downs-child

End the Down syndrome holocaust today

When you hear the word “holocaust,” most people automatically think of Hitler and the Nazis, slaughtering the Jews. Many people don’t know that there was another group that Hitler targeted first – a dress rehearsal of sorts for the horror that was to come later. The first group of people that Hitler went after was the disabled.

First, there was a law passed in 1933 which required the forced sterilization of people with disabilities, and over 400,000 people were sterilized. Then there was Aktion-T4, which authorized the murders of disabled people. Over 70,000 were killed. They would be placed in buses and taken to killing centers, where they were murdered as soon as they got there under the Nazi euthanasia program.

How many people will learn about that and be horrified? And how many of them know that right now, to this very day, we’re still practicing eugenics against the disabled? This holocaust, though, is a silent one. It’s one that many people won’t hear about, and if they do, they excuse it. The holocaust I’m referring to is the systematic killing of babies with Down syndrome.

Prenatal testing has allowed more and more parents to find out that their children have Down syndrome before the babies are born. Unfortunately, 90% of those parents choose to kill their children, simply because they have an extra chromosome. It’s a horrifying notion, but one that stays, for the most part, under the radar. With the advent of a new test, MaterniT21, which is non-invasive and 99% accurate, there is a very good chance that it will only get worse. And now, the number of babies born with Down syndrome is dropping to a number low enough to have researchers and advocates worried. As more and more women choose to have babies later, the number of Down syndrome births should have risen about 35%. Instead, it has dropped 15%.

For every ten babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome, only one will get to live. Only one will be lucky enough to have parents who love him enough to not murder him because he has an extra chromosome.

Why do so many parents feel they need to kill their baby once they find out that the baby is different? It’s a disturbing question to have to ask, especially when the reality of living with a child who has Down syndrome is so different from what people often picture. One recent study showed what a blessing these children are, and that the diagnosis is not the end of the world. The study found that:

99% of parents say they truly love their son or daughter with Down syndrome; 88% of brothers and sisters say they are better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome themselves spoke up, too: 99% are happy with their lives, and 97% like who they are.

Another study, conducted by the Children’s Hospital in Boston, found that an overwhelming majority of parents of children with Down syndrome reported a more positive outlook on life.

These are not miserable, stupid people cursed with an extra chromosome and doomed to live empty, meaningless lives. These are not families who feel burdened because they have a child who is different. People who have Down syndrome go to school, make friends, work, get married. They are happy people with full lives. So why do parents get this diagnosis and almost immediately turn to abortion? What is it that makes them feel they have no other choice?

One troubling reason: the medical community encourages them to. Several studies have found that physicians often put a negative spin on the results and pressure the women to terminate the pregnancy. And that can weigh heavily on a woman who is confused and scared about what to do.

When I received the diagnosis that my unborn son has Down syndrome, it was an emotional roller coaster, to say the very least. I cried for just about three days straight. Every time I thought of my baby, I would just start crying again. It got better over time, but it was difficult. And I had a lot of fears. What if he isn’t healthy? Will his heart be OK? What will his life be like? Is he going to be made fun of and teased? Will he have friends? Those thoughts went through my head over and over again. And while for me, abortion was never an option to begin with, I was – and am – extraordinarily lucky to have a specialist who is very positive about Down syndrome. He never encouraged me to abort the pregnancy; to the contrary, he actually reassured me that many of his patients don’t. He recommended resources for me so I could educate myself. He mentioned local Down syndrome support groups. And while my mind had been made up the entire time, it was comforting to have such a positive experience.

How many mothers feel the same emotions that I felt, had the same fears that I did, only to have their doctors reinforce those fears? To encourage them to abort? It might sound like an exaggeration, but consider that the two largest advocacy groups for Down syndrome — the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) — do not take a stance on abortion. They do not encourage parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis to keep the baby. If the decision is made to abort, then it is shrugged off as a personal decision and nothing more. And while both groups do phenomenal work on behalf of people with Down syndrome, it is disheartening, to say the least, that they do not advocate for the 90% of babies slaughtered.

There is an attitude, one perpetuated by the culture of death, that for some people, it’s just “too much” to raise a child with Down syndrome. When a pregnant woman gets the diagnosis and expresses doubt that she can handle it, it is not uncommon for people to agree with her, to say that she’s doing nothing wrong by aborting. They’ll even say it’s better for the child, because who would choose to live a life with a disability? Better dead than to have Down syndrome. What they won’t do is point out to her that the vast majority of parents with Down syndrome children are happy and love their kids, that people who have Down syndrome are happy with their lives. They won’t be told that children with Down syndrome are such a joy that there are very long waiting lists to adopt a child with Down syndrome.

Thankfully, there is at least one organization dedicated to fighting for the right of these people to live: the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life. And in honor of today, World Down Syndrome Day, they made a video asking mothers of children with Down syndrome what they would tell themselves if they could go back to before they had children. The responses made me laugh and cry.

These are the things we should be spreading in those moments of fear and confusion. And even for those of us who don’t have someone with Down syndrome in our lives, we still need to stand up and fight for the right of these people to live. To not be killed just because they are different. So today, whether you are personally affected or not, I ask you to take a stand. Take the time to learn about Down syndrome, and to educate others. Resolve to do all that you can to stand up for everyone’s right to live – everyone’s, no matter how many chromosomes he or she may have.

  • John

    Wow! Great article! Its such a shame that so many of these children are killed before they can ever see the light of day. Their parents don’t know what they’re missing out on. Thanks for writing this, and congratulations on your second child! I’m sure he will be loved and cherished forever.

