“Rare”

Rare” is a play about people who have Down Syndrome. The actors also have Down Syndrome. Nothing upsets me more than abortion for disability. And seeing as 90 percent of Downs babies are aborted, it’s not surprising that this play has a pro-life theme, asking mothers not to kill their unborn children:

Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech, for example, segues into a scene about women who choose to have abortions rather than delivering children with Down syndrome.

Nicholas Herd, an emotive dancer who treats his homosexuality in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way, notes the rage he feels about that. Then, Nausbaum recites a letter she has written to pregnant women urging them to “be brave.” This seems like the slightly hair-raising point of the show: Here we are, dancing, singing and sharing – please, allow us to exist.

But the implications aren’t probed. If it’s cowardly for a woman to abort a child she doesn’t think she can handle raising because it has Down syndrome, then how is it right to abort a baby she thinks she can’t support for more prosaic financial reasons?

Rare may, indeed, be a rarity – a pro-life play. (Perhaps Canadian theatre’s most notable lack of diversity is in terms of ideology.)

Admirable that this writer did a review. Admirable that he is asking some of the right questions, yes. But note how he can’t seem to understand that aborting for Downs is wrong, as is aborting for more prosaic financial reasons. It’s like he’s coming at the issue backwards. He thinks abortion for any reason (example: financial) is OK. Now he’s faced with PEOPLE who are acting in a play, asking mothers to let their people live, so to speak. And faced with this, he does what any decent human being would do–acknowledge their right to exist. Yet if abortion for “prosaic financial reasons” is OK, why should abortion of people with Downs not be?

I’m hoping he’ll ponder his way to clarity on this.

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