Outraged | Still Playing School


By Devany | Labels: ,
I just read this article via a friend's share on Facebook.  In it, Rick Santorum's opinions of prenatal testing and the funding of such tests are brought into question. I am shaking right now because I am so opposed to his views. A commenter says that USA Today reports that Santorum objected to including some prenatal tests in federal insurance mandates, saying the tests lead to more abortions.

"A lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero, and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions," he said. "We know that 90% of Down syndrome children in America are aborted." At a campaign event over the weekend in Columbus, Ohio, he said the tests effectively "cull the ranks of the disabled in our society."

My views on abortion have been vastly colored by my pregnancy and choice to carry V to term.  I was always pro-choice, because I don't feel that it's my right to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their own body.  That being said, I wouldn't, couldn't, and didn't choose to "terminate" V when presented with that option even when all the medical professionals told us she was "incompatible with life" and described in detail what it would look like as she died in our arms.  Mr. Santorum, they STILL never suggested we should abort, so you are WRONG.  But now that I think of all the other families in our situation, I FIRMLY believe that terminations should be allowed, whether a mother's life is in danger or not, because the emotional pain we endured in grieving V before she was gone was TORTURE.  It was our choice, I don't regret it for a second,I would do it all over again, but would I have survived psychologically if I didn't have the support of my amazing husband, family, and friends?  No.

But let's cast aside the whole abortion debate for a minute.  Santorum is saying that our insurance, which was not cushy to any stretch of the imagination, should have the choice to DENY the testing we had done to discover V's diagnosis because it MIGHT make us choose to abort.  Yeah, it may have.  Can I tell you what it did instead?  It allowed me to line up to have photographers on hand to record our precious days with V and E together, the only ones we'll ever have as a complete family.  Ultrasounds warned us to prepare our families for the worst.  An amnio prompted my friends to rally around me and support us in ways I didn't even dream imaginable.  A visit with a pediatric cardiologist laid out exactly how much time, at most, we could expect with V.  Definitive pre-natal testing gave us the strength, the time, the courage, the resources, and the hope that we could wrap our heads and hearts around this tragedy and survive it, even if V couldn't.

As a fellow trisomy parent, I am ashamed of Santorum's views.  Unfortunately, not all of us are as lucky as the Santorums have been regarding their daughter Bella who has Trisomy 18.  We don't all get years with our babies.  Some of us get days, hours, minutes.  We deserve the right to know an accurate 100% diagnosis of our babies in utero when available so that we can prepare for our time with them, no matter how brief.


  1. Beautifully written, Dev.

  2. Mom to Devany and Nana to E and VFebruary 22, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    I can only hope that somehow Mr. Santorum gets to read this blog and realize that there are other outcomes and options to testing. He is being VERY narrow minded about this situation. We are so lucky that we could prepare for this time with Violet and rally around the daughter and her husband and granddaughters whom we love so much. It is not always the same outcome....I got to hold my dear little granddaughter and tell her that I love her.....that made the actually losing of her just a little more bearable.

  3. Oh, my sweet friend, I'm so glad that you wrote this - so clearly, so eloquently - I think you should forward it to at least a newspaper. We didn't uncover all of Nathaniel's conditions until I was 36 - 38 weeks pregnant. And while Oregon is one of the states that allows termination of pregnancy at any stage of gestation, it was never suggested by our doctors, and we didn't pursue it. Had we known earlier in our pregnancy, would we have terminated? I honestly don't know. It wouldn't have been an "easier" loss. It just would have been a different loss. I know several people who have gone through medical terminations, and they all speak of the devastating loss and the heartbreak of losing a child. And, they're making the best decisions for their families.

    I am so glad that I had Nathaniel. He is my youngest son. Santorum's position does not support families who are all trying to make difficult, and devastating, decisions.

    So much love to you -


  4. This is so touching, and so clear and persuasive.