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
After Students for Life of America’s attorneys at the Thomas More Society sent a demand letter to school administers at Gretna High School demanding that the Students for Life group at the school be treated equally and given the same access as other student clubs, the school changed their policies to reflect equal access among all groups by demoting nearly all other clubs, revoking the access rights that previously only Dragons for Life had been denied.
“Even though Gretna High School determined that their policy was indeed discriminatory and reversed course, granting equal treatment to all clubs, they chose possibly the most inconsiderate and inconvenient route by taking away the privileges of nearly all clubs to meet during school hours,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Sure, the clubs all have equal treatment now, but instead of granting equal privileges to pro-life speech, the school deemed it too threatening and instead took away access from all students. We are certainly proud of Bridget and her courage to draw rightful attention to the violation of free speech rights of the pro-life students at her school and wish her school administration had chosen a better outcome.”
The attorney’s for Gretna High School responded to the Thomas More Society demand letter by the deadline and presented their revised policy, which offers equal treatment to all student clubs, but simultaneously ejects all those student clubs from meeting during “long homeroom” as they had consistently been permitted to do. They have altered their school handbook to reflect the new policy.
“We are pleased that Gretna Public Schools has improved their policy and acknowledged that all student clubs, regardless of their political, religious, or philosophical message, deserve fair, even-handed treatment by the school administration,” said Jocelyn Floyd, Special Counsel with the Thomas More Society. “We remain concerned, however, by the portions of club activities and access that remain subject to administrative approval, without any guidelines to ensure that the administration isn’t unjustly influenced by concerns over ‘controversy’ or ‘separation of church and state.’ We hope that Gretna High School remains dedicated to equality and fairness as it applies this new policy going forward.”
Bridget Christensen, a junior at Gretna High School who serves as co-president of Dragons for Life, is looking forward to growing her pro-life group and educating her peers about abortion this school year.
“I’m glad that the school administration recognizes that they weren’t treating Dragons for Life equally,” said Christensen. “Their decision to create a policy that prevents Dragons for Life and other clubs from meeting during school hours is not what we had hoped for. However, we are ready to move forward and work together to promote the value of human life and inspire our fellow students in this very relevant issue.”