Wednesday, July 11, 2012

International Down Syndrome Coalition

The International Down Syndrome Coalition (IDSC) is a religiously- and politically-neutral organization dedicated to supporting individuals with Down syndrome and their families.  According to IDSC,
When a mother finds out her baby has Down syndrome, she needs support and helpful information.  What sometimes happens, instead, is that professionals, family members, and friends will pressure her to terminate her pregnancy. 

Whether you are pro life, pro choice, or neutral, it is easy to see that this should not be happening to women.  It lowers the dignity of the mother, and the dignity of the child, when people infer that a child should not exist, simply because the baby has Down syndrome. 
I'd be interested to know more about how many fetuses with Down syndrome are aborted based on external pressures, versus how many are aborted because the mother freely chooses abortion.

Because all abortions result in the death of the fetus, some people feel all abortions are equal, but I think there's something especially sad and objectionable about aborting an originally-wanted pregnancy because of a prenatal trisomy 21 diagnosis.  That is too like eugenics for me.

If it seems that way to me, I can only imagine how it seems to people with Down syndrome.  How would you feel if you knew that the vast majority of the time, when people find out their progeny have the condition you have, they decide to have them killed?

IDSC features several "self-advocates"--people with Down syndrome advocating for themselves and those like them.  One such self-advocate, Bridget Brown, wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post describing her perspective on the high abortion rate of fetuses with Down syndrome:
Dear Editor,
I am a young woman with Down Syndrome. I am so sad to hear about all the babies with Down Syndrome who are aborted.  I am so grateful that I was not aborted because I have a full and wonderful life!
The world needs to know that I do not “suffer” from Down Syndrome. I believe in the sacred dignity of ALL people. AND most people I know with disabilities have full and productive lives.
I learned about what Hitler did during the Holocaust. He killed many people because he did not think they had the right to live. He learned how to kill by killing people with disabilities first. My heart broke when I learned about this at the Holocaust museum.
It seems to me we are doing the same thing to children with disabilities today in our country. I think this is like genocide - the systematic killing of a whole people or nation.
I wonder why we think Hitler was so horrible when we are doing the same thing he did? My heart breaks again when I think that I might be the last generation of people with Down Syndrome. The world will never again benefit from our gifts.
Even though I am discouraged - I will continue to hold hope for people with disabilities. And I will continue to pray for all the people who think we don’t have the right to live. 
Thank you,
Bridget Brown {Self advocate}

Learn more about IDSC at their website, on Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest.


Leticia said...

I am so thrilled to be working with Diane Grover and Briget Brown to bring about a society where respect for genetic diversity equals the respect for racial diversity.

Ronald McD-Nozzle said...

We love kids with down syndrome, you can assume that our political opponents would have just aborted them, because they support legalized abortion. We still don't believe in any sort of welfare for single parents, because we're republicans.