We as a nation are greatly enriched by the contributions of people with Down syndrome

Editor’s note. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

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

Pro-life Vice President Mike Pence with Chloe Kondrich

It was a visit with the Vice President that went viral.

Seventeen-year-old Chloe Kondrich, a young woman with Down syndrome, ran up to Vice President Mike Pence and hugged him at a campaign event in western Pennsylvania. The electrifying moment was captured on video and spread quickly through social media. Even the Vice President himself acknowledged Chloe on his Twitter feed.

Such precious moments are important to remember this October, as we mark Down Syndrome Awareness Month. So many young people such as Chloe are making a difference in their schools, their communities, and their families.

Opportunities for people with Down syndrome have expanded over the decades. Still, these individuals with an extra chromosome face discrimination before they are even born. 

Research indicates that the majority of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are aborted. It is such a massive tragedy that so many families are robbed of the gift of children with Down syndrome by the abortion industry, which callously takes the lives of these precious babies.

I spoke recently with Chloe’s father, Kurt, who has become one of the nation’s leading advocates for children with special needs. We spoke of how, in this world that is so often filled with darkness, children such as Chloe cast an incredible light. We as a society need such children, with their special giftedness, to bring out the best of ourselves.

I am reminded of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, mother of seven, who said her youngest child, a child with Down syndrome, is the favorite member of the family. It is alarming to think that so many families, pressured by doctors to abort, never get the chance to experience such a wonderful addition to their clans.

While many children with Down syndrome may never get the chance to meet a Vice President, each should be honored nonetheless for the unique gifts they bring to the world. We as a nation are greatly enriched by the contributions of people with Down syndrome. May their lights shine for many years to come!