By Christine Flowers
I recently read the obituary of a woman who sounded like a saint: An HIV social worker, a loving mother to three young sons who valiantly fought the cancer that finally took her life, a valued coworker, friend, and beloved wife. And then I came to this sentence: “She was a strong supporter of abortion rights.”
It initially seemed out of place with the tone of the piece, which was otherwise apolitical, uplifting and loving. But I realized that this was an indication of how the deceased wanted to be remembered, as someone who was on the forefront of progressive causes and reproductive rights. So be it, we all have the right to compose our own final codas.
Reading that obituary convinced me, though, of two things: (1) I would give clear instructions that my own obituary would include the line “She was a strong supporter of human rights, including and especially those of the unborn” and (2) the manipulation of words by the pro-choice movement extends to even epitaphs.
Calling abortion a “right” is technically correct, but it deflects attention from the true nature of the act. “Right” generally means something desirable and good, as in the “right to free speech” or the “right to bear arms” or the “right to … life.” So framing abortion as a “right,” which it is since Roe v. Wade, is a tidy way of insulating us from the reality of the thing done, and that is the termination of human life.
And it gets worse. We are not only concerned with the snuffing out of random lives any longer. We have become very specific about the things that we want to eliminate, and that is the perceived imperfections that are manifested in God’s creations. I say “perceived,” because it is precisely these so-called flaws that magnify the glory of God, science, and humanity.
I am really talking about a beautiful young woman named Chloe Kondrich. Chloe is a child so beloved that her father and mother have spent her lifetime bringing her story to strangers, and trying to teach us that she is the most perfect creature possible. Her story is an important one, and I can only tell it with the help of her father.
Kurt Kondrich and his wife Margie were given very little support when, during her pregnancy, they were pressured to have the prenatal test for Down syndrome but refused. When they asked what their options were if the test came back positive, they were told they could decide if they wanted to keep the baby.
Shortly after Chloe’s birth they were told that the baby had Down syndrome. Kurt has said that they were told much more about what Chloe would not be able to do (her disability), than what she could actually accomplish (her abilities). Kurt and Margie discovered that the vast majority of parents who learn they are carrying a child with Down syndrome are counseled to abort the child. Sadly, the statistics show that because of lack of real information, almost 90 percent of the women who are diagnosed as carrying Downs children choose to terminate their pregnancies.
But Kurt and Margie embraced and did not erase Chloe, and today they are the parents of two amazing children, Nolan (now 18,) and the radiant Chloe, a 14-year-old rock star. Miss Kondrich has gotten backstage passes to actual rock concerts, met with politicians, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and current Gov. Tom Wolf, been a headliner at rallies in the State Capitol, is featured in the book “Brilliant Souls” and, if that’s not enough, has given her name to a piece of legislation that could save lives as beautiful as her own.
“Chloe’s Law” is one of several state laws that require medical officials to provide parents with accurate, updated information on what a child with Down syndrome is likely to face, accomplish and become. It is designed to make sure that parents are not intimidated into aborting a child that can have a meaningful, exceptional life simply because of outdated and parochial fears that the child is “handicapped.”
Chloe’s Law represents a push at the state level to do what the federal government was unwilling or simply unable to do: Honor the inherent dignity of all human life. In 2009, Congress passed the Kennedy-Brownback bill which would have done at a national level what Chloe is doing in Pennsylvania, namely, provide awareness that the cruel “mongoloid” label of a few generations ago needs to be eliminated, and that ghettoizing children in this archaic manner is as bad as dehumanizing them because of race, gender or religion. Sadly, that bill was never funded, and so it has been left to the states to do the heavy lifting.
Chloe has been carrying all of us on her strong and steady shoulders since the day she was born, aided by her mom, dad, brother and scores of admirers. Most recently, Chloe and her dad appeared at a rally in the State Capitol in support of Senate Resolution 174 sponsored by Sen. Scott Martin, a Lancaster County Republican, designed to encourage support for children with Down syndrome. Martin noted that “we should not be in the business of selectively choosing which life should begin or end.”
And that is the fundamental issue. The idea that abortion is a “right” has led us to a place where people feel that they also have a “right” to their version of perfection. It has led 90 percent of the women who have been told they are carrying Downs children to abort those babies before they even have a chance to begin their amazing journeys. It has led to the near extinction of a group of people who are purely loving, life-filled and valuable members of the human race.
Reading that obituary this week made me very sad, for a moment. But reflecting on Chloe, her family and the message she communicates with a smile that surpasses the sun itself makes me realize that the narrative of “rights” is evolving into one of privilege, the privilege of living alongside of people like this happy, loving warrior.
To contact your state senators to express your support for SR 174 please click on this link: https://secure2.convio.net/pfi/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=203 or simply contact the Pennsylvania Family Council at www.PaFamily.org If you want to learn more about the work Kurt is involved in to restore a culture of Life please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 412-951-9117.
Editor’s note. Christine Flowers is an attorney and Delaware County resident. This appeared at DELCOTIMES.COM and is reposted with permission.