Disability rights activist Karen Gaffney has swum the English Channel, holds an honorary doctorate, and is a nationally acclaimed speaker. In short, Karen, who has Down syndrome, has an amazing list of accomplishments on her resume.
Yet, she knows that babies with the same disability that she has are targeted for abortion, simply based on a prenatal test that detects Down syndrome.
Standing before scores of people in the Pennsylvania Capitol Rotunda Monday, Karen asked, “Am I not compatible with life?” To which she answered, “We (people with Down syndrome) are more than compatible.”
Karen’s inspiring words came during a rally to promote House Bill 2050 and Senate Bill 1050—legislation that would ban the abortion of babies diagnosed with—or believed to have—Down syndrome. As one advocate noted, Pennsylvania is on the cutting-edge of disability rights legislation—only four other states have passed similar measures.
Passage of the bill is also a personal crusade for disability rights activist Kurt Kondrich and his daughter Chloe, who has Down syndrome. Chloe, a vivacious high school student, has become something of a goodwill ambassador for people with Down syndrome, hobnobbing with public officials, sports stars, and acclaimed musicians.
In fact, the Kondrich family appeared at the White House earlier this year for a Rose Garden ceremony marking the anniversary of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade. In the years since Roe, the abortion of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome has become commonplace. Research indicates the vast majority of children who receive such a diagnosis are aborted.
Karen Gaffney and Chloe Kondrich are among those shattering stereotypes, hoping to bring about greater awareness of the abilities of people with Down syndrome. Such individuals make tremendous contributions to their families, their workplaces, and their communities.
“We face the possibility of wiping out the tremendous progress we’ve made in the last 60 years,” Gaffney said. “Just as we are making so much progress, a whole industry has grown, focused on prenatal screening and taking away our life before we take our first breath.
“Now that you can test for Down syndrome before birth, there are people who say this extra chromosome we carry around is not comparable with life. Not compatible with life? Am I not compatible with life? I would say, we are more than compatible.”
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One large-scale study indicated that an astounding 99 percent of people with Down syndrome consider themselves happy. But they and their families are decidedly unhappy about the staggering numbers of children with an extra chromosome who are aborted before they can draw their first breath.
Action Item: If you live in Pennsylvania, please contact your state representative and state senator and urge them to support House Bill 2050 and Senate Bill 1050.
LifeNews.com Note: Maria Gallagher is the Legislative Director and Political Action Committee Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and she has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.