Decisions and Morality
No doubt, there are some who will tear their garments (to use the old biblical phrase) at the extremity of my beliefs — if only because they lack the power, for the time being, to tear my garments — but this paragraph from Mona Charen strikes me as ceding too much rhetorical ground (emphasis added):
Sarah Palin is no ordinary pro-lifer. She is an attractive, intelligent, ambitious, successful woman who has actually lived her convictions. Told that the baby she was carrying would be handicapped with Down syndrome, she and her husband made the only decision their consciences would permit — to welcome this child with the same love they would give to any other. That decision is comparatively rare in America. Fully 80 percent of parents who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome in their unborn children elect to abort. But it’s not unusual at all among committed pro-lifers. I have met many in the course of speaking to pro-life audiences. And for every couple that has chosen life for a handicapped child, there are thousands and perhaps millions more who have abjured prenatal testing because under no circumstances would they abort their children. I cannot count the times I’ve amazed pro-choice people with the news that there are even waiting lists of couples who stand ready to adopt Down syndrome babies.
The magnitude of ending the lives of one’s own children is not adequately expressed in terms of an option that ought to be beyond the bounds of a moral conscience. It’s not a decision; it’s an accession to the monstrous evil of a selfish era.
Charen further dilutes the point by making the Palins’ moral boundaries out to be “rare.” The factor to emphasize is that those who go so far as to seek a diagnosis regarding the mental capacity of their unborn children do so because they feel it will make some difference in how they proceed. I don’t know what percentage of parents opt for such tests, but I’d be surprised if, at the end of the tabulation, the numbers don’t fall right down the centerline of our society’s ideological divide.