who is worried about his baby suffering.
Crossposting back here.
Speaking as a high functioning autistic- it was the linking of autism and Trisimony 18 as an argument FOR therapeutic abortion in the case of genetic disease that led me to be pro-life, I have a message for EVERYBODY out there who thinks like this man’s friend: A bad childhood is better than no childhood at all. I had a *very* rough childhood. And nobody knew why. Heck, my specific mental diagnosis wasn’t even in the DSM until revision 4 in 1994, and by then I was 24 years old. I didn’t receive my diagnosis until I was 30. EVERY human being has something to contribute- even those materialists see as “disabled” because “they will spend more than they earn” over their lifetimes. Some of my best friends have Down’s Syndrome. It’s too late to sign up for this year, but to all readers in Oregon I strongly support the Archdiocese of Portland Office for People With Disabilities, and their retreat, Journey Together in Hope. Please pray for me and my family later this month as we take this journey. http://www.archdpdx.org/opd
In his book Peasant of the Garonne, the philosophic essayist Jacques Maritain cited an essay by his wife Raïssa, who wrote: “If [God] could transform [a suffering human] nature into His own by abolishing the law of suffering and death, He would abolish it — because He takes no pleasure in the spectacle of pain and death. But He cannot abolish any law inscribed in being.”
This question keeps coming up: Is it better to exist, or not to exist? The question seems like an easy one–of course it’s better to exist!–but I say it defies an easy answer. It extends well beyond the abortion debate. It comes down to whether we should, I suppose, feel “sorry” for the nonconceived — that is, would-be people who were never born, not because they were aborted but because they weren’t conceived in the first place. If we believe it’s better to exist, then should we not feel sorry for those who never existed? But how can we feel sorry for something that never existed? In that case, shouldn’t we feel a bit hostile to those (non-clergy) who choose not to reproduce? I’m glad I exist. But if I had never been conceived, would anyone miss me? How could they? Would I mind not existing? The me who DOES exist prefers existence to non-existence, sure, but a me that had never existed would, by definition be unable to have a preference. So when someone says, “a bad childhood is better than no childhood,” that statement may be fine as far as abortion goes. But the “friend” in the original post was not advocating abortion; he was advocating (as a choice only for himself) non-fertilization. He simply chooses not to make babies (and let’s assume for argument’s sake that he makes this choice by living chastely). Are we to shun that? Are we to think of it as a shame? Or is it in fact a sin? Why?
Contraception isn’t perfect. When it fails, it leads to abortion.
But on a related note, I wasn’t talking about abortion either. I was talking specifically about *MY* childhood, and my diagnosis wasn’t known until I was 30. There was no way that abortion would have been possible in my case. And *STILL* I say that a bad childhood was better than no childhood at all. I am thankful for not being stillborn. I am thankful that my parents decided to have me. The same would be true of *any* person with *any* disability you care to ask. Including, because I have asked the question, of the low functioning ones.
It’s amazing how well somebody who can only point at pictures can communicate in this high tech era.
At the risk of seeming or even being unclassy by commenting twice here, I must say I’ve been quite interested in, and become highly opinionated about, the question Bob’s raised here. In my mind, “a nonexistent person” is a contradiction in terms, a “square circle”. Each of us IS an existence (sorry, Aquinas) — a radically contingent, not a necessary, existence — freely “invented” by God the Creator. To be sure, He didn’t thus freely “invent” either our specific human nature (which has its “intelligible necessities”) or our respective individual natures (determined largely by our genetic constitutions). But consider: although your bodily make-up is indeed extremely complex, is it not intuitively evident that you — your very self — are not any FEATURE or CHARACTER or MARK or NOTE, nor any ensemble of FACTORS? That you’re quite simply just you? So then, Why do you and not someone else look out from behind those eyes of yours? Why are they YOUR eyes? For absolutely no reason in NATURE. It thus appears evident (at least to me) that from that same individual ovum and that spermatozoon from which you, or I, somehow came, there could have come someone other than I, or than you; evident also, at the same stroke, that there is no necessity whatever for precisely ME, or for precisely YOU, to have come from ANY union of sperm and ovum. No, then: pity is for some lack in an existent person (and “existent person” is a redundant expression).
I have a daughter with DS. She Is new to the world, but I’m learning many of these people teach me how to suffer. None have seemed to view suffering as something they should be excused from. In fact, I’ve learned to accept my suffering better as a result. My daughter hasn’t had many of the sufferings associated with DS(heart defects, digestive problems), and she’s not so rare in the DS family. I find myself bristling at the assumption trisomy 21 automatically causes the individual some kind if special suffering. As I see it we are all faced with suffering of some sort, but that’s just life.