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
By Bethany Janzen, Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator
It was a race. A race between guys and girls. A race to raise the most diapers.
The result? 28,000 diapers, which is enough to take care of diapers for eight to ten babies for an entire year.
For the last three years, the Students for Life Club at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado, right outside of Denver, has organized a diaper drive for their local pregnancy resource centers.
This year it was their largest ever, up from 21,000 diapers last year. The Students for Life Club collected so many diapers that a semi-truck had to haul them away to their temporary home at either Alternatives Pregnancy Center or the Catholic Charities of Denver. Then they will be given to local families in need.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of diapers that we had and I think that the people in the club did a good job of spreading the word,” remarked club vice president Abby Kassal.
All September, diaper drive flyers covered walls, announcements filled the school newspaper, and brightly decorated tables stood in the lobbies. There was almost no way a student could have not known about the event.
Several theology professors also got on board. To encourage participation, they offered extra credit to students who donated diapers. But the best incentive was competition.
Since Regis Jesuit High School is broken into a boys and girls division, these distinctions provided the perfect arena for healthy rivalry. The result? The girls raised 13,700 diapers, but the boys won the prize, collecting 14,700 diapers.
“I was surprised that the boys got this involved,” said Kassal.
And the boy’s victory did come out of left field. At club meetings – which happen to be held in the girls division, girls far outnumber boys.
It all started three years ago, when the Students for Life club was just a year old. Lauren Castillo, then the Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator for SFLA, who had originally started the club when a student at Regis Jesuit, helped the group get the diaper drive going.
But why is this diaper drive and that done by other Students for Life groups around the country so important? Kassal summed it up perfectly:
“It was really cool to just see the huge amount of diapers, put them all in the truck, and know that they’re going to families in need. Knowing that a little kid is going to have a clean diaper is such a rewarding thing.”