Rick Santorum, pre-natal testing, and the disabled

So, as the parent of a child with an intellectual disability resulting from a rare genetic disease I should be outraged by Rick Santorum’s latest.  I’m not.  Mostly I pity him as such a pathetic figure.  Both Harold Pollack who has a disabled brother-in-law and the child-less Kevin Drum are more than outraged enough more me, so I’ll stick with their outrage on my behalf:

Harold Pollack is no longer amused by Rick Santorum. Here is Santorum this weekend:

One of the things that you don’t know about ObamaCare in one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and, therefore, less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. That too is part of ObamaCare — another hidden message as to what president Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country.

Even for Santorum, this is just remarkably odious. Here’s Harold:

I’m writing these words with my smiling brother-in-law Vincent sitting next to me, admiring the green lunchbox that we just bought him. Vincent lives with intellectual disabilities caused by fragile X syndrome. I find the above comments indescribably insulting.

Santorum’s comments are only made uglier by their utter lack of foundation….I’ve never heard any liberal health policy wonk promote genetic technologies to “cull the ranks of the disabled” or as part of any cost-cutting plan. That ugly meme is completely made up…

As states get bluer, they spend proportionately more on intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) programs. As they get redder they spend less. And when the recession hit, the redder the state, the more they cut back on I/DD spending. You can draw whatever conclusion you want from this. If you’re as vile as Santorum, you might conclude that conservatives hate the disabled. If you’re not, you might conclude that redder states tend to be poorer than bluer states and simply can’t afford as much.

Vile and indescribably insulting.  That works.  We had some basic testing (nuchal translucency) done in the two children post-Alex, but certainly not as a prelude to an abortion in the case of unfortunate results. These are good things for parents to know and for Santorum to make his insinuations really is pretty disgusting.  For such a pious and religious fellow, Santorum sure is a sleazebag.

As a bonus, here’s Alex, intellectual disability and all, he’s pretty awesome.  Mostly.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Rick Santorum, pre-natal testing, and the disabled

  1. Harold Pollack says:

    Hey thanks for citing me. Nice post. All the best.
    HAP

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