Allison Piepmeier, a brilliant academic writer friend of mine, and the mother of the incomparable Maybelle, had a piece published in the New York Times' Motherlode column a couple of days ago. Allison wrote the piece as a response to the recent law passed in North Dakota outlawing abortion for fetal conditions such as Down Syndrome. I won't review what she said, as the piece is short, and I'd urge you to read it yourself, but what has stuck with me in particular all day long are the more than 200 comments that I made the mistake of skimming through after reading Allison's intelligent words. Filled with vitriol -- on both sides of the abortion issue -- they are, with few exceptions, some of the most ignorant and upsetting opinions and viewpoints that I've read in a long, long while. They are the stuff of depression, the stuff that drives some of us in the disability world to want to retreat into caves, overwhelmed at the prospect that no matter how hard we try, we may not ever fully engage people into valuing the lives of people with disabilities. Full inclusion might never happen, our children and fellow citizens might continue to be commodities, burdens that inhibit productive life, argued over in the marketplace.
I'll say here that I am particularly repelled by Dakotan lawmakers who have passed some of the most draconian laws against women's reproductive rights in the country, but I am also disturbed by those in the disability community who champion the law as, somehow, a victory for the most vulnerable. I have been asked the infamous question about Sophie and abortion -- whether I would abort her if I'd known what would happen. To this question, I will only answer that it's impossible. It's impossible for me to answer this question. I am who I am because of my daughter's strange journey on this planet, and I am who I am, living questions, not answers.
And now let me retreat to my cave. I'll be watching this: