Monday, September 21, 2009

The Skeptical OB (Part 2)

Open letter to Dr. Amy Tuteur:

You have now posted two inflammatory and misguided commentaries about Down syndrome. The first was hurtful, and the Ds community told you so. Your second post, however, is enraging. Because instead of giving an inch and apologizing for your ignorance, you have chosen to rub salt in the wound. So I am now prepared to hand your ass to you, publicly. Start thinking about whether you want it in paper or plastic.

First, allow me to definitively answer the question posed by the headline of your initial post.

Yes, we should lament the disappearance of Down Syndrome. Because not lamenting it would speak volumes about the state of morality. Down syndrome is a random mutation - it can't be prevented with a vitamin or vaccine. Therefore, the absence of people with Down syndrome means one thing and one thing only: they have been identified as having Ds and, for their crime, denied the right to exist.

It's true - snuffing out Down syndrome would eliminate mountains of sadness and oceans of tears. But it would also eliminate a lot of the things that make life memorable and joyous and SPECIAL (pun intended) for many people. It would eliminate countless acts of courage and kindness. Sweet smiles of innocence. It would eliminate a lot of songs and paintings and poems. It would eliminate tears of joy.

Amy Tuteur, you took a particularly provocative shot across the bow of the Ds community, and you were called out for it. You may be tempted to dismiss the heartfelt comments on your blog as the ramblings of a bunch of extremists or religious fanatics. And you would be wrong. They are the war cries of compassionate, intelligent, outspoken people - people of differing backgrounds and beliefs - who feel that they are being spoken FOR instead of listened TO by a person who should know better.

And now, allow me to address your second post. You have decided to defend your ignorance by speaking, once again, for the Ds community. Your defense? We parents simply must feel that anyone who disagrees with us - anyone who chooses to abort her Ds baby - is wrong. But those are your words, not ours. You have either misinterpreted the reason for our anger, or you are purposely misrepresenting our position. And I refuse to be your straw man. So I'll clarify things for you.

The people who commented on your initial post aren't against prenatal testing. Most of us aren't even asking to take away other people's right to abortions. But we know something that you don't know. We know what it feels like to live through the darkest days imaginable. We know real fear and real pain. We know how it feels to be handed a future different from the one we imagined, and to search - frantically - for accurate information about that future. We all went through this process, and we are passionate about making it as easy as possible for others who may embark on the same journey. And instead of telling those people, in their most vulnerable moment, that they are about to be forever burdened with a child who shouldn't even exist, we are here to tell them that many, many, many people have walked this path and found it to be a wonderful road indeed. It's not all doom and gloom. It's difficult, but it's not the end of the world. It can be quite beautiful.

Our stories deserve to be heard. They are credible and worthwhile and IMPORTANT! How dare you brush us aside as if we are all delusional! How dare you act as if the world would be a better place without our children! Do you really think we're just going to sit silently as you shovel that shit?

You are, quite simply, out of your league here. Your original post isn't well thought out, your attempts to defend it are twisted, half-baked and increasingly desperate. It's obvious to your readers, and it's obvious to you, whether you want to admit it or not.

Some of the comments aimed at you are harsh. I'll admit some are rude, some are a bit offensive. But I'll look past that, because those comments are a reaction to your own low blows, which are crafted to conjure a special kind of pain. I'm awestruck that you would leave such snarky comments right out in the open for all to see. I hope your children are proud of their mom as they sit and stare, slack-jawed, at your cruelty.

In closing, I want to pose a question of my own. On what day were you halved like a melon so your humanity could be scooped out and rinsed away? And I wonder what I was doing that day? Hmm, maybe I was back in college, working my part time job in the kitchen of the local retirement home. Serving food to the Alzheimer's ward. Maybe that's where I learned to have compassion for people - even those people who need assistance from the rest of us. ESPECIALLY those people.

Maybe you should have taken a job like that one.

