Changing Pennsylvania for People with Special Needs

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director. Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Pro-life President Trump with Chloe Kondrich

She has a smile that literally lit up Times Square (Her picture graced the iconic landmark as a special honor for Down syndrome children). Now, Chloe Kondrich, a high school freshman, is lobbying state lawmakers to pass a resolution to ensure that children like her do not become an endangered species.

A Special Lobbyist

Kondrich is one of the many supporters of Senate Resolution 174, sponsored by state Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster). The resolution condemns the practice of aborting babies who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Some research indicates that as many as 90 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are aborted.

Eliminating Down Syndrome—Through Abortion

Senator Martin points to a recent CBS News report which indicated that Down syndrome has nearly been eradicated in Iceland—not because of medical breakthroughs, but because of abortion.

In his co-sponsorship memo, Senator Martin stated, “This sounds much like the rhetoric of Americans in the early 1900’s with the creation of the Eugenics Record Office and the Nazis in the 1930’s. Since the expanded use of eugenics in Nazi Germany, the practice has been widely condemned.”

Martin notes that people with Down syndrome have the potential to lead joyful and fulfilling lives. For instance, Chloe has a book to her credit…she’s met with sports stars and political luminaries…and she’s become an unofficial good will ambassador for children with Down syndrome.

The life span of people with Down syndrome has also noticeably increased in recent decades—from age 25 back in the 1980s to age 60 today. People with Down syndrome are making tremendous contributions to their families, their communities, and their nations.

A Record of Achievement

“If there is any positive to come out of the CBS report on Iceland’s practice, it is the surge of stories describing the vibrant lives of people currently living with Down syndrome,” Martin said.

“Charlotte, a 21-year old living with Down syndrome and autism in England was delighted to share in a recent interview how happy she is. She has a job working as a golf coach and spends time with her boyfriend. “

In addition, Martin notes that Climbing Magazine featured 32-year-old Andrew “Bob” Harris, who became the first individual with Down syndrome to climb to the peak of Grand Teton National Park.

Martin also points to his personal friend, Kyle, a man in his 30s who works hard for a big box retailer.

“Individuals like Kyle, Charlotte and Bob are capable of leading amazing and fulfilling lives and to say otherwise is unconscionable,” Martin said.

Meanwhile, Chloe already has one law named for her, the 2014 “Chloe’s Law,” which provides resources to parents whose unborn children have been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Such resources can make it easier for families to face the challenges and embrace the joys of children with special needs.

The importance of legislation such as SR 174 cannot be overstated. Consider this touching quote by an anonymous individual, speaking about a Down syndrome child:

“I wouldn’t change you for the world, but I would change the world for you.”