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Is aborting a child with autism worse than aborting a child with down's syndrome? watch

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    I need some help. I'm doing a project for uni on pre-natal screening and abortion. It's about which disabilities you should draw the line for.

    I'm for screening for down's, and I'm against screening (and abortion) for autism. Initially this was because of the level of care with down's v autism and quality of life thus potential for an independent life.

    Anyway, turns out I don't think I realised the real level of care needed for autistic children. I read somewhere that only 7% will be able to live independent lives! So now I don't know if my reasons for thinking aborting for DS over autism are valid, seeing as it seems the autistic need a lot of care and have a low potential for a normal life too.

    What are your thoughts? I'm interested to hear anything that might help me think a little clearer! Also interested if anyone can shed any light on how bad autism really is. I know little about it. Is it comparable to DS?
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    People with autism just need stabilisers. People with DS will always need a person behind them holding the seat.
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    I think it depends. Especially now autism and Asperger's are classed as one condition (I don't know whether they'd both show up the same on tests). I know several Aspies who live quite happy independent lives.
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    (Original post by Leftee)
    People with autism just need stabilisers. People with DS will always need a person behind them holding the seat.
    This is completely wrong. Some people with Autism don't talk, they may have no sense of danger, they may be incontinent and may have other medical conditions. The same could be said for people with DS.

    The two aren't comparable. Autism is a spectrum. Some work and live indepedently, some may need a bit of support working or studying and there are some who can't work because of how their Autism affects them.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    This is completely wrong. Some people with Autism don't talk, they may have no sense of danger, they may be incontinent and may have other medical conditions. The same could be said for people with DS.
    ...And some do exceptionally well? They same can't be said for DS.
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    (Original post by Leftee)
    ...And some do exceptionally well? They same can't be said for DS.
    Some people with DS are able to work and live fairly indepdently.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    Some people with DS are able to work and live fairly indepdently.
    My point was Autism isn't as restrictive as DS. I think my analogy was on the mark.
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    The severity of autism varies, but people with autism are generally more likely to live independent lives.
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    I suppose so, but again, autism would be a condition that would inconvenience and economically burden a mother perhaps more than she's prepared to take. and a child that isn't formed yet isn't something that can be loved like an actual child, so aborting it is not an immoral act in that sense as there is no emotional malice towards the foetus when the foetus feels no pain nor emotional damage. even if she wanted to abort the pregnancy (the early pregnancy) due to silly reasons like eye or hair colour, then that's not immorality that's just being unreasonable because it doesn't economically or emotionally (or at least it shouldn't satisfy that last criterion) burden a parent like autism, down syndrome, etc
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    Yes I was under the impression that Autism wasn't as restrictive which is how I formed my views. Then I read this on Wiki:

    "A 2004 British study of 68 adults who were diagnosed before 1980 as autistic children with IQ above 50 found that 12% achieved a high level of independence as adults, 10% had some friends and were generally in work but required some support, 19% had some independence but were generally living at home and needed considerable support and supervision in daily living, 46% needed specialist residential provision from facilities specializing in ASD with a high level of support and very limited autonomy, and 12% needed high-level hospital care.[15] A 2005 Swedish study of 78 adults that did not exclude low IQ found worse prognosis; for example, only 4% achieved independence"

    So quite a low level of independence. Not as low as DS probably would be but lower than I thought it would be. I don't think I understand autism enough to know why so many need care. I was under the impression the main symptom was communication and relationships suffered, but they were generally fine within themselves.

    I'm wondering whether some of the reason is due to the way the two disabilities are socially perceived.
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    I don't think either are better or worse than each other. As I understand, these tests only tell you that there's x% chance and not the severity of the condition.

    I'm wondering whether some of the reason is due to the way the two disabilities are socially perceived.
    Possibly. Some people that those of us with Autism are just spoilt brats. :mad: I was going to say something; but I didn't want to get into a debate with such an ignorant person. Nor did I really want to admit I had it, after what was said. Whereas with DS, it does seem that people have more sympathy for the person and their parents.
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    I knew a girl with Down's Syndrome whose mum nearly gave her up for adoption because she didn't think she'd be able to cope. Would have been a massive mistake. Apart from looking like a typical DS sufferer, you wouldn't be able to tell anything is wrong with her. She actually wanted to be an actress when she was younger and tried getting a part as a child with DS in a well known TV show. They turned her down because 'she wasn't Down's Syndrome-y enough'.

    So what I guess I'm saying is if your argument for not screening for autism is because of the possibility that even with autism people can lead normal lives, you've also got to consider that it is also possible for people with DS to live independently and happily. Although I suspect the girl I knew was a rare case, just the fact that she exists can really make you think about whether aborting someone because of the possibility their condition will drastically alter their lives is as clear cut as DS-yes, autism-no.
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    It depends what kind of autism we're talking about as people might think very differently about severe autism in comparison to something like Asperger's syndrome. Even then there are vast differences in experiences. I know a couple of high functioning adults with AS who could easily live independently and probably will in a couple of years time, but then the debiliating aspects of it are much more apparent in my sister for example who could never live independently. Nevertheless she has happy and fulfilling life, and even though it's been tough at times I don't think my parents would have aborted if they'd known how it would be.

    The biggest concern I'd have is that two individuals with autism could have completely different outcomes, especially with increased awareness and the newer treatments/interventions that are around today. Unless you could prove that the autism would be 'severe enough' (which would be subjective for the parents) then I'd worry that people could end up aborting a baby who could have been independent/etc due to misinformation. Screening in itself wouldn't be a bad thing however as it could give the parents time to prepare or learn about autism if they weren't already familiar with it.

