Tuesday, April 1, 2008

'The dignity of living'

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
-- Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)
Suppose that you or someone you know became pregnant.

Suppose further that, during routine prenatal examination, the doctor determined that there were serious problems with the fetus.

More tests are taken and it is determined that the fetus carries a rare genetic anomaly, a missing chromosone, a condition known as Turner Syndrome that occurs in 1 of 5,000 births. One reason such births are so rare is that doctors estimate that 98% of pregnancies with Turner Syndrome end in miscarriage.

Those born with Turner Syndrome are biologically female, but are sterile, with underdeveloped genitalia and breasts. Short stature (on average, about 4-foot-7 at maturity) and deformity of the face and hands are other common traits of Turner Syndrome. Many with Turner Syndrome suffer other serious health problems, including deformity of the aorta and kidneys.

What would you do, or what would you suggest, in such a situation? Would you carry the child to term or choose abortion?

Abortion? Then there is no Sarah Horowitz, teacher, journalist, poet and social justice activist, who was recently interviewed about her activism:
I was writing a lot of letters for Amnesty International, specifically on the death penalty. I got very good at giving the secular explanation of why we shouldn’t have the death penalty. But I started to realize that what I really wanted to say is that it’s bad for the soul of the nation. And there’s no real traditional political language for that, the collective soul. At some point, I read this amazing sermon by Martin Luther King; he wrote it right after the Montgomery bus boycott. Basically he said don’t get on the bus full of braggadocio, because you still have to live with these people. And I kind of realized that that was the sort of political action that I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to recognize the dignity of living.
Prenatal genetic testing wasn't a possibility when Sarah was born. And, in fact, Sarah's father is a Republican friend of mine and I know him to be pro-choice, at least from a political perspective. Since I never met Sarah, I have no idea what her stance on the abortion issue was, although she was obviously a liberal on most issues. Still, to read what Sarah had to say about "the dignity of living," I wonder if she ever pondered the miracle of her own life.

I write of Sarah in the past tense because she died last month at age 44. She was mourned by those who knew her, including comedian Kenny Altman:
Sarah battled health problems throughout her entire life but she refused to let them stop her from pursuing her dreams and her passions. To paraphrase my rabbi, Micah Hyman, "her spirit was stronger than her body." She was a pure soul, and an amazingly accomplished person -- among other things she was a poet, a Jewish scholar, a teacher of autistic children, and she made the best damn pumpkin Challah I have ever tasted in my life!
Of course, she was mourned deeply by her Republican father. He wrote poignantly about how his daughter, "who until this election was pretty much a member of the Green Party," flew to Iowa to campaign for Barack Obama.

If you want to read what Sarah's father wrote about his "sweet child," you can find it at FrontPageMagazine.com. Because Sarah's father -- my pro-choice Republican friend whose Green Party daughter spoke about "the dignity of life" and campaigned for Obama -- is none other than the famous conservative author David Horowitz.


  1. Stacy -

    As a woman who hast Turner Syndrome, I found your post interesting. You might find my blog interesting. There is a lot of inaccurate information out there with regards to Turner Syndrome. For the most part, the information you provide is correct.

    You can find it at



  2. I apologize Robert. I just saw the Stacy and went with it.

    By the way, did Sarah have Turner Syndrome?



    PS - Interested in exchanging links?