Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. His executive assistant, Kathy Norquist, has written a blog article regarding a controversial topic in today’s society: if prenatal testing shows disabilities, would you abort the baby. Her nephew, Tyler, was confronted with this situation in a college classroom setting.
I have a theory about those around us who are physically or mentally disadvantaged. My theory is based on I John 4:11-12. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” No one in this world is perfect and we are called to love everyone the same, just as God does. If we judge the quality of a person’s life based on what their health might look like, then we take away all of the miracles that person might have to offer us. Let’s look at a few examples before moving forward.
In 1880, Helen Keller was born blind and deaf. She couldn’t communicate and her life looked dismal until her tutor, Anne Sullivan, came into her life. Through much hard work and determination on the part of both women, Helen Keller became well known for her strong opinions regarding the treatment of all humans. She spent her later life campaigning for women’s rights as well as worker’s rights. She is quoted as saying, ”Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
In 1950, Stevie Wonder was born six weeks premature and developed ROP (retinopathy of prematurity), a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach. But quickly, the family realized that Stevie had special talents. He was a music prodigy. He earned his first record label at age eleven and is a world-renowned musician. Stevie once said of his life, “I am what I am. I love me! And I don't mean that egotistically - I love that God has allowed me to take whatever it was that I had and to make something out of it.”
Finally, there is Lauren Potter, who was born in 1990 with downs syndrome (One of the prenatal tests tries to check for downs.) Some of you may not have heard of her, but she has made a name for herself by joining the cast of Glee as the character Becky Jackson. She has also received an appointment by Obama for the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. In an interview, she was quoted as saying, “I never thought I could be an actress, but I am. I never thought I would be a presidential appointee and I am!” Potter said in a statement. “The possibilities are endless for anyone and that is what I hope to help bring to this committee – a real life example that with a supportive community and an encouraging country we all can live the American dream!”
How can we possibly know the outcome of a person’s life by only looking at one aspect of that life? You can’t view heart, determination, love, strength or joy on a computer screen or a blood sample. We don’t want to be refused from an insurance company because we have had cancer before, even after being told it has been completely removed. So why are some so willing to look at a few tests to decide on the value of a human life before they are even born? The value of a human life comes from those people around them who are willing to love, educate and help them grow into valuable beings. Love should not come with prerequisites attached.