I decided I would tell the girls about the tests and their possible outcomes and that they’d know what my husband and I would decide to do with the information. It would quite possibly be a sad, but teachable moment about choice. Yes, we know disabled people can lead productive happy lives. But he and I agreed we’d terminate a fetus with genetic defects. Why? Not because we’re crazed perfectionists, or evil. We’re just too old. . . . This special-needs child would be a special-needs adult with a long life ahead when we died. After my grandmother died, I watched my aunt with Down syndrome move between her sisters for more years than she’d had a mother. Our daughters would automatically be made into their sibling’s keepers. I always wanted three children, but we’d be giving them a lifetime of responsibility for a decision we made to indulge ourselves in having another baby to fill our emptying nest.
It didn’t come to an abortion. I miscarried. I was dreading the need for the possible procedure, but I am grateful for the access to it. I wasn’t raped, the victim of incest, nor was my life in danger, yet. I might have decided to risk my health for a baby. But I was not willing to have an indelible effect on daughters’ futures by tethering them to a dependent sibling.
Which is a worse way to treat your children: to ensure that they will someday have obligations to their family members (and who doesn't?), or to teach them that any possible future obligations should be ruthlessly eliminated?
Imagine the horror of a "teachable moment" in which parents explain to their child that they got rid of her sibling for her sake. How would you even begin to deal with that?