If I had never been born I would never know that I had never been born.
That should be obvious. But it obviously isn't to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and, in particular, to its chaplain at the Paralympic Games, James Parker. In a Vatican Radio interview he hijacks the games, no doubt without the permission of those taking part, to promote his denomination's rigid condemnation of abortion, whatever the circumstances. His argument is simple (simplistic), the Paralympics have shown the people of Great Britain, through the excellent TV coverage of the Games, that a certain percentage of disabled people, especially those with non-life threatening disabilities, can find within themselves the strength, courage and perseverance needed to compete in sports to a very high level. Therefore, no foetus that shows signs of a disabling illness or syndrome should ever be aborted.
What patronising, cold hearted crap!
At the Paralympics we see disabled people getting the most out of life. Most Paralympians probably get more out of life than most able bodied people. However, they do not represent all disabled people by any stretch of the imagination. For a start, you do not see those disabled people who die in their youth because of their disablement. You do not see those disabled people whose communication with the world is non-existent, those who need 24 hour care, those who have to live with sitting in their own piss, those whose disabilities are so severely disforming or antisocial that they will never have anybody fall in love with them let alone enjoy any sexual encounters in their lives and all those disabled people who wish they had never been born. Believe me, although many disabled people are certainly glad that they were born and many who wouldn't want to swap their bodies for perfect bodies, the vast majority of people with severe disability cope with life as best they can and put a brave face on it. Like everybody else they don't want to die now they are alive, but this does not mean that they are enjoying themselves enough to make having been born worthwhile.
Someone who has not been born has no knowledge of having not been born. So not being born means nothing, other than to the already living who are looking forward to a birth.
Being born and becoming self aware, on the other hand, dumps life in its entirety on the person who has been born. If that includes disability then it is our duty to make sure that person gets the most happiness as possible out of life and experiences the least pain as possible. It is a good thing for the disabled person to pursue that goal themselves as well. The Paralympics are the epitome of success for this way of relating to disability. But the success of the Paralympics does not mean that the living have the right to bring new life into the world when we know that the foetus growing into that life has defects that, more than likely, will result in a life of pain, unhappiness and lack of satisfaction.
The rights of the unborn should include the right not to be born. It is the parents of the unborn, and them alone, who have the responsibility for deciding whether or not the right of the foetus to remain unborn and unaware of life is taken up or not.