World Down Syndrome Day 2018

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In 2012, the United Nations declared March 21 to be World Down Syndrome Day, “to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.”

It’s ironic, because the UN is also a fan of abortion, which kills an alarming number of people with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is the most common human chromosomal disorder. It occurs when a baby has a partial or complete third copy of the 21st chromosome (hence, 3/21 as the date for World Down Syndrome Day). Down syndrome causes mild to profound (usually mild to moderate) intellectual disability and can also cause heart defects, visual or hearing impairment, and other symptoms. The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome has gone from 25 to 60 just since 1983.

60, that is, if they make it to birth. While medical advances have done great things in treating the medical complications that can come with Down syndrome, they have also led to increased prenatal testing. I say “unfortunately” not because I believe prenatal testing is necessarily a bad thing. When it doesn’t put the baby at risk, and the parents use the results to educate and prepare themselves, it’s great.

But when it’s used to screen out children with disabilities from entering the world, it’s a horror on par with eugenics or genocide. That sounds extreme, but with reports last year that has just about “eradicated” Down syndrome due to abortion, I really don’t think it is.

I hate that word, “eradicated.” We eradicated polio. We eradicate bug infestations. We don’t eradicate people. Or we shouldn’t, anyway.

Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

There are many people we can consider the “least” of us – not the least important or the least valuable, but the least powerful. The most vulnerable. It includes the poor, the hungry, the outcast, the sick, the suffering – and it includes the unborn baby with Down syndrome whose parents are so afraid of the diagnosis that they’re considering abortion.

I am not minimizing the difficulties of raising a child with special needs. I coach baseball with the Miracle League, where I work with children with a variety of disabilities, from Down syndrome to autism and cerebral palsy to other developmental disabilities. I see how difficult it can be.

But I also see how the children I coach are children like any other – unique, learning (at whatever speed), sometimes happy and sometimes not so much, and…

Oh, yeah. Human. Children of God. And therefore possessing a valuable life that should never, ever be destroyed.

(Don’t believe me? Check out this video from #WouldntChangeAThing: https://youtu.be/Biex1XR_mpo.)

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