As part of my final year of school we are studying the ‘Right To Life’ – this is another term for Pro-Life meaning that we have been studying acts which allow for humans intervention to end human life – this being acts such as euthanasia or abortion I am yet to take a stance on my beliefs regarding these two acts of which I have studied. I do not know enough about the issues to make a stance yet, I am still young and forming my opinions and these issues are dynamic, complex, they aren’t black and white so for that reason – I am yet to make a stance.
However, upon the study of Right To Life I have found many things hard to swallow mainly because a lot of our studies have mentioned in some way disability. You see people who have a disability fall under the ‘vulnerable’ category of society, this is thought to put us at risk if euthanasia was legalised and the prospect of disability has led to some people choosing abortion of their child.
Although these two things are confronting to me and challenging, I have done my best to seperate myself from the issue – because this is the way the world is, this is what is happening and what some people choose to do. I personally find that upsetting, however I have not walked in anyone’s shoes and I cannot make judgement.
What my studies have highlighted to me though, is the concept of choice – upon watching the documentary A World Without Down Syndrome the question was raised “does medical choice provide happiness?”
And this question highly resonated with me.
Here are my thoughts…
There are 7,000 people with my condition in the world, I have had 16 surgical procedures and battle to achieve functionality everyday, I have crossed the road once by myself – and the entire time I was crapping myself – the world isn’t designed for me, there is stairs and hills and people who stare.
However on the other side of the coin I have built a buisness, have got many incredible friends, a school leadership position – I have an entire life, which thrives with disability.
If I had the choice to have this life and walk, I know my choice would be to stay the way I am. Because if I walked I wouldn’t have this life.
All of my choices would have been different, I may have never moved from my second primary, I probably would have never started this blog, met my childhood best friend Molly and gone to America with her – my point is that my life is hard yes, it’s a kind of difficult few people get, but my life is also wonderful – I don’t regret any choices I have made and I don’t wish for things to be different.
Medicine is a wonderful thing, the surgeries I have had thanks to modern medicine have allowed my body to become its best – although I still have to work at it.
But medicine doesn’t provide perfection, I don’t believe that having the right to choose provides you with happiness – I rather believe that people have to live with the choices they make.
If you decide to not bring to term a baby that has an illness or if you decide to end your life – those are your choices, if you are happy with them, then that is all you can ask.
But as a society it is important that we never push upon people the belief that those whom are different, diverse or abled in another way – are any less perfect than the average Joe.
I have learned that I can use my life to serve others and show them this, but equally I am now aware that I need to make choices I am happy with, protect myself and my heart, be the best advocate for me; you need to do that as well – in your own context and do not be afraid to do it.
As medicine advances we get more and more choice – eventually a World Without Down Syndrome could become a world without people who have blue eyes, the choices you make have gravity and hold weight to make a huge impact on this world – whatever life you have, live it.
Make choices which equally serve yourself and others (because people won’t always like you) and perhaps instead of striving for ‘perfect’ you can make the best of what you have.