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, SFLA Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator
From the start of the legislative session in January, students in Wyoming were watching the pro-life bills as they were introduced and started moving through the Wyoming legislature. But they weren’t just watching. They were also acting.
Just a bit of background: In late January, I spoke at the Cheyenne March for Life. Afterwards, Wyoming Representative Chuck Gray introduced himself and told me about the ultrasound/heartbeat bill he was introducing this session. The bill had to overcome many hurtles.
Although Rep. Gray anticipated that it would pass the House, the Senate was doubtful, and the Governor – well, no pro-life bill had ever reached his desk, so many doubts remained on that score. I told him that I would encourage our Wyoming student leaders to lobby for the bill!
Many students and families emailed their legislators multiple times each week, asking them to vote YES on HB0116 and HB0182 – the ultrasound bill. Many students came to committee meetings and testified in favor of these bills, especially from the University of Wyoming, Laramie County Community College (LCCC), and the Cheyenne Homeschool community. Students from other schools further away – like Douglas High School – wrote their legislators.
The bills had to overcome more than just hurdles over the past six weeks. They could have been killed in any one of those stages. But pro-life students were praying and publicly making their voice heard through each step. At times the testimony of the opposition seemed very hostile and formidable.
It was really a spiritual battle, according to Ruby Johnson, a Cheyenne community mobilizer who worked with many of the students.
“We prayed, ‘Lord, we will not win this because of our ability to counter the opposition. We are weak. We can win this only by Your mercy and Your grace.’”
Because of the students’ efforts, they were invited to the Governor’s bill signing on Thursday afternoon in Cheyenne. Students from University of Wyoming Students for Life, LCCC Students for Life, and Cheyenne Homeschool Students for Life wore “I AM THE PRO-LIFE GENERATION” t-shirts during the bill signing.
After the sponsors of these bills and various pro-life organizations addressed the Governor, Christie Johnson (LCCC Students for Life president) thanked Governor Mead, on behalf of Students for Life, for supporting these bills which would protect future generations and our preborn.
March 9th, 2017 will be remembered as a landmark day for the Wyoming pro-life movement. On it, Wyoming’s first pro-life bill in 28 years was signed into law. Wyoming students made history.