Ken Connor

Sadly, we have entered a period in our history when children who do not measure up to someone else's subjective standard of perfection are consigned to the ash heap of history. Roe v. Wade has produced a disposable man ethic which holds that if people are less than perfect or unwanted, they may be disposed of with impunity. What will be required in the future to secure our membership in the human family? Will we have to be as smart as a Supreme Court judge or as beautiful as Miss America? Will we have to be able to shoot baskets like Michael Jordan or ride a bike like Lance Armstrong?

And have we become so soft and so self-centered that we can't bear the burden of providing for those less fortunate than ourselves? Are we unwilling to learn the life lessons that come from serving the weak and frail and the handicapped? Have we come to the point where we seek only our own comfort and our own pleasure rather than the good of others? Is there no room in our society for those who are counted among the least of our brethren?

Only time will tell. But in the meantime, Brownback's and Kennedy's bill seeks to dispel the myths associated with disabilities and to let parents of handicapped children know that they are not alone.

There were times in America's past when neither blacks nor women were regarded as full fledged members of the human family. As a result, they too were deprived of the full panoply of rights endowed by the Creator to those created in his image. Those were not the best of times in America's history. Thankfully, however, there were other times when Americans were willing to pay the price to see to it that both blacks and women received the protections they were entitled to by virtue of their humanity. Will we be willing to pay such a price for the unborn and the handicapped in our time? Again, only time will tell.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.