By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Editor’s note. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. All month we have posted new stories, like the following, and reposting previously run stories.
The next time you hear that the prospects for children with Down syndrome are bleak, I would like you to think about Chloe Kondrich.
The 16-year-old Pittsburgh girl has met with the President, the Vice-President, sports figures, and musical artists (She recently had a heartwarming encounter with the pop music group The Chain Smokers.).
Chloe’s larger-than-life photos have adorned the big screens in Times Square not once, not twice, but five times! She has spoken at diverse settings ranging from the United Nations to the National Right to Life Convention.
In fact, while at the NRL Convention this past summer, Chloe met some noteworthy pro-life leaders from south of the border.
As her father, Kurt Kondrich, explained in a post on Facebook:
“When we spoke at the National Right to Life Convention this year in Charleston, South Carolina, we met amazing pro-life leaders from across the world! Yizbeleni Gallardo and Cecilia Valderrama from Mexico are sharing Chloe’s Foundation International message of ‘Embrace don’t erase’ Down syndrome in Spanish for October Down Syndrome Awareness Month – PRICELESS! One day we hope to speak there and work to restore a Global Culture of LIFE! Proverbs 31:8: ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.’”
Yet, research indicates that babies with Down syndrome are aborted at an alarming rate. It is estimated that the vast majority of preborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are aborted. Many parents report being pressured by doctors to abort children with an extra chromosome.
That is why legislation such as “Chloe’s Law” is so important. The Pennsylvania law, named for Chloe Kondrich, ensures that parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are given access to resources and support which would help them care for their children.
A number of lawmakers across the country are going a step further—passing legislation that would ban the abortion of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. These legislators rightly believe that children with an extra chromosome are unfairly targeted—a kind of eugenics that has no place in a civilized society.
In Pennsylvania, the state House of Representatives passed such legislation—the Down Syndrome Protection Act—by a large, bipartisan majority this year. The bill, known as House Bill 321, is currently pending in the state Senate.
It is truly ironic that the abortion rate for children with Down syndrome is so high—at a time when the opportunities for them have never been greater. People with Down syndrome contribute greatly to our schools, workplaces, families, and communities, and their lives should be cherished and protected.
Just ask Chloe Kondrich—who is making an international impact with her advocacy. The possibilities for babies with Down syndrome—as with all preborn babies—are limitless. If only they are given a chance to live, they can be a precious gift to us all.