  • Jkschott

    Thank you for sharing your story and the story of only 1 out of every 10 Down Syndrome babies are being killed.  It seems our culture would rather spend money on Hunger Games and continue on a path that will eventually leave no one acceptable because in reality one life is just as special as another.  May God bless you courage in sharing His truth to a culture bent on denying it and even persecuting it.

  • dancingcrane

    My sis Tracy has Downs, and has always been a blessing to our family. If one of us felt bad, she’d seek us out to give comfort. She taught us how to be more loving. Can’t imagine life without her, and don’t want to.

  • The_INFIDEL_protecting_USA

    When I see one of these children, I’ll walk up and talk to them as if they were my best friend and they just flat out love it and yes it scares the parents for a moment until they figure out what’s going on and I’m no threat but they love it, NO LIE! They bring out either the best or the worst of us. Gods little angels they are!!!

  • The_INFIDEL_protecting_USA

    WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE GIVE A DOWN SYNDROME CHILD A HUG FOR ME TODAY AND TELL THEM THEY HAVE A FRIEND!

  • Fritzgeorge99

    I know a man named David, He is one of the nicest people that you will ever meet. He has down syndrome.i have a question for all those parents out there who have or are about to kill their own flesh and blood simply because they have an extra chromosome. Why would you do such a thing, killing a baby is murder, why? There are about 3400 babies with down syndrome born each year.
    Why?

  • annielove

    I have a dear friend with Downs. I was hired to “help” her with her behavior. The first thing she taught me, was that she knows how to behave…she just doesn’t always want to. So much like me! I learned a lot from her about how much alike we are. She loves to live outside the box, but will follow the rules that are most important . She loves to have fun, and enjoys a good hearty laugh.She knows the importance of a good cry, and highly regards her privacy. My friend knows how to set boundaries, but doesn’t always like to respect them. She will reluctantly share those items that she loves most, and will willingly share those things that are not all that important to her. She knows the difference between responding appropriately, and coping and attitude…and does both quite well. My friend HATES to apologize, yet so easily forgives. She loves beautiful clothes, shoes, purses, and jewelry. She loves it when life goes her way, and really does not appreciate change all that much. She is a hard worker, and purposes to focus on the things that interest her. She loves kind attractive men, and blows off the ones who do not appeal to her.She does not trust easily, and approaches most situations cautiously. She knows that she will not automatically “fit in” to every situation, but appreciates the love and acceptance of those with whom she is comfortable.

    My dear friend is gentle, loving and kind. One day I was advocating on her behalf, and the other party who also wanted the best for her was in disagreement with me.  My friend did not appear to be paying attention, but waited until we were alone to indicate her awareness of the situation. With the few words in life that she chooses to use, she asked (gently placing her hand on my shoulder),
     “did you cry?” She knew that we both wanted the best for her, and that I would likely shed a tear or two out of frustration.

    There are no words to adequately describe the joy that this young lady has brought to the lives of those with whom she has selectively shared her talents and abilities…but generously shared her love.

     

  • scientificmom

    We have 2 (of 3) children with cystic fibrosis, and when we announced a new pregnancy, I was actually asked if we would be testing for CF for the purpose of termination.  That same person wanted to know how it was we already had a 2nd one with CF?  In some communities it is simply assumed that if the amnio comes back positive for anything, you terminate and start over.  I’ve even seen women who spend thousands of dollars and try for years to concieve with IVF and the like, only to terminate because the child has an “abnormality.”  They are willing to give up the chance of ever having a child at all, rather than accept a “disabled” one!  These people are truly living in denial if they think ANY child is perfect.  :)

    • guest

      I was born

    • Megret

      I am the youngest of five children and my closest brother to me had CF; he died in the 70’s.  All he wanted to do was graduate from high school and he did!  Thanks to all the sputum and blood work done every 6 weeks CF patients aren’t given the label of “terminal” any more.  It is amazing where medical research can go.  My youngest daughter is DS and I have no idea what my life would be like without her.  We all need to remember that some “diseases” are genetically borne, CF being one of them, both parents need the gene.  DS naturally ocurrs when a person is being created vs. the genes already being there to help create a person. 

      Also, remember that tests can be deceptive, I know more than one person whose tests have come in as carrying a child with Down Syndrome and the child is not DS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=703340582 Marla Lee

    City of Fresno, CA targeted Down’s syndrome man for annihilation in order
    to seize his properties for water scam. Then altered records to cover up what
    they did – perjury to deny, followed by death threats against me for exposing
    their operation!

    ===> http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=186086281424500

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.cassidy Christopher J Cassidy

    Cassy, found you (and followed you) through Mark Steyn’s Twitter account.  We have 3 kids, our daughter Faith is the oldest, she will be 5 in June, and she has Down syndrome.  We did not know prenatally, but as Christians it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.  It threw us for a loop too, but she is just an AMAZING little girl and she is blessed beyond measure.  She has very few delays, cognitively and physically, and is like most typical girls her age (for good and bad – often she seems as if she’s “5 going on 15″).  I’m a Realtor but I am starting a speaking ministry to go out and educate people about the new prenatal testing and about the statistics you mentioned.  God bless you and your family, and God bless your husband, and thank him from our family for his service.

  • Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA

    Thank you Cassy for this article, and all the best for the last months of your pregnancy! Please note that the newly formed Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA, dedicated to research, care and advocacy on behalf of those who have Down syndrome, is willing to express its opposition to the singling out of the Down syndrome population for termination.

  • Alliebruski

    Thank this for this article.

  • msn

    We adopted our downs daughter in 1986 and she as been such a joyous experience,
    captivated all the family with how she as developed and become a seperate
    personality.Who as got to grips with technology(TV DVD Computers Mobile Phone etc)
    with ease and enjoys a good social life at home and with friends!And is at the moment on holiday in Benidorm !