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.
How to use the box
Use the material included to host a “Human Rights” tabling event (contact your RC for training and tabletop supplies)
Watch the following clips and discuss how you could build your objections from these videos:
Frank Stephens' POWERFUL Speech On Down SyndromeIceland’s Down Syndrome Dilemma
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!
What's in the box?
Fetal Abnormalities postcard
Down Syndrome Facts Flyer
Human Rights Tabletop Preview- ask your RC about bringing it to your campus
We believe that the most effective way to grow the movement is by leading other leaders. We want students who can multiply our efforts by being great leaders. Every single student involved with Students for Life is empowered to be a leader in their group, on their campus, and in their community. Our field team spend time with every group, training their members in basic and advanced leadership skills and principles. In addition to our primary leadership training, we have specific programs designed to cultivate the top student leaders.
The William Wilberforce and Thaddeus Stevens Leadership Fellowships are year-long programs designed to teach leadership skills to those top college and high school pro-life activists considering a full-time career in the pro-life movement. Through leadership books, bi-weekly webcasts with national pro-life leaders and businessmen, a major pro-life project in at their school, and a mentoring relationship with national conservative & pro-life leaders, we help students become the best leaders and activists in their schools and, ultimately, in their communities. This year we have 12 college Wilberforce fellows and 8 high school Stevens fellows, representing 19 schools. Students for Life’s Leadership Fellowships are the key to training high school and college pro-life leaders.
Every year, we host 15-20 leadership workshops to further develop student leaders in their group’s management and strategy towards ending abortion. This is designed to be a hands-on learning and training experience for students. Students not only attend to hear inspirational ideas, but are given an opportunity to create materials, look through resources, consult with SFLA staff, and develop new ideas for their club all during the workshop. Students benefit from the opportunity to network with their peers and organizations in their community. Go here for a list of this year’s leadership workshops.
Students for Life Regional Coordinators are leaders in their regions, and part of their mission is to raise up more leaders to multiply their impact. Each year, every Regional Coordinator invests in four of their top students who have shown potential as leaders beyond their campuses and coaches them to be even better leaders. They meet together on a regular basis and the students are given opportunities to lead at community and regional events such as press conferences, rallies, and lobby days.