Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 29, 2008
Palin's celebrating Trig celebrates life
Candidate's front page family serves as a stellar prolife model
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has shaken the political, social and bioethical elites in America. Palin is a Christian and pro-life. She lives by the conviction that all human life is sacred and needs protection in order to flourish.
We saw this in her 2007 decision to continue her pregnancy after discovering the baby she was carrying had Down syndrome. Sarah and husband Todd named their baby boy Trig.
Shortly after his birth, Sarah wrote:
“Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for a good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”
A blessed baby
Baby Trig is now five months old and the Palins take him everywhere. We see him behind Sarah on the campaign trail as she delivers speeches. Sarah proudly poses with baby Trig for audiences and cameras.
In a time when 80 per cent of pregnancies involving a Down syndrome baby end in abortion, the Palin family is a shining witness to the innate value of every human life.
I hope the Palins’ example will encourage other couples faced with a pregnancy involving a Down child (or other disabilities). I hope they find a place of welcome in their families and let their special needs child be born. Unfortunately others fear this possibility.
Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), told The Globe and Mail he is concerned that the Palins’ example might affect other women who must be free to choose abortion or life for their babies.
What?! How does the Palins’ decision to welcome their special needs baby into the world hamper other families from choosing to abort theirs? Lalonde is quoted as saying, “The worry is that this may have an implication for abortion issues in Canada.”
Although Lalonde doesn’t come out and say it, he seems concerned that the Palins’ example might lead other couples to give their disabled babies life rather than death.
Prenatal testing for abnormalities has become so sophisticated and non-invasive that last year the SOGC issued guidelines recommending that screening be made available to all pregnant women, not just those over 35.
It prompted fears in the Down syndrome community that increased numbers of women would opt for abortion. The Down syndrome community maintains that many medical professionals paint a bleak picture for parents expecting a Down baby. This instills undue fears that their child will be a burden on their marriages and families.
Advice to abort
Krista Flint of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society told The Globe and Mail, “We know overwhelmingly the message families get is ‘Don’t have this baby, it will ruin your life.’”
Dr. Lalonde and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada maintain doctors provide balanced and unbiased information. Lalonde said doctors offer women the choice: “We try to be as unbiased as possible.”
My problem with Lalonde’s position is that it’s hard to believe Canadians are so prejudiced against the disability of Down syndrome that 80 per cent choose to abort their Down baby without negative influence such as the Down Syndrome Society of Canada claims.
Palin made a revealing comment about her understanding of the value of her disabled son. In the early days after Trig was born, she said, “I’m looking at him right now, and I see perfection.”
Human perfect is not physical; it’s spiritual.
I have never met a person with Down syndrome who was unhappy. I have never met parents or family with a Down syndrome member who found it an unbearable burden. Every family with a Down syndrome member I’ve spoken to say their loved one with Down syndrome blessed them and gave them joy.
Why were we put on planet Earth? The purpose of our existence is not acquisition of material things or to seek pleasure. Our purpose is to know and love God and to love our neighbour (other people) with Christ-like love. Isn’t this the substance of the greatest commandment (Matthew 22.37-40)?
I believe God uses special needs children like baby Trig and other profound disabilities to call humanity to a higher standard of love.
Perhaps this is the source of perfection Palin saw when she looked into the face of her sleeping Down syndrome baby. Down syndrome people have so much to teach you and me. Are we ready and willing to learn from them?
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