This column was Beth Lindenberg's idea.
I told her story last Thursday. Two years ago, Beth ended her pregnancy when she learned she would deliver a baby with Down's syndrome.
Beth got an abortion at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg in November 1997. If her pregnancy had run into trouble a few months later, she would have been denied the abortion. Bayfront and every other non-religious, non-profit hospital in Pinellas County had formed an association, BayCare, with the bay area's two big Catholic hospitals, St. Anthony's and St. Joseph's. The Catholic view of abortion is the rule at all of them.
I don't think the church has any business imposing its views at hospitals it doesn't own. Neither does Beth. But she said she wanted other voices heard because she wasn't suggesting that anyone who chose to bring a Down's child into the world was wrong. Although national figures indicate that 90 percent of women who know they are carrying a fetus with Down's choose to abort, I heard from others, in e-mails and faxes, who gave birth to Down's children and consider them a great gift.