Abortion and the disabled

I must have missed this part of Senator Brownback's speech yesterday from the Roberts confirmation hearing. I'm posting it here in case any of you missed it as well. Emphasis is all mine.
And I want to take another point on that to tell you -- we talked a lot about the disability community, and well we should, and the protection needed for the disability community. And that's important, because I think it really helps people that need help, but it helps the rest of us to be much more human and caring.

Senator Kennedy is helping me with a bill because a number of children never get here that have disabilities. Unborn children prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome and other disabilities -- I don't know if you know this, but there was a recent analysis, and 80 percent to 90 percent of children prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome never get here -- never get here. They're aborted in the system.

And people just say: Look, this child's got difficulties. And we even have waiting lists in America of people, today, willing to adopt children with Down's Syndrome. And we will protect that child -- as well we should, under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other issues -- when they get here.

But so much of the time, and with our increased ability of genetic testing, they don't get here. Diagnosed in the womb, system that encourages this child to be destroyed at that stage -- and this is all in the records.

And we are the poorer for it as a society.

All the members of this body know a young man with Down's Syndrome named Jimmy. Maybe you've met him, even. He runs the elevator that takes the senators up and down on the Senate floors. His warm smile welcomes us every day. We're a better body for him.

He told me the other day -- he frequently gives me a hug in the elevator afterwards. I know he does Senator Hatch often, too, who kindly gives him ties, some of which I question the taste of, Orrin...


... but he kindly gives ties.

HATCH: It doesn't have to get personal...


BROWNBACK: And Jimmy said to me the other day after he hugged me; he said "Shhh, don't tell my supervisor. They're telling me I'm hugging too many people."


BROWNBACK: And, yet, we're ennobled by him and what he does and how he lifts up our humanity and 80 to 90 percent of the kids in this country like Jimmy never get here.

What does that do to us? What does that say about us. And I would just ask you, Judge Roberts, to consider -- and probably you can't answer here today, whether the individuals with disabilities have the same constitutional rights that you and I share while they're in the womb.

ROBERTS: Well, Senator, I appreciate your thoughts on the subject very much. I do think, though, since those precise questions could come before the courts that that is in the area that I have to refrain from answering.

BROWNBACK: Now, I just hope one thinks about people like Jimmy and a system, now, that scientifically can figure out the nature of this child's physical or mental state at an early point and is having many of them destroyed at that point in time. And that's taking place in our country today.

Brownback was totally playing on people's emotions and sense of moral outrage but he posed some very good questions that we need to ask ourselves. What does it say about our society that we are so willing to dispose of the weakest and most defenseless among us? Those who most need our help and protection? Do the unborn have any constitutional rights?


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