March 20th is World Down Syndrome day. It is an opportunity to celebrate children with Down Syndrome and recognize that it is not a disease or a disability, just a difference that should be respected.
I remember my experience with Down Syndrome. My wife was pregnant with our first child, and we couldn’t be more excited. We were already planning a Pittsburgh Steelers themed nursery and could not wait. We had just found out we were having a boy, and had a follow-up with the doctor.
The doctor gravely informed us that our child had a club foot, and that could be a sign of him having Down syndrome. He was recommending we go for additional tests so we could decide what we wanted to do.
Talk about a shocker…we weren’t sure what to do. After a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of the additional testing, I looked at my wife and told her if she wanted to have the test, we would, but that I wasn’t sure what the point was…whether our child had Down syndrome or not, he was going to be loved and cherished.
Ultimately we decided not to have the test, and a few months later we were blessed with a healthy baby boy who happened to have club foot. That baby boy will turn 11 four days after World Down Syndrome Day, and you wouldn’t know he had club foot by looking at him (see right for his 2015 soccer picture).
Now, I do not have any issue with parents who decide to get additional testing. I can understand the impulse to know as much as possible about the new life you are beginning. What is concerning is the number of people who determine their child may have Down syndrome, or any of the other “abnormalities” the testing finds and decide to have an abortion which will kill their baby.
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On World Down Syndrome day, I encourage you to take a minute and get to know a child with Down syndrome. Consider that he or she is one of as few as 7% whose parents decided they were going to love their child no matter what, and they were going to give him or her an opportunity to live life to its fullest.
LifeNews Note: Matthew Wagner is the Education Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. Below is a file photo.