The Impact of
I can't read something like "Testing Curbs Some Genetic Diseases,"
which ran in the Associated Press this morning, without thinking back
to last January 22. The manner in which some genetic diseases has been
"curbed" is through a vast expansion of genetic testing and aborting
almost every child identified to have genetic mutations--or, in the
case of Down syndrome, an extra chromosome.
For the second year in a row, the NRLC offices were graced by the
presence of a large contingent from "KIDS" (Keep Infants with Down
Syndrome). And for the second year in a row Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers
(R-Wa.), who has a son with Down syndrome, met with and spoke to the
group. I asked KIDS co-founder Eileen Haupt, who is the alternate
director to the NRLC board from Vermont, to summarize the time
together. Eileen wrote,
"Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State's 5th
congressional district was the special guest at the KIDS event,
bringing her 3-year-old son Cole, who has Down syndrome. Rodgers is the
founder and co-chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus. The
caucus educates members of Congress about Down syndrome and promotes
policies that would enhance the quality of life for individuals with
"Rogers spoke about legislation in Congress affecting individuals with
Down syndrome and others with special needs. She mentioned the
Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, which
was signed into law in the Fall of 2008. This legislation requires
families who have received a diagnosis of Down syndrome or other
conditions be given up-to-date information, but now requires funding.
Another piece of legislation that has been introduced is the ABLE
(Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act of 2009, which establishes
tax-exempt accounts for the care of family members with disabilities."
My extended family is very familiar with children born with devastating
genetic anomalies. I also have friends whose children have Down
syndrome. So I know of what I speak and know how couples might be
tempted to abort children found to have something like cystic fibrosis
or thought to have Down syndrome.
Those who fought their through these doubts and difficulties did so in
no small reason because of their faith and because they were blessed
with a support system of relatives, friends, and something like KIDS.
God bless them all.
Finally, what does it say to the children who evaded the screening?
This is no small issue, both for it does to the children and how it
coarsens us as a people.
The Associated Press story I alluded to at the beginning includes a
quote from Dr. Barron Lerner, a Columbia University medical historian,
who wrote an article that appeared in the October 22, 2009, edition of
the New England Journal of Medicine.
"If a society is so willing to screen aggressively to find these genes
and then to potentially have to abort the fetuses," he observed, "what
does that say about the value of the lives of those people living with
Contact: Dave Andrusko
February 17, 2010
to a friend.
The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly. Click here to learn more about the IFRL.