January Event-in-a-Box: Fetal Abnormalities:I have written and re-written this blog article a few times. It is hard to find the right words for this topic because so much of the information that I found is heartbreaking. Amid all the tragedy around the world, “more love less hate” is the chant of much of our society. Ironically, a certain population has been given a death sentence from society and is even the target of “killing off” their entire population. This demographic of individuals has the capacity to love and empathize in a way that I believe more of us need to learn.
Iceland’s attempt to eliminate an entire population of human beings- using abortion- that just so happen to be individuals with Down Syndrome is by no other word, wrong. News stories can be found with headlines such as “Iceland has practically eliminated Down Syndrome”. No, Iceland, you’ve eliminated people, you’ve eliminated future generations- without acknowledging the devastation that abortion can bring about. Does the word Holocaust come to mind?
In a report done by CBS, “Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women -- close to 100 percent -- who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.” And the US is not far behind with a termination rate of 67 percent!
Let’s talk about these wonderful individuals that society has deemed “undeserving of life”.
Facts and mythsMyth: People with Down Syndrome won’t live long
Fact: Research has shown that individuals with Down’s can live to be 60 years old or even older- with proper medical guidance.
Myth: People with Down Syndrome cannot live a mainstream lifestyle.
Fact: Most people with Down syndrome learn to walk and talk, and many are now attending mainstream schools, passing exams and living full, semi-independent adult lives. Examples of this can be seen all over Hollywood!
Myth: Down Syndrome only occurs in pregnancies of women over 35 years old.
Fact: due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
I don’t think the issue lies in the access to abortion, which obviously plays a huge role in this crisis. Instead, I think the larger problem stems from society’s inability to recognize personhood and lack of knowledge of when human rights, more so when human life, begins. This issue does not just affect those with Down Syndrome, it is the way our culture reassures mothers that their child with a poor prenatal diagnosis, of any abnormality, is better left terminated. The problem lies in our culture not valuing every single life as unique and worthy.
January Event in a Box
This month we want to focus on how your group responds to the argument of fetal abnormalities and Human Rights. As a group, put together your objections to the fetal abnormality debate - here are SFLA’s objections:
The preborn child is a human being. As a human being, he or she deserves the right to Life that is protected by our constitutional law and promoted at large in society. To abort the child is to intentionallyend his/her life.
Even if the child is expected to die (during pregnancy or soon after), aborting the child will only add to the family’s grief. It forces the family to intentionally and violently end their child’s life. Instead, perinatal hospice allows parents to just be parents to their child, and enjoy the time they have with their child while providing specific comfort care to their baby.
Carrying the child to term and spending a few final moments with the child allows the mother and the family to come to terms with their child’s death and to spend a short-time with their child before his/her passing. This child’s short life will be filled with love rather than violently ended in the womb.
Have a discussion on your campus about the Iceland Down Syndrome crisis, how would you respond if the US started doing this? This will spark conversation about human rights and when life begins. RECRUITMENT!
In the Box
Fetal Abnormalities postcard
Down Syndrome Facts Flyer
Human Rights Tabletop Preview- ask your RC about bringing it to your campus
Written by: RJ McVeigh, Students for Life Regional Coordinator
Dialogue is possibly the most crucial part of pro-life activism- if you don’t know how to effectively talk to and relate to your peers on campus, especially those who are pro-choice, you will have a difficult time getting the right message across. Whether it is a casual conversation in class, talking to students while recruiting at your Student Organization Fair, or actively doing outreach, knowing how to talk to pro-choicers is crucial for any pro-life student.
Students for Life of America has an entire training dedicated to this form of activism: Apologetics Training. (Contact your Regional Coordinator or e-mail email@example.com to get this training.) But there is one piece of this Apologetics training that deserves extra highlighting and emphasis: Finding Common Ground!
When talking to pro-choicers about abortion, finding common ground can be extremely helpful, and thus could be the reason the conversation continues or the person walks away. Believe it or not, there are several things we can readily agree on and should be highlight and acknowledge. Everyone feels good when their feelings are acknowledged and validated and it’s no different here. The more common ground you can find with a student, the more likely they are to view you as friendly and reasonable.
For example, if a pro-choice student agrees with you that it is wrong to kill toddlers, rather than immediately moving on to the next point, stop, smile, and acknowledge, “Okay, good – I agree that it would be wrong to kill the toddler. I think that makes sense.” This is a very little thing for you to do that can go a long ways towards helping to move your conversation along.
Or, if a pro-choice student tells you they support only first trimester abortions; affirm their pro-life stance in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Definitely talk to them about why they should be pro-life in the 1st trimester, too, but also give them a friendly acknowledgement that you agree that 2nd and 3rd trimesters are wrong.
If converting someone from pro-choice to pro-life is like crossing a river, every piece of common ground you can achieve is a stepping stone to getting across. Do not fear making the two sides appear less far apart – seek it out and embrace it. The more relatable you seem to pro-choice students, the more they will be willing to consider the points you starkly differ on. And THAT is how you change hearts.