October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. But in my world, every day is filled with Down syndrome awareness. That awareness is coupled with abounding joy and hope for the future, but this awareness also brings about heartache. My little Andrew was born just over four years ago. He was prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. My husband and I embraced this news. Our two older children embraced this news. But the doctors that we are supposed to trust, condemned us. They condemned us because we chose life.

I saw doctors who specialized in high-risk pregnancies. During my appointments, the doctors informed me that I only had so many weeks as determined by Virginia state laws to terminate my pregnancy. There were some occasions when my older children would accompany me to prenatal appointments. They learned at the ages of 5 and 8 exactly what abortion was. They learned that the doctors who were supposed to care of their mom and baby wanted to murder their baby brother. The doctors wanted my pregnancy terminated because Andrew would have Down syndrome. I have always been pro-life, but when I learned of the more specific eugenics of the abortion industry, I became even more motivated. Unfortunately, my story is all too common among the Down syndrome community. In the United States, 60% of babies who are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. It is heartbreaking.

For the past four years, we have received enormous support from our community and family. Andrew is well known in his school, church, and the U.S. Senate. He has appeared on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly and the Catholic Faith Network. He makes friends everywhere that he goes. He is inspiring more inclusive education among the public schools. We didn’t make the wrong choice for Andrew; we made the right one.

The battle that we face is the constant work to promote the dignity of life for all people – especially those with special needs. In today’s culture of being accepting of all, people with Down syndrome still must fight for the right to live, the right for inclusive education, and the right to a fair wage.

With October being Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we are reminded of what people with Down syndrome can bring to their communities. They teach us empathy. They are a canary in the eugenic coal mine whose DNA can help cure Alzheimer’s. People with Down syndrome can go to school, hold jobs, get married and have children. Their one extra chromosome is the chromosome of love, joy and inspiration. Every child who is prenatally diagnosed and born with Down syndrome has the same right to the beauty of life that we all have – and that is something worth celebrating.

Erin Thielman is the editor of Pro-Life Update. She and her husband live in Alexandria, VA with their three children. Erin is a motivational speaker for the pro-life movement.

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Aunt D
Aunt D
1 year ago

I believe that every child is a unique blessing from God and it is God who places that precious gift of life in a mother’s womb. The Bible tells us that God knew us while we were in our mother’s womb. Remember that Elisabeth’s unborn son leaped in her womb when Mary the mother of our Savior, greeted her! This unborn baby, this miracle child, knew he was in the presence of the Savior.

Janet VandenBerg
Janet VandenBerg
1 year ago
Reply to  Aunt D

Totally agree. These children are special loving children and deserve all the chances and opportunities available. Parents need to make sure the school systems allow these children to learn to their best ability. Thesr children are not handicapped children, they have a disability and deserve every option available as any other child.