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
Your meetings should focus on planning and preparation for upcoming events. The most important part is delegating tasks and making sure that everyone is involved.
1. Schedule regular weekly meetings. Talk with the other leaders of your group to determine the best day, time, and location for regular weekly meetings. You can schedule additional meetings as needed. After setting the day, time, and location, announce it to all your members through your email list and Facebook group. Mention the regular meetings when you recruit new students for your group and have the meeting details on your recruitment fliers. Call and email the day before to remind people.
2. Write up an agenda for the meeting. You should have a plan for the year to work off of in preparing for the meeting. If not, check out the SFLA “How to Plan Your Year” guide. The agenda should be written in the order that the meeting will be run. Have the announcements listed first. These announcements will include information on upcoming pro-life events in the community and updates on the group’s own status. For example, if the group had an event, how did it go? Were there any problems? Has there been any feedback? The second part of the agenda should be a list of your upcoming events with a brief explanation of each and a report on the progress. Bring copies to pass out at the meeting.
3. Start with introductions and announcements. Introduce yourself and the other officers, then ask the new people to introduce themselves. Pass out the agendas. The secretary of the group should pass around a sign-in sheet and take notes. Go through the announcements in the order that they are listed in the agenda. Discuss each one briefly and plan for any action that should be taken on them. For example, if one of the announcements is that a local county right to life group needs volunteers for their upcoming fundraiser dinner, assign somebody to sign up volunteers and organize a carpool from your school.
4. Discuss plans for upcoming events. If you already have an event in the works, get updates from everyone on their progress for the work they are doing for it. Make sure to involve the new people right away. Ask them to help and give them specific jobs. For example, if you have a few people in charge of publicizing an upcoming event and they are planning to flier the school for two days in the upcoming week, ask the new members to help with that. If there is not yet an event or activity in the works, discuss a few different ideas and choose one. Assign everyone an active role in making the event happen. Set a tentative date and then break up the work for the event to get started on it right away.
5. Follow-up and prepare for the next meeting. The secretary should email out the notes from the meeting, including a list of what each person is responsible for. Call the new members during the week to tell them more about the group and get to know them better. Ask for their ideas and input.