I have noticed a certain cognitive dissonance in the online autism community on the issue of abortion. For the most part it seems that abortion is okay unless the individual to be aborted was selected for termination based on their genetic profile. Armed with the knowledge that upwards of 90% of babies who test positive for Down Syndrome are aborted autistic advocates and advocates for autistic individuals rightly fear the development of prenatal tests to detect the potential for autism.
The post I linked to above generated the following comment that illustrates the conflict between wanting to protect the life and rights of the unborn autistic individual and wanting to continue abortion on demand:
...you've highlighted how the abortion issue flies smack dab into the eugenics debate. I have been struggling with this ever since my son was dx with autism, and since following the opinions of the [Autism] Hub's loudest anti-cure, anti-prenatal testing, anti-eugenics bloggers.
How can one argue against eugenics and anti-prenatal test (anti-cure), while at the same time continue to support abortion (pro-choice is the PC term)?
I am sensing the same confusion in political and autism/special ed/disability blogs. The same "what if rape/incest" is a tired, old (and I'd predict rare) argument.
As a *modern* woman, I used to vote solely on the abortion issue alone (Supreme Court appointees). Now, as a mother, I cannot bring myself to support the Dem party.
I'm with you on McCain/Palin and switched my voter registration this week.
I'm not so conflicted. Abortion has always been the worst possible choice in my view. This is why Sarah Palin has so much appeal. She could have quietly aborted her child like so many women do but she didn't. That's a powerful message about the worth of a human life to her and the people who influenced her.
In a related post ABFH notes that over turning Roe v Wade wouldn't put a stop to abortions particularly those of individuals with disabilities:
That leaves us with the question: If we can't put a stop to selective abortion by legislating it out of existence, how can we protect the next generation of autistic children from being routinely aborted? To find the answer, I believe we need to look at parents' reasons for choosing abortion when they are told their child will have a disability. Most parents who opt to abort are not selfish monsters who just don't want to be bothered with the child; rather, they agonize over the decision and then conclude that abortion is for the best because the child likely would never have an independent and fulfilling life.
And they're not just relying on outdated prejudices and stereotypes in thinking so. It is a fact that people with disabilities face many barriers to independent living in today's society—lack of community services and housing options, in particular, and widespread employment discrimination. These are issues that can be addressed effectively through the political process. When we remove the barriers and build a society in which all people are empowered to live as equal participants in the community, regardless of disability, the rationale for selective abortion disappears.
While we have different political bents on this we agree. Treating people of all abilities with equal respect and value is what we should be striving for.