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Why Should Down Syndrome Be A Death Sentence?

Jillian Morabito |
September 22, 2013 | 3:45 p.m. PDT


Disability shouldn't rob you of your right to life. (@DownDaily, Twitter)
Disability shouldn't rob you of your right to life. (@DownDaily, Twitter)
Last week, North Dakota's District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that the termination of a pregnancy due to the sex of the child or a genetic problem is illegal in their state.

In America, over 90 percent of women whose prenatal tests show they are carrying a baby with Down Syndrome choose to abort. They base their decision solely off of what disables the baby, but what about what the baby is able to do?

Ending a baby’s life before it has the chance to prove doctors wrong? Sounds like a violation of basic human rights to me.

People “rationalize” these arguments, citing that people with disbilities are “financial burdens” or that “they won’t have the same quality of life.” If the parents are truly worried about the welfare of their child, giving them the chance to live will be the greatest help to the child's well-being, not terminating the child's existence. Furthermore, if they are worried about providing (medically and financially) for their child, there are programs that can provide assistance. Also, children are costly no matter what: last time I checked, paying $60,000 a year for college is, perhaps, a bit of a financial burden.

In the end, these people that want to call themselves "parents" are simply selfish for choosing to end a child's life simply because the child is"different."

The president of Americans United for Life, Charmaine Yoest, commented:

“A civil society does not discriminate against people – born and unborn – for their sex or for disability. We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it.”

All in all, it should be about abilities first.

Having a disability doesn’t define people. It just makes them more unique than someone who is “normal” by society’s standards. More often than not, “normal” people are boring.

Climbing Mount Everest is a pretty cool accomplishment, right? Eli Reimer did it, despite having Down Syndrome. Being an MMA fighter takes a lot of courage, does it not? This man also has Down Syndrome, yet he is teaching other people to fight. It is a basic goal of all citizens to earn an education and start working. Many people with disabilities do, like Lee Jones.

I have a lot of experience being around people with special needs. From people with Down Syndrome to Autism to Rett Syndrome, they are, by far, the best people I have ever met. Though every day for them is a struggle, they do it with a smile on their faces. There is never any conflict too great, nor any obstacle too far for people with disabilities.

"Normal" children may want the latest iPhone or a shopping spree at Brandy Melville, but all a twelve year-old child with Down Syndrome wants is a friend and someone to give constant hugs to. Isn’t this a better way to live one’s life?

Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, “normal” people are the ones with disabilities. Many can’t see the “greater picture” or can’t enjoy the simple fact that they are alive.

Fortunately, people with impairments do. They should be used as teachers for the rest of society because they simply appreciate more than everyone else. Volunteering with people with special needs is one way for us to learn (check out places such as with Camp ReCreation Orange County or a local Best Buddies chapter). There is also an additional need for the public to be educated when it comes to people with disabilities.

As Americans, we tend to criticize other nations for “mistreatment of civilians” or “violation of human rights,” yet we cannot even protect our own unborn who are seen as “different?”

Thank you North Dakota for showing the rest of the country what it means to have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Reach Contributor Jillian Morabito here.



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