Michael Swartz: Poor comparison


I have been a resident of Steamboat for just more than a year now and I am an avid daily reader of the Steamboat Today. While I don’t agree with every opinion piece you print, I appreciate the fact that you try to present a counterpoint as well. However, the piece by Rob Douglas that you printed Friday (“Are we not better than this?”) in which he responded to Joanne Palmer’s op-ed piece about Ann Coulter’s use of the word “retard” doesn’t make any sense to me and I found it highly offensive.

First, comparing the abortion rates of Down syndrome babies to Coulter’s use of the word doesn’t even make sense. One has nothing to do with the other. But what I find most offensive is how Mr. Douglas essentially makes the case that parents choosing to abort a Down syndrome baby is somehow as offensive as Coulter’s use of derogatory terms.

I am a father of one with another on the way, and I am fortunate enough to only have to imagine what it would be like to face the reality of expecting a child with a mental or physical impairment. Ask any expecting parent whether they are hoping for a boy or girl and every single one will say it doesn’t matter as long as he or she is healthy. So what do parents do when they find out their child will not be healthy as they had hoped? Whatever they decide, it is an intensely personal and excruciating decision and should be treated as such.

Are there advances in medicine that soon will make it possible for expecting parents to have advance knowledge of features (eye color, hair color, etc.)? Absolutely. Will there be parents who choose to have “designer babies”? Yes. But parents choosing to abort a child with Down syndrome (or any other impairment) is not about having the perfect child. These parents have to take into consideration the quality of life for that child, the strain (emotionally, physically and financially) it puts on the entire family, and if they feel they can handle and commit to raising a special needs child.

Mr. Douglas’ piece flies directly in the face of every parent who has ever had to face such a daunting decision, and I don’t understand why you felt it made good sense to print this particular column. I think this particular opinion should have been one for Mr. Douglas to share in one-on-one situations as opposed to forcing it upon all of us.

Michael Swartz

Steamboat Springs


Scott Wedel 4 years, 5 months ago

Will there be parents who choose to have “designer babies”? Yes.

Well, parents learn of the gender of their child and the ratio of boys to girls in the USA has remained unchanged since the 1940s. So while there may be some in immigrant communities, there is evidence suggesting there is no general pattern of gender selection.

In China this is happening and there are 12% fewer girls being born than otherwise expected.

But from USA data on gender selection, there is no evidence that parents in the USA are systematically making that choice. So why would it follow that if USA parents accept the gender of their baby, but would have an issue with eye color or other less significant trait?


mark hartless 4 years, 5 months ago

Oh my God. I seriously can't believe what I just read.

I really don't know where to begin. "forcing it upon all of us" ??? Did he,Mr Douglas,hold someone's head against a copy of the paper? "... what I find most offensive is how Mr Douglas [suggests] that ... choosing to abort a Downs Syndrom baby is somehow as offensive as... the use of... derogatory terms." Really? The mere use of words offends you more than the thought of an innocent baby being sucked into a sink??? Really?? Perhaps if it were a baby eagle, polar bear, or spotted owl it might be more offensive, eh??

I wonder if Mr. Swartz understands that such cavalier attitudes toward human life, coupled with the intolerance of counter-opinions, is usually how a populace ushers in the Hitler', Pol Pots, and Mao Zedongs of their generation. These monsters don't break down the doors of society, they are asked inside by people with such mental thought processes as that demonstrated above.

My God. To say you want women to keep their right to abortion is one thing. OK, fair enough. But to say mere words are more distasteful than the act of aborting even a baby squirrel is, to me, absolutely beyond comprehension.


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