Any mother who hears that her unborn child may have Down syndrome should listen to the testimony of Frank Stephens.
An actor, Special Olympics athlete and special needs advocate across the globe, Stephens himself has Down syndrome. Last week, he spoke to a U.S. Congressional committee about protecting people with disabilities like himself and supporting medical research, according to The Atlantic.
“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living,” Stephens told members of Congress.
Stephens brought up the disturbing level of discrimination that unborn babies with Down syndrome are subjected to in the womb.
“… we are the canary in the eugenics coal mine. We are giving the world a chance to think about the ethics of choosing which humans get a chance at life,” he said.
Research indicates unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions at very high rates. A CBS News report earlier this year shocked the nation by reporting that Iceland has an almost 100-percent abortion rate for unborn babies with the genetic disorder. The rate in the U.S. is estimated to be between 67 percent and 90 percent.
Stephens told Congress:
Sadly, across the world, a notion is being sold that maybe we don’t need research concerning Down Syndrome. Some people say prenatal screens will identify Down Syndrome in the womb and those pregnancies will just be terminated.
It’s hard for me to sit here and say those words.
I completely understand that the people pushing this particular “final solution” are saying that people like me should not exist. That view is deeply prejudice by an outdated idea of life with Down Syndrome.
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Every human being deserves the right to live and thrive, no matter what their life expectancy or abilities are. But it also is true that people with Down syndrome now enjoy better opportunities and longer lifespans than they ever have before.
According to The New Atlantis: “The life expectancy for someone born with Down syndrome has increased from twenty-five in the early 1980s to more than fifty today. In many other ways as well, a child born with Down syndrome today has brighter prospects than at any other point in history. Early intervention therapies, more inclusive educational support, legal protections in the workplace, and programs for assisted independent living offer a full, active future in the community.”
Stephens emphasized this to legislators last week, saying, “Seriously, I have a great life!”
Tragically, though, many parents say they face intense pressure to abort their unborn babies after receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis. And across the United States, pro-abortion groups like NARAL are fighting against bills and laws that would protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from abortion. This massive and deadly discrimination against people with Down syndrome by abortion is nothing short of repulsive.
But fortunately, Stephens and countless others are exposing the tragedy to millions of people and promoting the message that every human life is valuable and deserving of protection.