Today is World Down Syndrome Day. It is an important day because it brings awareness to children who are special. They are unique, loving and precious human beings with a right to life, just like those of us already born.
Frank Stephens, a young man with Down syndrome, testified on Capitol Hill that his life is worth living and his presentation was astounding to watch. He is a human being making a valuable contribution to society. But Mr. Stephens could just as easily have been aborted.
When we say and write words, we need to be careful about what we say and of whom we speak. Susan Reimer is a retired Baltimore Sun columnist. In September, 2008 Sarah Palin was on the campaign trail running for VP. At that time, Ms. Reimer wrote this:
“You want to look good to the evangelicals?
Choose a running mate with a Down syndrome child.”
Ms. Reimer could have been critical of Sarah Palin’s political views. Instead, she resorted to a personal attack by crafting a heartless statement about Down syndrome without consideration for Sarah Palin’s feelings. Reimer then continued:
“Does McCain think we will be so grateful for a skirt on the ticket that we won't notice that she's anti-abortion, a member of the NRA and thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution?”
Being a member of the NRA is not a crime. Creationism should be taught alongside evolution. Opposing viewpoints encourages open debate, which is a good thing. But the militant left is hostile to any agenda that conflicts with their own because their arguments fall flat. They are most vulnerable when their adherents switch sides. They preach open dialogue but only for themselves.
Ms. Reimer was not alone at the time. Sarah Palin was insulted and berated because she is pretty, dismissed as being “folksy” and “homespun” and criticized for her decision not to abort her beautiful son.
One of the more egregious attempts at denigrating Palin’s character appeared in a lengthy Vanity Fair piece in September 2010 entitled: “Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury,” by Michael Joseph Gross. His vituperative rant against Palin resulted in a backlash – Gross got plenty of pushback at the time – and he made an error by identifying another Down syndrome child as Trig Palin. Gross’ tone was disrespectful and the absence of a sincere apology afterward was appalling.
In 2014, a woman posted on Twitter expressing concerns and “a real ethical dilemma” she would face if she had a baby born with Down syndrome. Dr. Richard Dawkins responded to her with the following tweet:
“Abort and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
If Dr. Dawkins really wanted her to have a free choice, he’d remain silent. Isn’t a woman able to make a decision without interference? Apparently not. And when in doubt, push the woman toward abortion. He later apologized for causing the controversy with his tweet.
Recently, Washington Post Deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus wrote that she supports “choice” for Down syndrome, even as she indicates she “respects and admires” families that welcome these babies into their lives. Still, Ms. Marcus would not make that choice. She wrote:
“I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted. That was not the choice I would have made.” At the same time she admitted that the Gerber baby is “awfully cute.” It seems her words are filled with contradictions.
Ms. Marcus can believe whatever she wants. The fact is that testing for fetal “abnormalities” is routine and with so many women opting for the non-invasive blood test, a specific group of people are at risk of being eliminated by choice. In Iceland, the government hopes to eradicate Down syndrome children, as if this is an achievement. The abortion rates for these children have climbed in other countries as well, including the United States. That is reality and that is eugenics, plain and simple.
Going on the offense is a necessary tactic if you want to impose “choice” on a specific group of people deemed unfit to live. It’s a tactic many atheists use. It is more often atheists who support death decisions, set term limits for the elderly, and propose qualifications on what makes life worth living.
One thing that stands out in the voices of the pro-choice crowd is that they really don’t believe in choice at all. They say they respect mothers who decide to give birth and raise Down syndrome babies. What they really mean is to control legislative policy via the courts and mandate legal abortion, even when an entire group of people may be wiped out of existence in the process.
Believers know this is wrong, dangerous thinking with terrible consequences. Only G-d knows our ultimate purpose. Recognizing that G-d granted each one of us the possession of a unique soul means demonstrating our ideas, thoughts and emotions with vigilance. As caretakers and custodians of our bodies we are supposed to safeguard and treat them with respect. And we must extend that respect to others, whether they reside outside or inside our bodies.
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