Jamir Wallace, a fifth grader from Phillipsburg, New Jersey, was born without arms. But that doesn’t deter him from trying new things – even things traditionally only done by people with hands, like playing the trumpet.
After seeing his sister play the piano, Jamir was inspired to try out an instrument of his own. Happily, he found his match in the trumpet the first time he ever tried it out. Jamir has stand which props the trumpet up to lip level for him, and he uses his feet to play notes. He participates in his school’s ensemble, and the enthusiasm in his voice is evident when he says that without his inspirational music teacher, he never would have known what the trumpet was.
Jamir is fortunate to thrive in an environment where his friends, family, and classmates affirm his abilities, rather than focusing solely on the challenge of not having arms. That benefit, combined with Jamir’s can-do attitude, ensures that many doors will open for him as he grows into adulthood and tackles whatever dreams he may develop.
Jamir’s determination mirrors that of a similar musician, Tony Melendez, who has gained international fame for his proficiency at the guitar, which he plays with his feet. Also born without arms, Melendez was told as a teenager that his dream of playing the guitar would be impossible to fulfill without hands. But Melendez proved the doubters wrong when he developed his extraordinary talent for the instrument.
Fetal abnormalities like those that Wallace and Melendez were born with are top reasons why abortion – including the painful late-term abortion procedure—is advocated by many physicians and legislators. It’s better, they say, to kill a child in utero than to bring him into a world where his so-called “quality of life” will be compromised by a disability because he will face greater physical challenges than a person born with all of his limbs.
The joyful, thriving lives of people like Jamir Wallace and Toney Melendez, however, fly in the face of this unfair stereotype. Disabilities did not prevent Melendez or Wallace from achieving happiness, or even from mastering musical instruments to which many people with arms do not have the wherewithal to dedicate themselves. Nevertheless, the abortion lobby tragically and consistently promotes an ethic that devalues their lives.