By Eileen Haupt
For the sixth year in a row, Keep Infants with Down Syndrome (KIDS) will be meeting prior to the January 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C. at the headquarters of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) at 512 10th Street, N.W.
The KIDS event is open to all families who have children with Down syndrome and their friends, or to anyone who would just like to show support for the right to life of individuals with Down syndrome. We will meet at NRLC from 11:00 to 12:00, for a chance to visit with other families and have refreshments, before heading over to the mall to join the March for Life as a group.
The idea for forming a group of families who have children with Down syndrome, to walk together in the March for Life, was born just after the 2008 march, from correspondence between Leticia Velasquez and me. The timing was perfect.
Several months later, Sarah Palin gave birth to her son Trig, and was then chosen as the vice-presidential candidate. Now an especially high-profile mother of a child with special needs, she did much to bring Down syndrome into the spotlight. We felt that interest about Down syndrome spill over into our newly formed group and had a good turnout for our first event at the 2009 March for Life.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, representing the State of Washington, is another high-profile mother in the political realm, who also chose to give life to her son with Down syndrome. Cole was born in the spring of 2007.
Cathy graciously met with a few KIDS families in her office after the 2009 March for Life. We were privileged to have her accept our invitations to attend KIDS events at NRLC for the next four years. She visited with KIDS families, shared her experience as a mother to Cole, and updated us on legislative issues affecting individuals with Down syndrome. Unfortunately, we were not able to schedule Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers this year, but we are so grateful for her friendship with KIDS.
Though the KIDS event is an enjoyable opportunity to visit with other families who share a common experience, the group’s concern is quite serious. We know that approximately 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome while still in the womb, are aborted. KIDS aims to raise awareness of that tragedy by representing that special unborn population in the March for Life.
If interested in attending our event, it would be helpful to contact Eileen (email@example.com) or Leticia (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know. However, if you make a last-minute decision to join us, please just come!
Eileen is co-founder of Keep Infants with Down Syndrome (KIDS) and the alternate delegate from Vermont to the board of the National Right to Life Committee. She is the mother of two daughters, one of whom has Down syndrome.