    In short, I can't really say whether it's "worse" or not - I think that one might be more related to your views on abortion in general?
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    No, it's the same. Life is important no matter the number value or other intangibles. To clarify on this, because I am pro choice, perhaps it would be better said that these things simply do not matter. Your question is a little vague and needs clarification: do you mean to ask this question in relation to healthy unborn children Vs unborn children who have autism or down syndrome then I would still so no, because it is equal. One more thing, how can we know for sure that an unborn child has an affliction of this type? I would venture to say that we could only be sure of this in advanced stages of pregnancy and in that case law would take precedent in the situation despite the chances of conditions of the type you mentioned. At that point it would negate the argument you put forth. To sum up my argument I am saying no one is not worse than the other, if we were to place value on an individual's life in this context the idea of all humans being equal would be void. Do you believe that as a human you have greater value than the lives of creatures less able or less intelligent than you? Do you believe your life is more important than a dog or other animal? If you do consider this: as an average human who will live and die without making some amazing contribution that would cause your legacy to live on for a hundred years or more, after your death your memory may be kept in the minds of others but over time those who had a memory of you will die and your memory will be lost forever. What impact could be percived that meant your life was any more significant than any other animal? Is it that are smarter? So what?! That means nothing, everything living is equal, so how do you go about treating equals unequally?
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    Tbh, even though I'm pro-choice, I don't personally feel either disability is a good enough factor to abort, not for me anyway. I plan on having children when I'm ready for whatever my child brings, and so my personal struggle with looking after a child with a disability shouldn't be brought into it. Kids with autism and DS can have good quality of lives and be happy, and so I just don't see it as a legitimate reason. It's just harder.
    It's all down to the actual, individual experience though, I can't really knock anyone who does abort autistic/DS children. I mean I still have my own limits in terms of disability so its hypocritical otherwise (though mine are for extreme circumstances, when it'll affect my health and the baby wouldn't last very long at all, like born without a brain or something ridiculously scary)
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    (Original post by Leftee)
    People with autism just need stabilisers. People with DS will always need a person behind them holding the seat.
    I'm afraid it is not as simple as that at all. No one support package will suit every person with autism. I think it is often perceived that those with autistic spectrum disorder only have issues with communication or understanding social situations (though this is in fact the case for some) when it can impact on many more aspects of their lives than that, and the lives of those who care for them. In short, you cannot group every person with asd under one bracket, which is why the term 'autistic spectrum disorder' exists.

    I think this is the reason it would be very difficult to answer the question in this thread. Personally I would never judge someone who aborted a child because that child may have asd, as it can never be really known what caring for that child will entail, even with a diagnosis.

    (This is not to say people with autism cannot lead fulfilling lives at all, I was merely trying to illustrate that the need for no or minimal care in all cases is simplifying the issue somewhat).
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    Autism can be horrific. So can downs. Equally people with both can sometimes be able to live independent and happy lives. I think screening should be available for both.
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    I didn't think autism could be picked up in pregnancy? As I understood it usually becomes apparent in early childhood. My brother is autistic, and my Mum had an amniocentesis with him but that didn't pick anything up. And I think you need to word this better, since autism ranges vastly in what it does to those who have it.

    And having a sibling who is severely autistic, and is unlikely of living independently, I would not abort a child with autism, nor would I abort a child with Down's. I am, however, pro-choice. Is aborting an autistic child worse than one with Down's? No, I don't really rank them. But I'd hope that a couple who wanted a child, who were trying for one and I'm assuming could afford a baby, would not choose to abort a child for either over that reason alone.
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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    I need some help. I'm doing a project for uni on pre-natal screening and abortion. It's about which disabilities you should draw the line for.

    I'm for screening for down's, and I'm against screening (and abortion) for autism. Initially this was because of the level of care with down's v autism and quality of life thus potential for an independent life.

    Anyway, turns out I don't think I realised the real level of care needed for autistic children. I read somewhere that only 7% will be able to live independent lives! So now I don't know if my reasons for thinking aborting for DS over autism are valid, seeing as it seems the autistic need a lot of care and have a low potential for a normal life too.

    What are your thoughts? I'm interested to hear anything that might help me think a little clearer! Also interested if anyone can shed any light on how bad autism really is. I know little about it. Is it comparable to DS?
    Autism is not a disease you can screen for. It only diagnosed approximately at age 2-3. The diagnosis is dependent on social and behavioral interaction therefore it is impossible to get a diagnosis at birth. In utero it is impossible to screen for.

    This is different to Down's syndrome which is a genetic condition where all patients have three copies of chromosome 21.
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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    I need some help. I'm doing a project for uni on pre-natal screening and abortion. It's about which disabilities you should draw the line for.

    I'm for screening for down's, and I'm against screening (and abortion) for autism. Initially this was because of the level of care with down's v autism and quality of life thus potential for an independent life.

    Anyway, turns out I don't think I realised the real level of care needed for autistic children. I read somewhere that only 7% will be able to live independent lives! So now I don't know if my reasons for thinking aborting for DS over autism are valid, seeing as it seems the autistic need a lot of care and have a low potential for a normal life too.

    What are your thoughts? I'm interested to hear anything that might help me think a little clearer! Also interested if anyone can shed any light on how bad autism really is. I know little about it. Is it comparable to DS?
    In answer to your question, both of the conditions are a broad spectrum, for example, you could have a severely autistic person who needs a lot more care than a person with mild Down's syndrome. Some autistic people and Down's syndrome people can live independently, others will require constant care.

    Personally I believe that any disability is reasonable grounds for abortion; I don't believe people should be brought into a life of limited abilities, potential suffering or potential social stigma unnecessarily. I also don't really think babies are truly human until they at least born, from my point of view they are no more human than sperm cells; and I have no objections to killing 50 million or so of those little ****ers in one sitting. So aborting an unborn child poses no moral dilemma to me.
 
 
 
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