Down Syndrome: A Death Sentence?

Bradley Mattes   |   June 18, 2015

Sentenced to die.

That’s the fate of most babies diagnosed with Down syndrome while in the womb. They’re guilty of nothing. But approximately 67 percent will die by abortion for — maybe— having an extra 21st chromosome.

Even with the newest test, false positive diagnoses range from 20 to 50 percent, depending on the mother’s age. But even if the test were 100 percent accurate, people with Down syndrome are—first, last and always—people. They don’t deserve to die because they, like all of us, aren’t perfect.

Ohio is working to tear down that guillotine.

With support from both parties, an Ohio House committee voted 9 to 3 to send the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (HB 135) to the full House. If passed, the law would make it a crime to abort a baby if a prenatal test returned with a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Photo courtesy of Gigi’s Playhouse

Ohio would be the second state to ban abortion based on this diagnosis. North Dakota was first, and its 2013 law goes even further, also banning abortion for any genetic anomaly and for sex selection as well. North Dakota’s single abortion facility started to challenge the law but then stopped, saying it doesn’t do abortions for those reasons. Do you think its staff actually asks or wants to know why women want an abortion? I don’t.

Like the North Dakota law, the Ohio law would punish the abortionist, not the mother.

Not surprisingly, the pro-abortion crowd seethed with irrational anger. Here are a few responses, verbatim, to an Ohio newspaper’s story about the law:

“Next [the legislature] will be rationing beer, wine, sex, anything that is good and none of their business.”

“These self righteous religious nuts need to stay out of women’s Reproductive Health! This is about keeping control over Women, keep them dumb, poor and Pregnant and then can easily be controlled!”

“A Down syndrome child can have a terribly horrendous negative impact on a family’s finances the educational opportunities of other children in the family, and even the stability of the marriage itself. . . . For the State to put itself in the position of decider to impoverishing a whole family, while limiting the life opportunities of the siblings, is simply ludicrous, just ludicrous. It is nobody’s decision but the pregnant woman’s and the father, P-E-I-O-R-D!” (Yes, this person needs a spelling lesson!)

“Again, the state commandeering womens’ reproductive systems. It’s a form of rape.”

And this monstrosity:

“I have a closet full of wire coat hangers in my basement if anyone needs one…”

[tweetthis]Those who really know Down syndrome call that extra chromosome “the love chromosome.”[/tweetthis]

These ignorant comments show how little people know about Down syndrome. Overwhelmingly people with Down syndrome report being happy with their lives, and I’ve personally interviewed many moms and dads who started out fearful but soon saw their children as unexpected blessings. Huge blessings.

In fact, people who really know about Down syndrome call that extra chromosome “the love chromosome.”

Please learn more about people with Down syndrome and help us combat the ignorance that threatens their lives:

In the latest issue of our newsletter, read about adults with Down syndrome who are active in the workforce.

Watch these and other relevant episodes of our TV show, Facing Life Head-On: Gigi’s Playhouse, Unexpected Joys Part 1 and Part 2, and Completing the Family—the last about a family with 12 children, three of whom were adopted and four of whom have Down syndrome. And visit the Down syndrome resource category on our website.

Finally, let the Ohio legislature know you’re behind them, and encourage your own legislators to step up as well.

As you can see by the numerous links, Life Issues Institute strongly believes in the right to life of every innocent human being. Join us by sharing this letter with others.

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