Letters to the Editor

Learn by doing

June 6, 2009


To the editor:

It’s big of you pro-life people to compliment people about being so disciplined to follow their principles about no abortion and right-to-life concerns, but who is accepting the life of the baby if it’s not perfect or is handicapped? Do the church schools or religion classes accept the mentally handicapped in their schools, or do they ignore them, or make up excuses like “We don’t have special education teachers”? Nobody’s a special education parent either. We learn by doing.

I think the disciplined people of the faith should learn to socially accept mental retardation and not just worry about right-to-life and abortion issues. If religious people really want to embrace “life” and not just do right-to-life marches or write about these issues, it’s time for them to “help the least of these” and not just judge others for their views on pro-choice or pro-life. Have you personally made a difference in the life of a mentally handicapped person?


appleaday 9 years ago

She's saying be pro-life on BOTH sides of the uterus. In my job I work with families of kids with special needs. They're often poor, single women with children who consume all of their time and resources, children with thousands of dollars in medical bills, lots of equipment and treatment needs that aren't covered by any health plan, and no ability to work because their child takes 24 hour care to maintain a painful and miserable existence. Many of these children are semi-vegetative, by the way, with little or no ability to interact with others. A good number of these women are single mothers because either the father ran off when life got too hard, or they were "coerced" into sex by another family member, boyfriend, or an abusive husband. You obviously have no idea about the circumstances that others have to face. Many of these mothers can't even finish high school because they have this child. And by the way, a huge number of premature births that lead to these outcomes could be prevented by simply providing regular prenatal care.
I hate the option of abortion but I can't choose for others. I will continue to work to assist these families. How about providing prenatal care? Services for handicapped children? Respite care so these mothers can get an education and then a job?

seriouscat 9 years ago

Sigh. I am pro-choice, but I am sooo tired of this argument that pro-lifers only care about the baby while it's still in the womb. I have known many pro-lifers (one who grew up in an orphanage) who actively work either personally or through lobbying government for better services, to improve the lives of poor women, and disabled and mentally ill people. Many, many pro-lifers adopt special needs children and/or work to help single women with unplanned pregnancies to make a better life for themselves and their children. Ever hear of Catholic Charities? They do all these things and more here in the USA and all over the world.

Demonizing all the people on the other side of any given issue is simplistic and intellectually lazy. I see an awful lot of that on these here forums.

wordgenie8 9 years ago

Ms. Kieffer does point out a key inconsistency in the pro-life stance, of which it appears there are oodles. If we claim to value life we should value it in all its diverse forms. I've heard parents who give birth to a child with Down's Syndrome say they have discovered their offspring to be a wonderful gift from God. There exists a large spectrum of function in such children, and they tend to be very loving. People who discriminate and treat those with limitations unfairly and with spite and prejudice and harsh words and labels are the true "mentally handicapped"(not a very politically correct term, by the way) in my book.

denak 9 years ago

As a person who is Pro-Life and a mother of a visually impaired child, allow me to correct a few assumption the letter writer erroneously makes.

First and foremost, Ms. Kieffer should provide some kind of proof (ie cite a legitimate study) that shows that private religious schools do not accept mentally handicapped children. Real actual numbers, rather than mere conjecture might actually have some value....as oppose to an undocumented tirad against religion, right to lifers, and private schools.

Secondly, if there are less children with special needs in private schools it is because we have a little thing called the Supreme Court of the United States of America. My son will be a senior this fall but when he first started school I took him to enroll in St. John the Evangelist. The principle there told me that because of separation of church and state, that in order for my son to get the extra care that he needed, he would have to be pulled out of his regular class, several times a day, and taken to the building right off the schools property and taught in that building. The government would not give St. Johns funds for a Braille teacher because of these rulings. The only way my son would get the help that he needed was to go to public schools where the government would pay the school to have a paraeducator and a braille teacher for him. So, contrary to what Ms. Kieffer states, it isn't the religous schools that make the determination, it is the Supreme Court. So, if you are going to rile at something, rile at them because it was their rulings at that time. I have heard that some things have changed in the last 13 times but the simple fact of the matter is that public schools get the funding for these kids, not the private schools so it isn't a matter of private schools not wanting or caring about these children, it is a matter of who is getting the money.

I'm sure though that is there ever comes a day when the Supreme Court comes back and says "private schools should get equal funding for special needs children as public schools" I have no doubt that Ms. Kieffer and a lot of other people would be up in arms about that.

Secondly, ALL people should treat individuals with challenges with dignity and respect. If you believe this to true, work to improve or pass anti-discrimation laws. Write to our elected officials imploring them to keep open the Kansas State School for the Blind and the Kansas State School for the Deaf. KSSB very recently had to go in front of the state and plead their case for their school. As it is, the extended school year, which use to last 4 weeks, is cut done to one week that really doesn't help anyone. So instead of writing a letter against pro-lifer, why don't you write one in favor of these schools.

denak 9 years ago

And last but not least, I have been a foster parent for 6 years. There were 7 families (and by families I mean the traditional two parent family and the single parents) in my MAPP classes (classes you have to take to get liscensed) I would say out of those 7 families, over half of them were very religious individuals and studies seem to back that observation up. Most foster parents cite "religious reasons" as one of the top reasons to become foster parents.

So, my question to you, Ms. Kieffer, and others, is what are you doing. So many people are quick to condemn pro-lifers, and yet, are you a foster parent? Are you involved with Big Brothers/Big Sister? Are you writing your legislature to improve special needs funding? Are you involved???

If your not, I don't really think you have any thing to say.


Left_handed 9 years ago

In my world the primary responsibility for raising a child rests with its parents. They consent to this responsibility when they choose to engage in activities that will result in the birth of said child. If they don't want to raise a child then they should refrain from copulating.

See, I'm pro-life and pro-choice at the same time.

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