Opinion

Chloe’s Law: Because being different shouldn’t be a death sentence

child-downs-syndrome

Are you grateful to Hollywood? It sounds like you should be. According to anthropologist Grant McCracken, Hollywood has blessed us with “an accomplishment of some real significance.” In fact, McCracken insists that Hollywood and the public school system are “the most effective players” when it comes to battling “entrenched hostility, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and xenophobia.” To benefit from some of this valuable moral guidance (and because it was raining), I decided to watch the 2008 Hollywood blockbuster Tropic Thunder.

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Ben Stiller, and Jack Black, the film’s content does seem to suggest that Hollywood is no longer a fan of racial animus, hatred of Jews, dislike for gays, or mistrust towards xenomorphs. Mocking people with developmental challenges? Oh no, apparently they’re still fair game. The movie includes an ostensibly humorous scene in which an actor is criticized for having gone “full retard” in his portrayal of a disabled individual. The character is also referred to as a “moron,” “imbecile,” stupid ass” and “the dumbest motherf–ker who ever lived.”

After hearing this dialogue, I felt like Grant McCracken’s “most effective players” could improve their game a little. On the other hand, perhaps we should show some gratitude to Hollywood, as it could be a lot worse. After all, people with disabilities were just being laughed at in this movie. In contrast, the abortion lobby actually wants to see them dead.

Famed anti-theist Richard Dawkins was asked earlier this year what a pregnant woman should do if the baby she’s carrying has Down syndrome. His response? “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” While the reply made headlines, Dawkins’ view seems to fairly common: studies show that the overwhelming majority of children with Down syndrome are aborted upon discovery.

And it’s not just those with down syndrome who are put to death. As Live Action author Nancy Flanders has reported, children with cystic fibrosis often meet the same fate. This seems to be due in part to the belief that children with CF are guaranteed to have a terrible quality of life, something that simply isn’t true. Recently, Nancy highlighted the stories of athlete Matt Mitchell and activist Claire Wineland, two high school students who are defying stereotypes about what life with CF looks like.

The push to abort those with health issues can even lead to collateral victims, as a woman in Australia found out two years ago. The woman was carrying twins but was told one of them had a congenital heart defect that would necessitate extensive medical treatment. She elected to abort the afflicted baby, but learned that medical staff at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne had actually killed her healthy child instead.

One way that pro-lifers can address this problem is by supporting legislation like Pennsylvania’s Down Syndrome Prenatal Education Act. Also known as “Chloe’s Law,” it requires that when a doctor makes a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, he or she must also inform the child’s mother about the full range of available support along with facts about the quality of life that children with Down syndrome often enjoy. The law’s namesake is Chloe Kondrich, an 11 year-old who watched Gov. Tom Corbett sign the bill into law and then took time to read to him.

Similar legislation has been passed in Kentucky and Massachusetts. Unfortunately, these laws are under attack by pro-abortion advocates such as Pennsylvania state Sen. Mike Stack. The state senator called Chloe’s Law “shameful” and said that such efforts “must stop.” As pro-lifers, we should make it clear to Mr. Stack and other opponents that being different isn’t a crime and it certainly shouldn’t carry a death sentence. And, since Hollywood hasn’t taken up the issue, it’s up to us to pick up the slack.

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