Parents must decide what is best for unborn child with disabilities

The selective abortion of foetuses with defects is not so much an indication of how people fail to recognise the intrinsic value of an unborn child ("Acceptance of special needs kids must start in the womb" by Ms Ho Lay Ping; last Thursday).

Rather, it is of how mothers do not want their children to be saddled with a lifetime of hospital visits, physical impairment and suffering, and the indignity of being ostracised and regarded as a lesser being.

That an expectant mother wants to abort a defective foetus cannot be regarded as taking the easy way out.

She has to decide what is best for the unborn child.

Parents agonise over this issue - fighting their moral qualms, questioning their conscience, and often seeking religious solicitude before making an informed decision.

There is no reason to think that their decisions are any less moral, less rational or less well considered than those of people who are not directly involved.

Ms Ho's strength and courage in adversity and in facing a society that does not entirely accept and support people with disabilities are admirable and should be emulated.

However, just as many who are born handicapped profess no less a love and zest for life than their able-bodied peers, there are also those who pine for normality and question why they were brought into this world to suffer.

As we become more cultured and empathetic, I hope society will progressively evolve to embrace children and adults with more severe and obvious disabilities.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Parents must decide what is best for unborn child with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe