By Anna Visser, Right to Life of Michigan Director of Communication/Education
Since the 1980s, October has been Down Syndrome Awareness Month. For the past five decades, October has been a time for the abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome to be celebrated.
Not just this month, but every day, we celebrate the accomplishment of babies living with Down syndrome. Unborn children with Down syndrome are aborted at a horribly high rate of 67%, according to an average of studies. The University of South Carolina examined several studies and found a range of 61% to 93% of babies prenatally diagnosed are aborted.
While many families share that their children with Down syndrome are a blessing and a joy in their lives, doctors frequently scare parents into abortion by predicting extreme and unrealistic futures that are filled with struggles and burdens.
Abortion is the go-to for doctors when their patients find out that they are carrying a child with Down syndrome. This dehumanizes people with disabilities and devalues life in general. Down Syndrome Awareness Month strives to remind people that people with this disability have hopes and dreams just like anybody else. They have jobs, go to school, get married, and participate in the Olympics. They can sing and dance.
Down syndrome means that the baby carries an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. While it can be scary for parents to receive a diagnosis like this due to the unknown future, each and every child brought into this world, extra chromosome or not, deserves to live, to love, and to be loved.
The U.S. is moving towards the practices of Iceland and Denmark where almost 100% of unborn babies are aborted due to a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. These countries use prenatal genetic testing to determine the diagnosis and have normalized a society that doesn’t value all human life. Instead of seeing the joy and blessing of raising a child who happens to have an extra chromosome, they see it as a burden, as suffering.
We hope that during this month of awareness, people can learn to accept those with Down syndrome and see that they have the right to life just as much as anybody else.
For real-life stories from families who were faced with a Down syndrome diagnosis and chose life, click here.