Eh - this is starting to get a little melodramatic, even for me, so let's just wrap things up. At this point, I don't want an apology. I just want you to crawl back into your hole and try your hardest to leave the Ds community unmolested in the future. Pretty please. You do that, and I'll try my hardest to forget all about you and your blog and your amazing intellect.

Dan Niblock (Down With Oz)

35 comments:

  1. Dan,
    I am so proud of your advocacy of children with down syndrome.

    Dr. Amy is only a blimp on the advocacy efforts made by those who cherish and love our beautiful children. Her opinions would not be worthy of comment without her promotion of her medical degrees.

    And I am rethinking that medical degree. Her opinions are, perhaps at best, not worthy of commentary.

    The important thing is that our children continue to shine..
    thanks to early intervention, family and society inclusion, and the efforts of the medical community to advance our children.

    Advocacy is not easy in the face of ignorance. Accolades to all those who share their personal experiences to share and illuminate the truth.

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  2. Dan,
    When we exchanged email a couple weeks ago you said, "You will be amazed at how thoughtful and intelligent the other members are - it's a really great group of people".

    How right you were. It's refreshing to participate in reasoned discourse. I look forward to joining in.

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  3. Couldn't have said it any better...

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  4. Thank you for fighting for all of us. Your words were perfect!

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  5. I don't have a child with DS. I do, however have friends that do.

    I'm doing a post on my blog about it, and was wondering if you'd mind if I linked to here, and if you can rec a good site for me to learn more about DS?

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  6. You kick ass. And take names. I love it.

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  7. Melissa a great site would be to visit http://giftsds.segullah.org/down-syndrome-links/ You will find links to various Down syndrome sites as well as photo montages and blogs of families who are so in love with their children with Down syndrome....who unlike this Dr. and a few of her commenters DO NOT feel people with Down syndrome are burdens. Thank you for wanting to know more! :)

    Dan, thank you for your post....and for your voice for our children. It is profoundly sad to me that all the comments left on her blog from parents who actually know first hand about raising a child with Ds fell on deaf ears, in fact she got even uglier. It is so interesting that she and a few others who have left comments do not see that the parents of a child with Down syndrome would be the ones to truly know if indeed it was a "burden" to raise them...She is hearing just the opposite view from those who are living it day in and day out but she does not get that. We've all become advocates because we all know first hand what outdated information is out there and we all know first hand what amazing little people they are...I think every parent just receiving the diagnosis for their unborn child should have all the information presented to them...why is that so aggravating to her I wonder?

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  8. Dan, your letter was amazing and I can feel the emotion. I am so disgusted with what Amy has been writing, coming across as if she know what WE know. She doesn't and needs some humbling.

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  9. Dan, Thanks for this raw, heartfelt letter that all of us feel and yet, I know I couldn't have written better myself. I can't believe some of the comments on her blog about what a horrible life they think our children will lead. I can only hope that they will one day be affected in a profound and positive way by someone with Down syndrome and their callousness will begin to chip away.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Cheri, I've edited to include your link, thanks. And thank you for your lovely comment.

    Reid and Luke are adorable. :-)

    Deleted the last one for a typo.

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  12. Melissa - depends on what type of info you need. You can certainly check out my other site, downtownds.com, for some basic info and an assortment of links. But you can also just start clicking through the list of member's blogs here on Oz Squad. Each one will give you an interesting little slice of life.

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  13. I'm snubbing Amy Turtle (the "doctor" with her head pulled way into her shell). I checked out her post, so I can respond on my blog, but I will not post on her blog or visit again. I'll also not be linking to her blog. I intend to send no traffic her way.

    I see her (and her post) as a representation of a general perspective that doesn't jive with my own experience. She represents the cloud of discrimination and callousness that I try to ignore most days.

    I advocate strongly for Bridget, but try not to waste energy on losers like The Turtle "Doctor".

