“Today” segment proves why so many babies with Down syndrome are aborted

A beautiful gift

I’ve written before about the Down syndrome holocaust happening in our country and around the world. For every ten babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome, only one will get to live. The other nine will be killed, simply because they have an extra chromosome.

Many people blame the prenatal testing. But that isn’t the problem – the tests just provide information. The problem is how our society views Down syndrome. Consider this perfect example, where a couple reveals the results of their prenatal test on the Today show. Matt Lauer congratulates them on their good news, and then the mother remarks that they’re “safe” from Down syndrome.

That’s poor word choice, at the very best.

Not many people would pray for a child with special needs. I understand that. But to phrase Down syndrome so negatively is exactly why people feel that getting a negative result is “good” news, or that Down syndrome is something that they need to be “safe” from. This implication that Down syndrome is a curse to be avoided is disturbing and insulting. The Today show had an opportunity to do something good here, and instead, they perpetuated the same negative stereotypes.

People use Down syndrome as an insult. They say people with disabilities lead meaningless lives. People talk about making mercy-killings of the disabled legal. Parents have even filed wrongful birth lawsuits because they had babies born with Down syndrome. And now, we have Matt Lauer giving a couple the “good news” that they are “safe” from Down syndrome on a television show that reaches millions of viewers.

And we wonder why so many mothers abort their baby after a prenatal diagnosis?

We need to stop defining children by the number of chromosomes they have, or by the diagnosis of a disability. That doesn’t affect their worth. Parenting, and loving your child, should not be reliant upon having a “perfect” child.

  • JenniB

    Thank you, Cassy. Maybe I should have prayed to have a child with a disability, because the two I have are such great joys. I can’t imagine my life without them, and their siblings love them so much. It’s sad that people define one another so often now through “usefulness” rather than love.

  • Andrew R

    “It’s not that I’m in favor of it, it’s that this is the next scientific step, it was going to happen. And I think for couples who say ‘Look, it’s not the gender issue, it’s we want to rule out, some problems are incompatible with life, and yes, we want to know about Down’s syndrome’.”

    “Some problems are incompatible with life”. You have to wonder if they ever hear themselves…

  • Laura P.

    Wow. It’s so sad to see how Down Syndrome is something people are afraid of and think is a terrible thing. We’re all different, people.

  • Wow You people are seriously delusional, hey why not surgically remove their eyes so they can be even more fun and dependant on you…

    • Peter

      This is adult talk Kidd, you’ll understand when you’re older.

    • Coheren’t.

  • Jonathan Manring

    Um, I am strongly pro-life, and I think it is terrible that children are routinely aborted because they have Down’s Syndrome, but Down’s Syndrome is not a positive thing. It is legitimate to be happy that your child will not be disabled. Children with Down’s Syndrome are wonderful and their life is every bit as valuable as anyone else’s, but we don’t wish Down’s Syndrome on them. We would hope that they would be perfectly healthy. This is not inconsistent with being pro-life and to say otherwise just makes our movement look bad.

    • Therein lies the issue – you view disability as a negative thing, rather than accepting that all life is precious. That makes your movement look bad. Viewing disability as “not a positive thing” is a reflection of your own attitude towards the disabled, it says nothing about accepting them for who they are.

      • Sherry

        I am a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, I love my son. I loved him before he was born, before he was diagnosed, his down syndrome is not why I love him and not having it would not change my love for him, but the reality is that having Down Syndrome is a disability. It is survivable, it is not as all awful as this society thinks. I do not want any child aborted for any reason, but to say it is not a sadness, is to deny the reality that having a disability that affects muscle tone, speech, intellect, capacity to father children, teeth, heart, and results in delays in development is a cross…and that would be denying the reality.

  • Cassy, my friend Eileen Haupt and I founded KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome) to call attention to this toxic attitude. We march every year in the March for Life and meet with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers whose son Cole has Ds. Eileen was bothered by that show so she penned a response here.

  • TM

    It would of been nice if the reaction was alittle kinder. Its like saying we failed the test because our children were born with Down syndrome. Just because you “passed” the test does not guarantee perfect health for the rest of their lives. If something does happen down the road does that mean that they failed as parents, or they will just get rid of the child because it is not perfect anymore. Hey at least I know our daughters teenage years will not bring on any of the usual shocks that the kids these days are doing. I certainly dont have to worry about her getting pregnant, drinking, drugs, overdose, cutting ect. Yes, its nice to have “perfect” in the beginning, but at least I dont have any surprises coming my way. I like the road we are on. Shes kind, loving, happy, non judgemental, doesnt mind what color, race, nationality you are – she accepts you for who you are. . . and she always will. I like that. I’m very very happy with that.

    • I don’t mean to be negative, but the fact that your daughter has Down syndrome doesn’t mean she’s not going to get pregnant, drink, take drugs, overdose, or cut herself. It may mean that you’ll have more direct supervision over her than you’d have of a teenager who didn’t have Down syndrome and therefore she’ll have less opportunity to do these things, but people with Down syndrome can make bad decisions and/or have mental health problems like anyone else. I’m sure your daughter’s a great kid, but Down syndrome = no “usual shocks” teenage problems just isn’t universally true.

  • These negative attitudes towards those with Down syndrome are a reflection of a broken society that fails to recognise the inherent dignity of all human life. Such views simply reflect the attitude of those expressing them, they have nothing to do with the actual person concerned.

    Thank you Cassy for being a positive voice for our community.

    • peach

      Because society’s view of people with Down syndrome used to be much more compassionate….(pssst, no it wasn’t).

      • Julia

        Well, at least they didn’t murder 90% of them, as they do now.

  • This is why I’m so nervous about the genetic research they’re doing on autism. It’s never “just” someone else a society thinks it can throw away…

  • So sad, so negative. Children with DS are a pleasure to be around. Just to meet them in the street brightens my day, always ready with a smile.

  • Cathy K.

    My nephew RJ is five years old and has DS. I would love to introduce him to the ignorant and insulting couple who were sooo excited their future baby was “safe” from Down Syndrome. I think the WHOLE DS community everywhere would agree. Hopefully their perfect child wont be so judgmental towards his future special needs classmates!