By Leticia Velasquez
Editor’s note. Every January 22, prior to the March for Life, it is now National Right to Life’s privilege to host a gathering of “Keep Infants with Down Syndrome” (KIDS) at its offices. The March gives families of children with Down syndrome a chance to gather and represent their children and all unborn babies with Down syndrome. They first meet at NRLC for sandwiches refreshments and then walk together in solidarity. In anticipation of the 39th commemoration of Roe v. Wade, I asked Leticia, co-founder of KIDS, to write about last year’s gathering.
On January 22, 2011, I arrived in Washington with my three daughters Gabbi, Bella, and Christina, accompanied by my friend pro-life physician Dr. Judith Mascolo and two of her daughters. We arrived early at the Mall in Washington to find our places behind the Speakers’ Platform in time to be interviewed by EWTN show host Teresa Tomeo. We spoke about our daughters with Down syndrome and what a blessing they are, the founding of KIDS, and then Teresa asked Dr. Judy what it was like to be a pro-life physician in the culture of death.
After our interview, we met members of the Order of Alhambra, Fatima Caravan #265, based at Catholic University. The Order of Alhambra is a Catholic fraternal order which assists persons with disabilities.
Members escorted us to the National Right to Life Headquarters where we had Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, (R-WA) greet our KIDS members and discuss her work in the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus.
I had the honor of introducing Rep McMorris Rodgers to Valerie Guilloux, of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA. The Foundation carries on the work of the famous French Geneticist who discovered trisomy 21, the cause of Down syndrome, in 1959.
Dr. Lejeune was heartbroken to see his discovery used to develop pre-natal testing which is now responsible for the 92% abortion rate of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb. He devoted the remainder of his life until his death in 1994 to finding a cure for Down syndrome. His family began the Jerome Lejeune Foundation in 1996 to continue that research. and treatment of individuals with extra chromosomes.
KIDS members were treated to a delicious lunch provided by staff at National Right to Life, and warmed by the food, coffee, and good conversation, we emerged into the Mall to represent a group targeted for abortion; unborn babies with Down syndrome. Inspired and a bit frozen, we parted company on Capitol Hill promising to return this year to represent our wonderful children, till our fellow Americans appreciate that they are gifts from God and give them their right to life.
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