The other night I had the local news on while doing some bookwork. I was only half paying attention to a report on the technological advances in prenatal testing of fetuses for birth defects. The reporter was very impressed by the ability of these medical "advances" to ferret out the slightest oddities, the most detrimental being Down Syndrome. Slowly, I began to pay attention and then I started to get sick as the piece featured a young couple, parents of one toddler and currently pregnant with baby #2, who availed themselves of a less invasive procedure, which measured the angle of the ear on the fetus via ultrasound. Here I sat, watching an expert in the field of prenatal testing, showing the viewers how the ear of a very developed baby is measured.
“Dr. Norman Ginsberg with Reproductive Genetics Institute did a detailed exam of the angle of the fetus' ear. ‘We know that Down syndrome children have low set ears and they're posteriorly rotated, which means they are turned back,’ Ginsberg said.”
How does any human being, staring at the very vivid ultrasound, determine that if that child’s ear is set wrong, he should be aborted? Yet, this man and woman, very calmly went through the process of all the testing.
“For the Jemseks, the ear screen offered an extra level of comfort early in the pregnancy but they still decided to go forward with more traditional definitive tests. The Jemseks learned everything is fine.”
Fine for whom? I was chilled to the bone knowing that the test could have resulted in a death sentence for that baby. This brings me to the inspiration for this post. The first link is to this story of prenatal testing. The second link is to a story about a young man who is living a quality life in spite of his “birth defect” providing us with the reminder that no one is perfect. Everyone should have the opportunity to reach for the highest level of accomplishment possible according to the gifts with which they have been blessed.
The relative fragility of masculine identity
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