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
You want to have a plan for each year for how your group is going to achieve its mission and goals. Take time as a group to determine what you would like to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. Then plan out each step and share the calendar with everyone in the group so that they know what the group will be doing and how they can help. Don’t wait until the semester starts to plan your year. Do this several months in advance so that you have time to prepare and hit the ground running from day one.
1. Start by downloading and printing our Plan Your Year calendar. Look up your university calendar which should have dates for the first and last day of classes each semester, dates for final exams, days off, and special university events. Mark all of these dates on your group calendar so that there won’t be any conflicts with the activities you schedule. Also look up local pro-life organizations and list their events on your calendar – you may want to attend or volunteer at these events.
2. Brainstorm event ideas and make a list of events to do during the year. Then place those events on the calendar. Plan a mix of bigger and smaller events. Start with easier events at the beginning of the year and more difficult ones towards the end. Set a goal of having an activity every other week (in addition to the weekly meetings) and doing one big event each semester. Remember to give your group time to advertise a speaking event and choose a good recruitment event for early in the semester. Use the SFLA activism handbook and activity guides for ideas and for help planning.
3. Schedule regular recruitment efforts, meetings, volunteer opportunities, and social events on your master group calendar. Use the SFLA Recruitment Guide to formulate an effective recruitment strategy. Remember that every event is a recruitment opportunity. Your group should also plan to have regular weekly meetings on a set day at a set time and location. If you have additional meetings write those in as well. Your group should be regularly involved in volunteering at a local pregnancy resource center or right to life organization. This can include sidewalk counseling or holding vigils at an abortion clinic. Finally, don’t forget to plan regular social events to help bond club members!
4. Discuss this calendar at your first meeting of the year. Go through the event ideas and talk about the work required for each one. Ask for comments, ideas, or suggestions from your group members. Make any changes, additions or deletions as needed and then start working to make the events you have planned happen. Assign a member to be in charge of coordinating each event or other specific tasks.
5. Refer back to this calendar throughout the year and use it to plan your budget. Plan backwards from the date that you have chosen for an event to determine when you need to make certain preparations. For example, if the university requires you to reserve space for an event a month before, mark that in the calendar so you don’t miss it.