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
Increasing and improving media coverage can have great impacts for your group.
Designate one group member (or a committee of students) to be responsible for media relations. By getting coverage at your school and community media, you can reach new audiences that wouldn’t normally know about your group. As much as possible, you want to be able to influence positive coverage for your group. Build relationships with local media and encourage group members to join the staff of the school newspaper.
1. Go to www.newslink.org to find a listing of media outlets for your area. Get in touch with state and local media contacts. Use all forms of media: television, radio, and print. You will generally have the most success with your school newspaper, local media, and pro-life or Christian media.
2. Get advance coverage through feature stories. Before your event actually happens, you may be able to get coverage through a feature story of your main speaker, your group, a member, or through another angle that is relevant before the event actually takes place. For example, if a woman your group helped at a local pregnancy resource center starts attending your school, make sure that the school newspaper writes an article on her, cites your group, and mentions the upcoming event.
3. Prepare and send a press advisory one month before your event. Send another a week before the event. The advisory should go to local calendar editors, all your media outlets, and to the local contacts for wire services, like www.reuters.com, www.cnsnews.com, www.breitbart.com, and www.ap.org. The press advisory should cover three things. First, answer the basics: who, what, where, when, and why. Second, include a quote that could be used in a news story. Third, write a short paragraph explaining your group.
4. Prepare and send a compelling press release that reads like a news story. The press release should be longer and more detailed than the advisory, but not more than one page. The first sentence is especially important and should include the most important information. Include quotes from a couple of different people and an explanation of your group. Also include a schedule and list of speakers, if applicable. As in the press advisory, list the date, your name and contact information, and the name of the group. Use the SFLA sample press release as an example.
5. The key to having your event covered is to make it interesting and easy for the journalist. Call them the day before the event to remind them and ask if they are coming. Create something visual for the media to photograph, such as a display or poster. Have a designated media area at the event and make sure that volunteers are available to answer their questions or identify key people they may be interested in talking to. Give each reporter a press kit with information about your group and the event that will help them write their article. Follow up with them after the event and make sure that they have all the information they need. Remember: Make it easy for them to write a great article about your event!