Thursday, February 19, 2009

Down syndrome a Modern -Day Death Sentence

My sweet Ruby.

I get so angry when I realize how many precious children are not allowed to have a chance at life and to prove to their parents how wonderful they are.My Ruby blesses me every day and I can say I am thankful to have her and would never change the opportunity to be her Mother.

Down syndrome a modern-day death sentence
By Joseph A. Cannon
Deseret News
Published: Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009 2:01 a.m. MST

Claire will never read these words. But at least she is alive and brings joy to her many friends and family members. You see, Claire is a survivor. She survived one of the most ruthlessly effective extermination programs in modern times.
Claire has Down syndrome.
Most of her Down syndrome brothers and sisters never got to be born. In the United States, more than 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. (In some other countries this number reaches 95 percent.) But apparently this isn't enough for those who would eradicate these defective persons. The problem is that the current methods for diagnosing the Down defect are ultrasound, biochemical exams or amniocentesis. But amniocentesis is expensive, invasive and potentially harmful to mothers and ultrasound may not be accurate.
Not to worry, Lenetix, a diagnostic technology company, has developed a new maternal blood test for the detection of Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. With no irony, Lenetix CEO Leonard H. Kellner tells us "we take deep pride in the technology we have developed because it has the potential to impact the lives of millions of women and their unborn children." Lenetix medical director, Steve Brown, M.D., tells us that "pregnant women and their physicians are clamoring for an improved, noninvasive prenatal test because they fear the risks of amniocentesis."
Sounds wonderful, like describing a new life-saving wonder drug or technology. But the sad, stark fact, well-known to anyone in this field, is that virtually every diagnosis of Down syndrome lends to the abortion of that unborn child. This is eugenics with a vengeance.
While the folks at Lenetix may simply be doing their best to advance science, other voices are more sinister when it comes to aborting children with Down syndrome.
"Like many," notes Libertarian commentator Nicholas Provenzo, "I am troubled by the implications of . . . Sarah Palin's decision to knowingly give birth to a child disabled with Down syndrome. Given that Palin's decision is being celebrated in some quarters, it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome." This is necessary, Provenzo informs us, "because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive."
Dr. Rahul K. Parikh, writing in, takes a slightly more compassionate approach. While "greatly" admiring Palin's decision to "knowingly" give birth to a child with Down syndrome, it is critical that her decision not be imposed on other women. Parikh comes down hard on "rabid anti-choice activists who have called [aborting Down syndrome children] eugenics via medicine." Yet it is hard to see how this isn't "eugenics via medicine."

George Will defines "the pernicious quest for a disability-free society" as "respectable eugenics."
We are now quickly sliding down the slippery slope. What about people who are only "marginally productive" after they are born or when they get old? Are their lives worth preserving? And what does "marginally productive" mean anyway? In the literature "marginally productive" very often edges into "merely inconvenient."
In case you think these are red herring questions, hear Princeton professor Peter Singer. "Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all. That doesn't mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do." Not because there is anything inherently wrong with killing an infant but because "to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents."
The ease with which we disregard the idea of life in its beginning and how we increasingly diminish restraints on voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide as life winds down, illuminates how far we have fallen from our founder's declaration that we are endowed by our Creator with the unalienable right of life.

Joseph A. Cannon is Claire's dad and editor of the Deseret News. He can be reached by e-mail at


COOLWHIP said...

I heard upwards of 95% in California, where dr.s are required to offer prenatal testing, of prediagnosed DS cases are terminated. I have noticed with the past 2 of my pregnancies tests were offered. I have no desire to find out who my baby will be before I meet them.
How many of these infants are terminated with out more than a 1 in 70 chance. Is that enough?
Here in UT the rate is much lower, I am the new born contact for the UDSF and I have had extensive conversations with my Mid Wife and OB about this. They seem to think the rate is drastically lower. In my experience, we have on average 50 babies a year born with DS, and those are only the ones I know about, some I'm sure choose not to seek us out.

Cathy said...

This breaks my heart. These people just don't understand the love they are missing.

Thanks for the part you're playing to advocate for our children and for the all the beautiful unborn children

Loren Stow said...

It is so sad that so many people are making choices to terminate their pregnancies based on out-of-date and quite honestly INCORRECT information!
I understand about choices, but along with tests being offered, so should accurate information!
If only they knew... perhaps they would think twice?

Monica said...

It baffles my mind that it has come to this. Our society is so broken. In their sinister search for perfection, they are killing little souls that have great capacity to love without condition. And, what about all the non-productive people in our society by choice? Are they next? Thanks for sharing, Cheryl. These are hard words to swallow.

Jill said...

Wow...did you read all of the comments so far from the article? I am encouraged by all of the people who speak out again such stupidity! I will be one of them. Can't wait to leave my own comment! Thanks for posting this article.
We love your little Ruby, too!!

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of how some people in our society justify aborting a person with Ds by stating he or she would not be a productive member of society. What is the productive measurement in our society? Really? It makes me so sad that there is still this type of thinking in society...BUT there is change and because of parents like yourself, I think the perception of prenatal testing, abortion, Down syndrome and what the future holds for people with Ds will be more positive.