NYT Gets Pro-Choice Doc to Write on Abortion, Get Jaw-Dropping Surprise Instead


When The New York Times decided to commission Dr. Chris Kaposy to write an op-ed on aborting children with Down syndrome, the end result would seem to be a foregone conclusion.

After all, Dr. Kaposy — a bioethicist — writes that “My wife and I are pro-choice and oppose placing limits like these on abortion.” So, he would be aggressively in favor of aborting fetuses with the chromosomal condition, right?

Actually, quite the opposite. In an opinion piece published Monday titled “The Ethical Case for Having a Baby With Down Syndrome,” Kaposy lays out why he wishes “more people would include children with Down syndrome in their families.”

“For this to happen, we don’t need new laws; we just need more people to choose to have such children,” Kaposy argues, citing recent pushes to make aborting unborn babies who show signs of Down syndrome illegal.

Kaposy isn’t just coming at this from a theoretical standpoint, though. His son, Aaron, was born with the condition.

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“My wife’s ultrasound turned up something abnormal in the baby’s heart — an otherwise innocuous feature that correlates with genetic conditions such as Down syndrome. A series of tests confirmed that our son indeed had Down syndrome. We were given the option of abortion, but my wife, Jan, already regarded him as our baby, and a few months later Aaron was born,” Kaposy writes.

“The first days after the diagnosis were hard. We thought about our son’s future, and our future. We went through a period of grieving. But we soon came to accept that Aaron would have Down syndrome, and to accept him as a member of our family. By the time Aaron was born, it was a joyous occasion.

“Today, almost nine years later, Aaron is an affectionate boy with blond hair and a crooked smile. He is passionate about hockey (we’re Canadian after all) and about animals. If he could grow up to be anything, he would probably be a veterinarian.”

There is the practical side, but Kaposy also discusses the theoretical implications behind his stand.

Do you think states should pass laws banning the abortion of children with Down syndrome?

“Perhaps the question to ask is: Why do we have children at all?” Kaposy asks.

“Most parents would agree that it is not only so that they can replicate a conventional arc of a successful middle-class life: college, marriage, real estate, grandchildren. If those are the reasons to abort fetuses with Down syndrome, they seem disappointing — they are either self-centered or empty in their narrow-minded conventionality. Aaron will probably not become a veterinarian, and that’s OK. Childhood dreams often harmlessly go unrealized. He could still get a different job working with animals, and that would make him happy.”

“Prenatal tests enable our capacity to choose, to some degree, the children we will raise. And those who are pro-choice typically embrace this autonomy in reproduction,” he adds.

“But the concept of autonomy can be understood in different ways. In one sense, it simply means being free to choose, without infringement by the government. But, in a richer sense, it means choosing in accordance with one’s own values,” he concludes. “If you value acceptance, empathy and unconditional love, you, too, should welcome a child with Down syndrome into your life.”

It is interesting, in a paper such as The New York Times, to see human life embraced as human life, and not just some hobbled version of it that we would do well to abort. This isn’t always the case when it comes to the media and Down syndrome.

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Less than a year ago, CBS ran a piece celebrating how Iceland had practically eliminated Down syndrome. How had they done this? An aggressive campaign to abort any child who showed signs of the condition, of course.

No, in spite of the fact that they ran this piece, we’re not getting into any sort of love affair with The New York Times anytime soon. Current headlines on the front page of our favorite gray punching bag as of Friday morning: “A Rebuke to Trump, a Century in the Making,” “How to Prepare a Post-Trump Renaissance in Diplomacy,” and “How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint” (a subscriber exclusive!).

So, not really our thing. However, we do give them credit, for once, for actually attempting a semblance of balance and respecting the sanctity of life — even if it was from a pro-choice bioethicist.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture