What is a Biblical response to medical and social efforts to terminate Down syndrome pregnancies? Listen here to learn more.
Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and this is Down Syndrome Month!
That's right. This is the month where we talk about the awareness and gain more understanding of what Down syndrome is all about. And whenever I think of this particular disability, I always think of my friend, Doug, who often volunteers at our Family Retreats—the ones that we hold for disabled children and their moms and dads. Doug is young and athletic, and a senior in college. The kids love him (and so do a few girl volunteers). When Doug first began volunteering at our Family Retreats, we assigned him to a little boy with Down syndrome and the two hit it off wonderfully. From that year onward, Doug always asked to be assigned to some other kid with Down syndrome. Not long ago, he told me:
"Joni, when I get married, I hope that my wife and I will have a child with Down syndrome."
Yikes! I was startled when he said that, but I chalked it up to his youthful idealism. Since then, though, I realize that Doug meant what he said. This young man has observed a special joy in children with Down syndrome. He could also see that these kids blessed their parents. Well, I thought of Doug when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists began recommending a broader pre-natal testing for Down syndrome among younger pregnant women. Up until a couple of years ago, they recommended that only older women who were pregnant be tested. But now, all mothers-to-be are to be routinely tested for Down syndrome. The results: Over 90% of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis choose to have an abortion.
Oh, this breaks my heart, because it translates into a strange future for the kids that Doug loves. It's going to be a lonely world for the 5,500 young people born each year with Down syndrome. These young people will now have less community programs, as well as reduced funds for medical research—a and they will have far fewer friends, who, like them, have Down syndrome.
Personally, as a disabled individual, I think it’s appalling that abortion is now being touted as a "disability prevention measure." The effort to eliminate Down syndrome translates into the worst kind of social engineering. So, rather than eliminate these children, we need to promote the idea of raising the child to whom God has given this intellectual disability. After all, Jesus says, "Bless the little children, for of such is the kingdom of heaven"—even boys and girls with Down syndrome.
As I said at the onset, October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and we've got a lot of work to do to reverse the heartbreaking trend against children with Downs. Why, I think of my friend Robin Hiser who has Down syndrome. She may never understand how to keep up with the Jones' or how to get over-her-head in debt. Robin may never be cunning enough to know how to cheat, weave lies, or how to stab a friend in the back—and that's saying something pretty God-honoring about Robin’s life. Look, these people with Down syndrome have so much to share and there is so much to learn, just watching, just observing the way people with Down syndrome live and love and worship. It’s why I invite you to come over to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and watch a wonderful video I’ve posted about Down syndrome. And if it inspires you, then share it on Facebook, reminding all of your friends, that, yes, this is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and if you really like the video, then plus 1 on my radio page today at joniandfriends.org.
God bless you and thank you for listening to “Joni and Friends.”
© Joni and Friends
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