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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 09:56 AM

12. An interesting read on the topic, generally

The Atlantic: The Last Children of Down Syndrome

We sat down at a café, and Grete gave her phone to Karl Emil to busy himself with while we spoke in English. He took selfies; his mother, sister, and I began to talk about Down syndrome and the country’s prenatal-screening program. At one point, Grete was reminded of a documentary that had sparked an outcry in Denmark. She reclaimed her phone to look up the title: Død Over Downs (“Death to Down Syndrome”). When Karl Emil read over her shoulder, his face crumpled. He curled into the corner and refused to look at us. He had understood, obviously, and the distress was plain on his face.

Grete looked up at me: “He reacts because he can read.”

“He must be aware of the debate?” I asked, which felt perverse to even say. So he’s aware there are people who don’t want people like him to be born? Yes, she said; her family has always been open with him. As a kid, he was proud of having Down syndrome. It was one of the things that made him uniquely Karl Emil. But as a teenager, he became annoyed and embarrassed. He could tell he was different. “He actually asked me, at some point, if it was because of Down syndrome that he sometimes didn’t understand things,” Grete said. “I just told him honestly: Yes.” As he’s gotten older, she said, he’s made his peace with it. This arc felt familiar. It’s the arc of growing up, in which our self-assuredness as young children gets upended in the storms of adolescence, but eventually, hopefully, we come to accept who we are.

The decisions parents make after prenatal testing are private and individual ones. But when the decisions so overwhelmingly swing one way—to abort—it does seem to reflect something more: an entire society’s judgment about the lives of people with Down syndrome. That’s what I saw reflected in Karl Emil’s face.

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Omaha Steve Nov 21 OP
bucolic_frolic Nov 21 #1
iluvtennis Nov 21 #22
Iggo Nov 21 #27
Freddie Nov 21 #2
heckles65 Nov 21 #10
cab67 Nov 21 #11
CTyankee Nov 21 #20
Ms. Toad Nov 21 #33
marble falls Nov 21 #3
Omaha Steve Nov 21 #7
marble falls Nov 21 #18
Hekate Nov 21 #4
mdbl Nov 21 #5
pazzyanne Nov 21 #8
area51 Nov 21 #9
pazzyanne Nov 21 #15
deurbano Nov 21 #21
pazzyanne Nov 21 #23
Tiger8 Nov 21 #19
DENVERPOPS Nov 21 #30
JI7 Nov 22 #38
CatLady78 Nov 21 #6
LineReply An interesting read on the topic, generally
Algernon Moncrieff Nov 21 #12
pnwmom Nov 21 #29
SunSeeker Nov 21 #31
Nay Nov 22 #36
roamer65 Nov 21 #13
JustABozoOnThisBus Nov 21 #16
roamer65 Nov 21 #28
JustABozoOnThisBus Nov 21 #34
Fla Dem Nov 21 #14
McCamy Taylor Nov 21 #17
RobinA Nov 21 #25
KWR65 Nov 21 #24
ChazII Nov 21 #26
Polybius Nov 21 #32
andym Nov 21 #35
TexasBushwhacker Nov 22 #37
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