Here is an interesting news item this week from Thailand about an Australian couple that traveled to Thailand to use a surrogate mother. The Thai mother had twins and was prepared to give the children to the foreign couple but then things got murky. The boy was born with Down syndrome, but the girl was born healthy. Surprisingly, the girl is now in Australia with the couple, but the boy has been left behind with the Thai surrogate mother. So why was the boy left behind? This is when the story becomes very interesting. According to the Australian couple, they were never told about the boy, according to the Thai surrogate mother, the foreign couple did not want the boy because he had Down syndrome. The Thai woman claims the Australian couple tried to pressure her into having an abortion and never paid her the money they promised. And today, it is being reported that the Australian father is a convicted pedophile to add another twist to this tragedy.
This story is a lot to digest, but I want to look at one specific thing that bothers me about this article. Why does our society care? That is the first thing that irritated me when I first read the story. The national media is up in arms because this family supposedly abandoned their child because he has Down syndrome. In fact, over 200,000 dollars has been raised to help this Thai mother take care of the child because he has some medical issues. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying because as Christians we should care. As Christians we value life and believe every life, regardless of how society views him or her, is a part of fulfilling God’s plan. But I still come back to the question of why are non-believers, our society, suddenly taking the approach that babies with disabilities need to be protected? If this surrogate mother was forced to have the child when she wanted an abortion, then the story would be completely different. Why do we care as a society about helping this child when before his birth, we would have openly supported a couple choosing to abort the child because he has Down syndrome? That is the problem for me. When it is a matter of “choice”, like a an expectant mother, then an unborn child does not matter, but when that child suddenly emerges into the world, we are angry if the parents abandoned the child. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be enraged that this couple does not want a child with Down syndrome, but then be fully supportive if the surrogate mother had supposedly honored the couple’s wishes and had an abortion when they discovered the extra chromosome. Regardless of religious beliefs, there is something wrong when a society believes a human life is important at 23 weeks of development but not at 24 weeks of development.
When considering an abortion, a woman might find herself asking, "How late can you get an abortion?" In the United States, the answer to that question is most often based on viability, which is generally 24 weeks. Source Link
Let me close by saying this perplexes me about our society. If you support people having abortions when disabilities are discovered then don’t get upset when parents abandoned a child with disabilities. All disabilities are not detectable during pregnancy and the ones that are, can be inaccurate. I am glad this story is gaining national attention and I am glad this young man is getting the support he needs to survive in this world. But let’s consider, as a society, to help children with Down syndrome before a magical developmental number. If we really care about people with Down syndrome, lets start caring when a couple abandons a child AND when a couple tells a doctor they want to end a pregnancy because of an extra chromosome.