A Washington Post writer’s column addressing abortion of babies with Down syndrome has garnered much attention over the weekend because the woman behind it, Ruth Marcus, the deputy editorial page editor for the Post, said women “need” the right to abort babies with Down syndrome.
The column, titled, “I would’ve aborted a fetus with Down syndome (sic). Women need that right,” was published late Friday.
What did Marcus claim?
Marcus began her column by bashing a recent effort to outlaw abortion of babies determined prior to birth to have Down syndrome. Laws banning the abortions have been passed in several states, including in Ohio, Louisiana, North Dakota and Indiana.
“These laws are unconstitutional, unenforceable — and wrong,” Marcus declared.
Marcus said she “respects” and “admires” families who “knowingly welcome a baby with Down syndrome into their lives,” but wrote that if she would have discovered during her two pregnancies that her children had Down syndrome, then she would have killed the babies. That is the point of prenatal testing, she claimed.
“I can say without hesitation that, tragic as it would have felt and ghastly as a second-trimester abortion would have been, I would have terminated those pregnancies had the testing come back positive. I would have grieved the loss and moved on,” she wrote.
“And I am not alone. More than two-thirds of American women choose abortion in such circumstances. Isn’t that the point — or at least inherent in the point — of prenatal testing in the first place?” she added.
Then Marcus admittedly got blunt.
“I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted. That was not the choice I would have made. You can call me selfish, or worse, but I am in good company. The evidence is clear that most women confronted with the same unhappy alternative would make the same decision,” she wrote.
The Washington Post staffer went on to argue that women already have the right to abort babies, whether they have Down syndrome or not, and that right should be re-affirmed continually, not restricted just because an unborn baby has Down syndrome.
Marcus admitted that “technological advances in prenatal testing pose difficult moral choices about what, if any, genetic anomaly or defect justifies an abortion,” but ended the column stating “that these excruciating choices be left to individual women, not to government officials who believe they know best.”