The Miracle of Margaret

Patricia Bauer with her husband, Edward Muller, and their children, Margaret and Johnny Muller, last June at Margaret’s high school graduation in Massachusetts. (Courtesy Christina Overland)

America? It’s like we’re living in 1930s Germany. Rising fascism, suppression of Christianity, hate crime laws, euthanasia and a climate more open to the prescribed disposal of the ‘undesirables’. Case in point, prenatal testing is now pushing parents to see the abortion of a disabled fetus more their duty and not just their right. Ethicists even go so far as to say it is a parent’s “moral obligation” to terminate pregnancy if the child is deigned disabled. Poor child. Why subject them to a life of inconvenience? That would be morally reprehensible. I suppose it’s better to just torture them slowly by pulling them apart, cutting them up, shredding them, scraping them out, crushing their skulls, burning them alive or suctioning them to pieces.

Tragically, it is estimated that as many as 90% of those babies who have been prenatally tested with Down syndrome are aborted. But there are some miracle stories out there and thankfully, Margaret is a living testament to the compassionate mores of her parents. Patricia Bauer, Margaret’s mom and a former writer for the Washington Post, has written a stirring article addressing some of the cultural roadblocks they face as a family and we as a nation.

She writes,

Imagine. As Margaret bounces through life, especially out here in the land of the perfect body, I see the way people look at her: curious, surprised, sometimes wary, occasionally disapproving or alarmed. I know that most women of childbearing age that we may encounter have judged her and her cohort, and have found their lives to be not worth living.

To them, Margaret falls into the category of avoidable human suffering. At best, a tragic mistake. At worst, a living embodiment of the pro-life movement. Less than human. A drain on society. That someone I love is regarded this way is unspeakably painful to me.

This view is probably particularly pronounced here in blue-state California, but I keep finding it everywhere, from academia on down. At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy League ethics program. In answer to another guest’s question, he said he believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a disability, because it was immoral to subject a child to the kind of suffering he or she would have to endure. (When I started to pipe up about our family’s experience, he smiled politely and turned to the lady on his left.)

While there are less and less children with Down syndrome being born today—not because of the miracle of medicine but because of the narcissism of man—Margaret is alive, beautiful and productive, and a high school grad who is attending college. Just imagine what this family—this world—would have been like without her.

And what of America? Not so much the land of the free anymore, and, as it turns out, we gotta be a lot more brave just to make this our home these days.


6 thoughts on “The Miracle of Margaret

  1. Mandy Houk says:

    I read about Margaret last summer, I believe, and was so touched by her story. Thank you for reminding me of it and for adding your wonderful insights.

    (And thank you for your encouraging note on my blog! You made my week!)


  2. Alan Powell says:

    Pasture Scott,
    It is not our place to determine the value of a human life. I could make a list a mile long of “disabled” people that the world would throw away, but I will list only three.
    1. Jim Abbott has thrown a no-hitter, won Olympic gold in 1988, and been on Letterman. He is one of a handful of professional players who never once put on a minor-league uniform, jumping instead straight from college baseball to the big league. He is also the only player in major league baseball who was born with one hand.
    2. Heather Whitestone: Miss America for 1995. Miss Whitestone was the first person with a disability ever to be selected as Miss America. Heather had been deaf since the age of 18 months. Doctors told Heather’s parents that she would never read beyond the third grade level, nor learn to speak. Heather’s special talent for the Miss America talent portion of the contest was ballet.
    3. Stevie Wonder – A very famous singer and entertainer who was born blind potentially due to an oxygen problem when he was in the incubator. Despite his disability rendering him completely without vision, he has gone on to have one of the most successful careers in the music business. He has recorded over 30 top hits and won 21 Grammy Awards.

    Alan Powell


  3. marie says:

    My boss has a child with Down Syndrome. He had the destructive side of Downs and was quite a handful for them as a child. The Lord led them to certain nutrients that totally changed his personality and he is, as my boss told me the other day, “the easiest to deal with child they have at the moment” and very sweet! (He’s now 15,they have four children).
    My boss and his ex-wife (they are divorced now) were an inspiration as they fought for their son’s life when he was born with multiple ailments and had to have surgery.
    Thank God for those who see value in ALL God’s children.


  4. J.Thomas says:

    “All Gods children”.
    That’s the way I see it.

    And the value of our lives is, according to our Lord, PRICELESS!


  5. Evelyn Huth says:

    Pastor Scott:
    This blessed me greatly! I have a mentally handicapped sister that is but a few years younger than myself who through the years has been tested and classified as having facalties and abilities of a 12 year old child. As her sister I am familiar with much of the struggles that came up through the years and how my parents dealt with them. Up until about 4 years ago-I saw more than man’s hand on her life though and the impact that it has for those who need to have their eyes opened. (that was me). 4 years ago she came to visit my family here in GA after a visit at a correctional facility where our brother had been incarcarated. The clarity that comes from this time has aways remained with me.
    Christel, could find no comfort from the visual of having seen our brother and then not having the understanding of what was happening to him. It turns out that she was given a cross that my brother had made that the warden passed on to her as they left the complex. She brought that to may attention when she came asking if “her brother is OK?” “The WHY? My brother OK?” was overwelming as she spoke about it- but then she simply lifted her eyes (and I believe her heart) to the heavens and clasped that cross and somehow knew that-that is where her help comes from. In her thought langauge-which God reads and knows -she expressed the knowing that “God You die?” and “My brother OK?” In a way that opened these eyes that were blind. Chris, to the best of my knowledge, has never been taught about Jesus or God or prayer.
    Christel’s life was used to move this cold heart from a place of complaceny and retirement where the enemy had taken up residence. From that day on I am reminded of how her broken heart and life and what I’ve witnessed as many thinking and shunning her “undesirable condition” was used and I believe- will continue to be used. An overlooked life, a choosen vessel, the reality of God moving to the sincere cry and concern of a pure heart-the coming of His Kingdom!!!!!


  6. LJ says:

    True and inspiring story of child with never-before-reported prenatal diagnosis of Tetrasomy 8p mosaic with down syndrome:


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