By Karen Cross
Armed with prenatal diagnosis, fearful of malpractice suits, and ignorant about the potential, many physicians encourage parents whose children are prenatally diagnosed with special needs to “consider their options,” specifically meaning abort their child.
Abortion has been legal 39 years. An entire generation has been taught by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, that life can be discarded. Pregnant and unmarried? Have an abortion. Too many children? Again, abort. Abortion—the all-purpose solution to child abuse, poverty, and overpopulation.
Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist who fiercely believed it was society’s obligation to consciously be “weeding out the unfit…preventing the birth of defectives or of those who would become defective.”
Yet, those who become parents of children with special needs know better. They know their own lives are deeply enhanced by the blessings bestowed upon them by their child’s presence in their lives. They, the parents, are the recipients of unmitigated joy and unconditional love.
In recent years, stories of several high profile officeholders with special needs children have been prominent in the media. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.) have embraced their children who were diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, whose son Cole is now four, started the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and has introduced “the Centers of Excellence in Down Syndrome Translational Research Act” and the “Down Syndrome Research Resources Act.”
Most recently in the news has been the story about Bella, presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s 3½ year old daughter, who has Trisomy 18, an often fatal condition caused by a chromosomal defect. Fewer than 10% of children with Trisomy 18 survive to their first birthdays.
Senator Santorum and his wife, Karen, are devoted to Bella. In a web video, Santorum reminded us, “I look at the simplicity and love she emits and it’s clear to me we’re the disabled ones.”
Leticia Velasquez, author of “A Special Mother is Born,” co-founded KIDS with Eileen Haupt. Both are mothers of children with Down Syndrome. Alarmed at the high rate of abortion among babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome (90%), they started KIDS in 2008. KIDS stands for “Keep Infants with Down Syndrome.”
Leticia’s book is a compilation of true stories by families whose children have special needs. A must read for all to appreciate God’s gift of life.
For the past four years, the KIDS group has met at the National Right to Life office during the March for Life in January. Their children are delightful, adorable and very social.
In an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review Online, Leticia shared advice on how we can help physicians overcome their misgivings about children who have special needs.
* Encourage doctors to educate themselves about medical research and improved educational methods through conferences;
* Doctors should meet “families living fulfilled lives with a child with special needs;”
* Give the doctor the book, “A Special Mother is Born,” or the pamphlet “Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis” (available from the National Down Syndrome Society; and
* Be willing to talk to the doctor’s patients who have received a prenatal diagnosis about their special needs child.
Velasquez advised those who have been given a prenatal diagnosis to find a support group (support groups are listed in her book, “A Special Mother is Born”), talk to their pastor, and to realize they are not alone.
Untold numbers of families across the nation have been blessed by children deemed “imperfect” by Margaret Sanger’s standards. We as a nation can embrace them, embrace their families, their lives. Get to know them and overcome our fear of what is different.
Here are some real-life examples. Expecting their third son to be as healthy as his two older brothers, David and Marie Wood learned that their newborn son, Reid, had a condition called Myotubular Myopathy (MTM), a rare condition that compromises most of his muscles and makes him unable to breathe without ventilator support. Despite being told Reid would “probably die within a year,” Marie said their goal was “to help Reid be as healthy as possible and live his life to the fullest in his home, surrounded by the people who love him.” They were told “phrases like ‘let nature take its course,’ and ‘we can put a DNR in his file before he goes home and then if something happens…’”
Marie added, “Now our sweet Reid is four years old. He may be differently-abled from healthy kids, but he is full of constant wonder and joy!”
When Marie was unexpectedly pregnant again, a geneticist encouraged them to have an amniocentesis because Marie carried the gene that could cause her baby to have MTM like his older brother, Reid. The geneticist suggested they could “keep their options open.”
Marie refused the amniocentesis and declared to all the people in that room, “Our son may have a 50 percent chance of having Myotubular Myopathy, but he has a 100 percent chance of being loved.”
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