Your opinion wanted.

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by P_Barnes, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. P_Barnes

    P_Barnes
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    Another topic in a different thread reminded me of something else that I think of from time to time. I want to know what other Christians think of this, and whether you know of this happening to any one else.
    Here's the story:

    Back in the 1950s, a couple whom my grandparents knew had a daughter who was quite mentally handicapped. Sometime after the daughter reached puberty (around 14, I think) the parents took her to an OB\GYN and had her tubes tied. When the daughter asked why she had to go to the Dr., the parents made up some story (yes, lied to her). The parents' position was that the daughter would not be able to make responsible decisions regarding, er, "reproduction", would be more likely to be a victim, etc. Indeed, she might not have even been able to make the connection between pregnancy and the requisite activity that leads to it.
    What do you think of the parents' choice to do this?
     
  2. terriloo

    terriloo
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    As the grandmother of a child (almost 2 years old) with Soto's Syndrome--which has the potentiality of rendering our sweet boy SEVERELY retarded--I can tell you that this is NOT a simple question. If for no other reason than that the POLITICAL CLIMATE has changed since the 1950's, I don't even know if it's legally POSSIBLE to sterilize a child any more! I can actually imagine that the ACLU would get involved in the situation, defending the teen's "reproductive rights", when that teen might not even know what reproduction is mentally, even though physically his/her body would be both subject to hormonal urges and the ability to produce a child.

    Right now, my stepdaughter is already having to deal with possible future issues such as this. And she's having to make choices based on both her (and her husband's) heart, God's leading, and the doctors' input. There is no simple answer, simply because there is no one "right" way to handle each individual situation. Just as there are things that have to be handled VERY differently with this child than was done for his older brothers--particularly discipline--EVERY ISSUE OF HIS LIFE has to be handled differently.

    By the time he's a teen we'll obviously know how "bad" his mental incapacitation is. I can say that IF he IS severely retarded, both his parents will want to do everything in their power to keep him from FATHERING a child....and I can assume that they would most certainly want to prevent a female child with similar deficits from becoming pregnant. I guess that's a bridge we'll all cross in about 10 years or so.

    Do I think it would be WRONG to sterilize our boy (or our girl, if it were so)? All I can say is that the only people who are truly qualified to answer that question are those who've had to deal with the day in/day out reality that you have a child with tremendous mental incapacitation/limitations. What trauma would it put that child through to become pregnant and give birth if they are completely unable to understand what is happening? How fair is it for a boy to father a child if he can never be a real father to that baby? These are questions and potential problems that only God can help a parent/caregiver with.

    The parents of one who is very severely mentally or physically handicapped NEVER quit being primary caregivers (unless they institutionalize their child or provide a nurse, obviously)--in the case of our boy, he may well have to have a diaper changed for the rest of his life--so in many ways, he would always be a BABY. And as parents of a baby, my stepdaughter/son-in-law have a RESPONSIBILITY to care for their boy AS IF he WAS a baby, if he's that incapacitated. And sometimes, that may take "drastic" measures.
     
  3. dianetavegia

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    We have a couple in our church that is 'slow' and after she had child number 3 taken away from her by the state, she was given the choice to be sterilized or not receive any more state money.

    I don't envy your decision. I couldn't even begin to give a truthful answer on this issue because I'm not facing that.

    I'm sorry to hear about your grandson, terriloo. Will other children born to them possibly have this same condition?
     
  4. terriloo

    terriloo
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    We've already got two perfectly healthy, "normal" grandsons--ages 9 and 11. The youngest was born after several years--unexpectedly and unpreparedly--of many health treatments for our son-in-law, due to a lung disorder. In many ways, we fear that is at least partly the source of the Soto's. However, this is a chromosomal disorder/birth defect--they know exactly WHAT the problem is--just not what CAUSES the distortion of the chromosome at conception. The doctors said this is EXTREMELY rare, and that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent/predict it. The odds of having another child with this particular disorder is extremely small, although SOMEWHAT higher within the same family. However, due to all other factors involved, including female problems, my stepdaughter has had to have a hysterectomy anyway, so there's no possibility of this recurring.
    All that said, this child is a true blessing to everyone who comes in contact with him. WhatEVER his potential at having a "normal" life, he is a gift from God, nonetheless. His smile is sweet as sugar, his disposition is like sunshine, and we all think God Himself tucks our boy in at night.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. dianetavegia

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    Oh how I agree, Terri! We have had people, over the years, insinuate that our Nick (born to our daughter when she was 19) was an unfortunate mistake but what a blessing he has been to Jim and myself! I'm thankful everyday for our 4th child, no matter HOW he got here. [​IMG]

    God bless your little one and may the angels guard over him so closely that you can hear the brush of their 'wings'. [​IMG]
     
  6. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    Terriloo is right. This is not the same America as it was in the 1950's. And there is no pat answer.

