Would you abort if your baby had a genetic disease?

That's such a difficult question, right? I'm all for women having the right to chose what they want to do with their bodies, but I'm not sure I'd been able to go through with an abortion if I'd been told there was a possibility that either one of my kids could be born with a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome, for example. That's why I decided against having an amniocentesis the two times I was pregnant, even though my risks were higher as I was well over 30 years old. Then again, nothing else pointed to the possibility of having a baby with a genetic abnormality, so I felt like I didn't have much to worry about. 

But then, I read stories like that of mom Emily Rapp and I have to ask myself the question again. Ronan--Rapp's 2-year-old son who has a deadly degenerative disease called Tay-Sachs--is blind, paralyzed, nonresponsive and constantly suffering from seizures that make him turn blue and stop breathing. 


There's no cure for this disorder and so this little angel will eventually die. The suffering is unbearable, according to Rapp, for both him and his family. And so, while she doesn't regret being a mom to him for one minute, she wouldn't have had him if she had know he'd have Tay-Sachs before he was born. 

"I'm so grateful that Ronan is my child. I also wish he'd never been born; no person should suffer in this way--daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain--with no hope for a cure," Rapp said in an article she wrote for Slate earlier this week. 

I can only imagine. And I have to say that when you look at it from Rapp's point of view it's kind of hard to find a reason why it would be a wise decision to go ahead and have a child like hers. Like any mother, I hate seeing my children sick, even when it's a stupid cold. Call me selfish, but I don't think I'd be able to handle seeing my child in pain day in and day out while we all waited for his impending death. 

So, would you abort to avoid having a child with a deadly degenerative disease, like Tay-Sachs, and not have to put him and yourself through the misery that your lives would be? 

In the end, no matter how you look at it, that's a loaded question and one that I think is impossible to answer unless you find yourself in that position. 

What do you think? Did you have prenatal testing for genetic diseases? Why?

Image via Rich Johnson/flickr

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