You may wonder whether Down’s syndrome merely causes some mild mental deficiency that parental love and attention can address, but that is not the case. Down’s syndrome is the leading cause of “mental retardation.” Down’s syndrome makes every phase of life more difficult, both because of cognitive deficits and greater susceptibility to a variety of physical ailments. Down’s syndrome children develop motor skills very slowly, are at much higher risk of epilepsy and heart defects, and suffer disproproportionately from thyroid, vision, muscle, bone, joint, ear, nose and throat ailments.
School age Down’s children require “nonstop attention and help with their daily lives” and until they are from three to six years of age, require the same care and attention as an infant. Down’s syndrome adolescents reach puberty when “they’re mentally still a child.” Thus males “need to be guided on the appropriateness of masturbation in public,” and young Down’s women need extra help to understand the onset of the monthly period. Both sexes “grow just as fast as anyone else but become way more clumsy that the average.” As adults, “it is very hard to teach them their independence but it is possible” if you “get them in a daily routine.” Down’s people are fertile, have the same desire for love and affection as other people, and want to date and have sex.
Which leads to the next generation of difficulties, and in much higher proportion. A British website states: “Where one parent has Down’s syndrome, there is a 35% to 50% chance that the child would inherit the syndrome. This chance is even higher where both parents have Down’s syndrome.” Therefore, the site tactfully suggests, “they therefore need advice on, and access to, contraception.”
Under a Palin administration, assuming such a thing occurred, what was a choice for her – to give birth to a child with Down’s syndrome – would be a requirement for all people. Since the law applies to all equally, people with Down’s syndrome would have two choices – to “abstain” from sex, or to conceive children with a 50/50 chance of giving birth to children they would be unable to care for, economically or psychologically. Since Down’s syndrome adults need to be taught to masturbate in private, we may presume they are unlikely to be much drawn to abstinence. They would thus be free, nay, required to reproduce.
Currently, for every 1,000 babies born, one will have Down’s syndrome. Since government statistics, record slightly over 4,000,000 new births per year in this country. That means we added 4,000 people with Down’s syndrome in that year. If they all reproduce two children, half of them will have Down’s syndrome, that generation of Down’s syndrome adults will give birth to another 4,000 new Down’s syndrome babies by around 2035. Since, in 2036, we will have another 4,000, and in 2037, another 4,000, and so forth, even without doing the math very rigorously, we can estimate at least 120,000 new Down’s syndrome people in the population by around 2050. By that point, we will start adding, again doing the math rather shabbily, around 60,000 new Down’s syndrome people per year. Presumably, by the end of the 21st century, the number of people with Down’s syndrome will outnumber the normal people.
Now you might say that would never happen, but if Sarah Palin were our Decider, and appointed Supreme Court justice to decide things her way, this would be the natural outcome of making her religious belief our national health policy. She was able to choose to give birth to a child who will suffer from a congenital condition, but the law of this country was once quite hostile to such a “right.” Indeed, the conservative state of Virginia, and the United States Supreme Court both denied mentally retarded people even the right to conceive a child, finding that they could be sterilized against there will. A woman named Carrie Buck, who had been committed to a state institution after being raped by her nephew, was adjudged “promiscuous” and “feeble-minded,” ostensibly like her mother and grandmother, and was sentenced to be sterilized. The rape was swept under the rug by the family, and is not mentioned in the notorious decision authored by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, a conservative jurist if ever there was one, who wrote: “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Buck v. Bell, 27 U.S. 200 (1927).
We do not recommend returning to the days of Buck v. Bell, but neither should we regress our national thinking to an even more absurd standard. When the natural consequences of a belief system would be to overrun the land with people unable to care for themselves, we can safely consign it to the rubbish heap of inane notions that individuals may be free to adopt personally, but can never become the law of the land. If Sarah Palin is foolish enough to think that her personal beliefs are the very word of God, and fit for universal application to all the citizens of this country, then Alaska as close to the White House as she should be allowed to get.