    I like the way Dan linked to his blog and left it at that. I'd love to see her ridiculous post with very few comments, (at least very few long, heated comments...to say that we are WAY onto her, and as such, have just up and left her pathetic rant). Amy has had her time on her soapbox.

    Let's do something more productive. Instead of formulating a comment for The Turtle's blog, post something on your own blog today (or in the near future) that "gives your response" without bringing attention to her or her blog specifically.

    Let's do what we do best: ADVOCATE. Explain, educate, inspire...

    Proud to be a member of OS. Proud to be Bridget's mom. Over and out.

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  14. Thank you for your comment Lisa. I feel the same way about the bad doctor. It seems to me that she deliberately preys on hot button topics to bring revenue from her ads, as well as peace of mind knowing that she has been able to upset others, which is clearly a number one objective of hers.

    I'm almost certain she isn't in practice because there is a larger underlying issue that no one has dug up on her as yet. I'm also sure that after pages full of heartfelt remarks to which she only had one line responses of little substance, she isn't worthy of my time.

    Thank you to all that continue to fight. I highly recommend you make trips to her blog less frequent as I'm sure her ad revenue is soaring right now.

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  15. Unless I'm misinformed, people don't earn ad revenue unless you actually click their ads. Move on, if you like - I'm certainly ready to - but don't worry that responding to her nonsense is making her rich. Pompous, maybe, but not rich.

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  16. Great response, Dan! You ROCK!!

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  17. Thanks, Dan, for writing this. I hope that we can all stay level-headed on these missions and not stoop to the level of the offenders. That seems counter-productive to me.

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  18. More visitors would make her blogs more attractive to advertisers, though. Resist the urge to visit a bunch...

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  19. I think I have been blocked by her. I can't get to the "comments" section at all - even to read. :) Maybe I hit a nerve? I wonder how many others are having the same problem.

    Steph

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  20. I think this mission can proudly be called "Complete." The goal was to ensure that anyone coming to "Dr." Amy's site would hear not just her side, but the side of the many, many parents who are happy to share their lives with a child with Down syndrome. That surely has been accomplished! She seems to gleefully feed on arguing for the sake of arguing. Please let this hateful woman waste away from lack of interest, screaming for attention as she fades. Kind of like the Wicked Witch at the end of The Wizard of Oz.
    Three Cheers for the Oz Squad!

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  21. Hey Dan, I'm not sure you actually have to click: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_per_impression.

    In any case I'd love to blow Dr. Amy's blog right out of the blogosphere, but odds are that won't happen. She's just a nasty character, one not worthy of any real effort in my opinion. Her closed minded views won't be swayed even if 100,000 Ds parents comment on her blog. She is just garbage.

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  22. p.s. I did venture over there to find that it appears she has deleted ALL comments on both posts.

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  23. Yeah, the comments are deleted. It stinks, but I'll take it as an admission of defeat. We had our say, and the comments on Oz Squad can live forever.

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  24. That she took the comments down on that thread really irritates me. But it tells a lot about what a maniuplator "it" is.

    http://www.lamaze.org/OnlineCommunity/AskanExpert/tabid/363/aff/5/aft/1082/afv/topic/Default.aspx

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  25. I wonder if we could figure out a way to get an ad about NDSC or NDSS on the site?

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  26. http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2009/1/1/the-birth-blogospheres-agent-provocatuteur.html

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  27. ...paper or plastic...oh, you are adored...

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  28. She is back....she has the comments section up now, but seems to have deleted most of the posts that she doesn't agree with, or that she didn't respond too. I am thinking that the one's she left SHE considers proof of her point of view.

    Stephanie

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  29. wow!!! way to stand up for whats right:) thanks dan:)

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  30. This post is also out of its league. It's in a whole new league of excellence, Dan. I don't even know who Dr Amy Mengele- sorry, Teuteur is and I applaud you. I also know how restrained and polite you've been about a matter of life and death here. I would not be so polite, I fear.

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