuable than able-bodied persons. There is a misconception that they cannot economically contribute to society and they cause an undue burden on those who care for them. For example, Dr. Foster Kennedy’s4 thoughts on the life of a disabled person are as follows:
So the place for euthanasia, I believe, is for the completely hopeless defective: nature’s mistake: something we hustle out of sight, which should never have been seen at all. These should be relieved of the burden of living, because for them the burden of living at no time can produce any good thing at all … For us to allow them to continue such a living is sheer sentimentality, and cruel too; we deny them as much solace as we give our stricken horse. Here we may most kindly kill, and have no fear of error.5
Doctors with beliefs like Kennedy ignore the opportunities to invest in the lives of those with disabilities.
It is the recognition of our Holy God’s unmistaken creation that beckons individuals to entrust their future to Him and choose life. My parents chose life. They changed to a different hospital soon after I was born. At the new hospital, I was under the care of a doctor who believed in my potential and because of his work with me, I am here today with a high level of functionality.
My initial doctors were neither willing to invest the time in, nor saw the value in saving and cultivating my life. Fortunately, my parents and my new doctor fought for me. What about those who do not have caring parents or the ability to change doctors? Who believes in and fights for them? In law, even the most indigent person has the right to representation through a public defender. One could commit the worst crime and still have representation. The law fights for the criminal, why not make the law fight for the innocent life targeted for abortion based on disability? One human being should not be given the right to determine whether a human life is more or less valuable than another. If doctors do not regard these lives as significant, then legislation needs to protect those unborn lives.
Fortunately, people are beginning to notice a need for protecting unborn children with disabilities. Kansas House committee passed a bill February 18, 2011, that restricts abortions after twenty-two weeks due to fetuses’ ability to experience pain.6 Nevertheless, efforts were made to amend the bill by suggesting a provision that allowed women to abort after twenty-two weeks when there is a fetal defect. Thankfully, Republicans on the committee did not allow this exception, attempting to protect unborn children with disabilities. Every individual, irrespective of talent, has purpose from the Lord. Someone else’s limitations may in fact be the very gift that blesses your life in a manner that makes your life complete.
1 Peter J. Smith, Susan Boyle: Docs Told Mum to Abort Me, LIFESITENEWS.COM (Oct. 15, 2010, 11:15 AM), http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/oct/10101512.
2 Doctors Told Tim Tebow’s Mom to Abort Tim Tebow, MARY’S ANAWIM (Aug. 2, 2009, 9:15 AM), http://marysanawim.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/doctor-told-tim-tebows-mom-to-abort-tim-tebow.
3 John Hooper, Tenor’s Story Acclaimed by Anti-Abortion Campaigners: Andrea Boccelli Recounts How His Mother Decided Not to Terminate the Pregnancy and then He was Born, THE GUARDIAN (June 10, 2010), http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/10/andrea-bocelli-abortion-italy.
4 See generally Robert Foster Kennedy, The Problem of Social Control of the Congenital Defective: Education, Sterilization, Euthanasia, 99 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 13 (1942).
5 Carol J. Gill, Health Professionals, Disability, and Assisted Suicide: An Examination of Relevant Empirical Evidence and Reply to Batavia, 6 PHYCHOL. PUB. POL’Y & L. 526, 531 (2003).
6 Deb Gruver, House Panel OKs Abortion Bill, WICHITA EAGLE (Feb. 19, 2011), http://www.kansas.com/2011/02/19/1727347/house-panel-oks-abortion-bill.html#ixzz1GJ7N6nnP.