I rarely post on the general forums re articles in our national newspaper The Globe and Mail. In fact, these forums are so ferocious as boards go, I use another name. This week I got slammed on posting about two major articles. That's okay, I've got broad shoulders! However, I thought it might be interesting to comment on them here as well.
The first article was about the Ontario Supreme Court striking down the recent addition to the Adoption Act. This addition allowed birth parents to locate their adopted children, and vice versa, freely with complete identification. The law was struck down on Constitutional grounds - the right to privacy.
Imagine my surprise when the usual liberal blatherers on this forum attacked this because of the prevailing belief in the "right of adopted children to know their heritage". Okay, before you throw tomatos at me, let me say that I have nothing against people knowing "their heritage". I *do*, however, have something to say about birth parents or siblings arriving on my doorstep to check on my adopted teenagers. I'm *thrilled* this law was eliminated, as I believe strongly in my right to privacy, and the privacy of my children.
My post on the forum was shot down by several sarcastic and nasty people who told me I was "insecure" and "paranoid" about whether or not my adopted children love me. Well, I know they love me, my husband, and we love them. We're just a regular family. :)
The reason I was protesting on the forum was to try and educate these lunatics: at adoption, adoptive parents are provided with as complete a file as possible on their child's birth family - right down to extended family, their "heritage" in terms of ethnicity, the facts surrounding their health at birth, the health of the birth family - even what city/town/county they came from. How is having this information not letting an adopted child "know their true heritage"??? I found it ludicrous.
We even know that my son's extended family members were good at woodworking. My son loves to do woodworking shop. Obviously, a talent passed on. If such detailed information is given at the time of adoption, I fail to see why birth parents/family should have the right to check on my address. They received just as detailed a dossier on us as a family, minus that kind of identifying information.
I say kudos to lawyer Clayton Ruby (a very controversial Canadian lawyer) who worked hard to have this law struck on Constitutional grounds. My children know "their heritage". Every adoption is different - the circumstances, the extent the birth family wants to be involved or not involved, and whether the records are sealed.
Am I insecure and paranoid? Nope - I just expect the laws of my country to protect my privacy and that of my family.
The second article had to do with genetic research. It stated that Geneticists are against using their research to screen pregnancies for rare diseases, or conditions such as Down Syndrome. In this case, they were talking about Gaucher's disease - a common disease found in Eastern European Jews and their descendants, which is quite treatable. However, the number of abortions obtained by expecting parents who think they "can't cope" with this disease is scary.
"Selective abortion" in the case of multiple births is common knowledge. Every woman who "tests" positve for a Down Syndrome baby is given the option to abort. However, it's also common knowledge that these genetic tests done in utero are not infallible - whether for Downs, Gauchers, or spina bifida. And yet thousands of women abort in the fear of having an "abnormal" child.
So, I got on my soapbox (anyone who regularly reads this blog knows I have one!) and protested that the Nazis murdered thousands of "mentally retarded" and "mentally ill" people, while they were busy gassing Jews. They also murdered as many gay people, or people accused of being gay, as they could get their hands on. People were outraged, once the Nazis started zeroing in on those with brown hair and brown eyes. They ignored the suffering Jews and the above people, until the Nazis started rounding up those who didn't have blonde hair and blue eyes. And yet, what were the Nazis practising? "Selective cleansing" based on genetics.
My point? If we start using genetic testing in utero, we're playing God and deciding what's "normal", what's "appropriate", and who can or can't "cope" with various medical conditions their child may have. Who's to say a person who's disabled can't have a full and worthwhile life? Hello, Steven Hawkins!
Should society project fear on to parenthood? Should we allow ourselves to be brainwashed that it's not "possible" to cope with various medical situations that may rear their heads when our babies are born? Are we that weak? Are we so used to being pushed around by our governments that we can't think for ourselves at all?
Rhetorical questions. If the geneticists in Canada are afraid of the ethical use of their research, then society should take note, and doctors should do some serious thinking before they counsel parents to abort what may or may not be a healthy fetus. We're not God, and we can't predict the future happiness and well-being of a child who may be born with some kind of "defect". If people are so unwilling to accept anything less than a "perfect" baby, I suggest new parents look in the mirror and decide whether their less than "perfect" medical history would have been grounds for aborting them. (cancer, anyone? high blood pressure? heart disease in the family?)
Instead of testing pregnancies already in progress, it makes more sense to test a couple's DNA before they create a baby. If there's problems with their DNA combining, that's the time to find out. Not when mom is carrying a four month old fetus.
Okay, off my soapbox now!