Issues

Mom of son with Down syndrome: He is “a joy”

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I have never, ever regretted that he was born with an extra chromosome. He’s exactly the way he is. If I could wave a wand and make Conner different, I would not even consider it.

Those are the words of Shelley Moore, a loving mother of a son with Down syndrome who was recently featured in a Texas newspaper. Moore said she shared her son’s story with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram because she wanted “to help other parents, single or not, to be encouraged about the job you have been given and the reward that comes with that job.”

Women who are told their preborn child has Down syndrome are often pressured into an abortion, something disability advocates call a horrible and violent form of discrimination. A 2012 academic review of published literature on abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in the United States found that more than half of preborn children with Down syndrome are aborted. Nine hospital-based studies showed the rate of abortion to be as high as 85% when a preborn child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.

“Whatever the statistical realities may be, the number of those who choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis is far too high,” wrote Mark Bradford, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA, in a report for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “It should be none. To paraphrase the recently deceased disabilities rights activist, Dr. Adrienne Asch, the only thing prenatal diagnosis can provide is a first impression of who a child will be. Making such a radical decision as to end the life of a child based upon a first impression is a most horrible and violent form of discrimination. It has no place in an American society that is committed to ending discrimination in any form and that has intensified that effort for persons with disabilities over the last 25 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990.”

Moore’s son Conner David, not only has Down syndrome but heart issues and autism. The love that this 50 year-old single mother has for her 20 year-old son jumped off the pages as I read through the Telegram’s report. It was apparent that reporter Marty Sabota was also moved by the love between mother and son. Sabota described it this way:

[Moore] changes her son’s diaper, feeds him and talks to him in a loving language that only the two of them fully understand.

“Connor is the love of my life,” Moore said.

Connor has had four open heart surgeries and has received three pacemakers. Despite the fact that he requires 24 hour care, his mother calls him “a joy to be around everyday” and says he is a “special little gift.” Her career as an American Airlines flight attendant gives her the flexibility to spend a lot of time with Connor.

“Parenting a special-needs child is not an easy task. It takes every ounce of your being,” said Moore. “[… ]What this precious boy gives to me is far beyond anything I could have dreamed of. […] he is my everything. My only child, the circle of life ends here for us.”

Connor faces some serious heart issues but Moore said they have seen many “medical miracles.”

“This boy is beautiful,” she told Sabota. “I see God in him every single day. How many parents have been this lucky?”

Pro-lifers in Ohio are pushing lawmakers to make it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion because of Down syndrome. The New York Times reports that in 2013, North Dakota made it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion because of fetal genetic anomalies, including Down syndrome. Indiana and South Dakota considered similar laws in 2015 and Missouri is set to consider such a law in 2016.

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