    Doctors across this country used to sterilize the mentally handicapped all the time without their permission. They also sterilized the blind, the deaf, unwed mothers, poor mothers, mothers whose husbands had died, orphans, and anyone else they considered "undesirable".

    Sterilization should never be considered as a "blanket solution" to anything. Ever.

    Every mentally handicapped person cannot be judged as banned from reproducing just because they are mentally handicapped.

    You asked for my opinion, so here it is.

    I think that these people should never be lied to. They don't deserved to be treated that way.

    When it comes time to consider their sexuality and possible procreating, whether on purpose because they are married or whether by accident/rape, they need counseling from their parents or guardians at an early age. Before they have relationships or marry.

    Include their doctors and clergy if necessary in the counseling. Let the mentally handicapped talk to young mothers and see the reality of raising a baby and how hard it is even when you are labeled "normal".

    Help them to understand that having babies and raising children is not like playing with dolls or such. You can't lay babies down in the crib and walk away and not check on them. They require your 24-hour a day attention. And no one is there to help you in the middle of the night when you need help the most.

    Help them to understand this.

    Explain to them that they can go to the doctor and the doctor can help them so that they won't have to worry about this happening to them.

    If they don't agree to sterilization, then it cannot be forced upon them without their consent. And there is where I cannot advise anyone.

    Each individual case is unique.

    Peace-

    YSIC
    Scarlett O.
    <><
     
  7. mountainrun

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    Children cannot make responsible decisions when they are very young and parents must make those decisions for them.

    If a person will remain forever unable to make those decisions, the the parent must do so as long as they are the caregiver.

    As others have mentioned, this should be a case by case decision.

    I wouldn't want to have to make it.

    MR
     
  8. dianetavegia

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    I kept some mentally retarded children for about 10 years. The Autistic and Fetal Alcohol boy grew and didn't act out 'in that way'. He did, however, become quite violent at times. The girl grew and acted out sexually all day every day. Her mental age was less than 3 years old and yet puberty still 'hit' hard! She was institutionalized and I would expect it would be hard to keep her from falling prey to a boy...
     
  9. P_Barnes

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    Thank you all for chiming in here, I appreciate the responses.
    This is indeed a difficult dilemma, and fortunately one I'll never have to face, PTL.
    So I'm torn every time I think of this; on one hand it seems the responsible thing to do, and on the other it seems barbaric or cruel.

    But if a person has an adult body and a 3 year old intellect, wouldn't you be doing them, society and any possible children a favor by sterilizing them? And here it goes around and around in my head again . . .
     
  10. Plain ol' Ralph

    Plain ol' Ralph
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    The responsibilty falls into the hands of the responsible, those willing to make hard decisions concerning particular cases should do so without regard to what other, misinformed, passionate, or illmeaning people might think.

    I haven't faced that dilemma, but my decision would have to be based on the level of mental disorder and very much prayer. The higher the level of mental retardation, the less prayer in deciding to have a tubligation.
     
  11. Mommyperson

    Mommyperson
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    With a LOT of prayer and godly counsel, a sound decision is possible.

    A lady in our neighborhood was taken advantage of,she is mentally retarded and got pregnant. she had a beautiful little girl, but the grandmother in her late 50's had to raise her.
    I spoke with her about the incident and she said, without batting an eye, when he comes face to face with God, he'll get his come-uppance for the stolen innocence of her child..

    There are some CRUEL and thoughtless people who would take advantage of those who are unable to make decisions for themselves. These criminal types can easily lead them astray.. It's sad that it would come down to doing something like this, but the reality is, parents must consider it as an option to protect the child (although they may NOT be a child physically) and parents who may not be prepared to raise an unexpected child.

    It's a personal and difficult decision..Not a decision open to society.

    I only know what I'd do in this situation.
    Each parent of a special child needs to consider prayerfully what God would lead them to do.
     

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