One of the most common misconceptions about Down syndrome is that people with this condition come with their own challenges, and raising a child with Down syndrome can be an intimidating task. However, contrary to popular belief, individuals with Down syndrome can excel in school, work, live independently, and make a difference if given an opportunity.
“A child born with Down syndrome today has brighter prospects than at any other point in history,” New Atlantis Senior Editor Caitrin Keiper wrote in an article.
This film celebrates 40 years of the National Down Syndrome Society and highlights the accomplishments of people from our community who weren’t held back by limitations.Help us keep the fight going. Make a donation at LawSyndrome.org
由 National Down Syndrome Society 发布于 2019年2月11日周一
But sadly, according to appalling statistics, 67–88 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in the United States, 9o percent in the United Kingdom, 98 percent in Denmark, and 100 percent in Iceland.
Should society stop a fetus’s beating heart just because of an extra chromosome?
Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher got his point across by uploading a moving speech by Special Olympian, actor, and disability advocate Frank Stephens on Facebook.
“Everyone’s life is valuable,” Kutcher captioned the thought-provoking video.
Everyone's life is valuable.
由 Ashton Kutcher 发布于 2019年1月16日周三
The video depicts Stephens, who has Down syndrome, addressing Congress in 2017. He says: “I am not a research scientist; however, no one knows more about life with Down syndrome than I do.”
“Whatever you learn today, please remember this: I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living,” Stephens stresses.
This testimony, exactly one year ago today, has changed my life a little. I truly hope the research that comes from it…
An emotional Stephens continues: “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.”
“The people pushing this particular final solution are saying that people like me should not exist,” he adds. “That view is deeply prejudiced by an outdated idea of life with—of life with Down syndrome. Seriously, I have a great life.”
In the video, Stephens explains why unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome should not be aborted, and instead be given a chance to live.
“I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence, but to those who question the value of people with Down syndrome, I would make three points,” he says.
Stephens points out:
“First, we are a medical gift to society, a blueprint for medical research into cancer, Alzheimer’s, and immune system disorders.”
“Second, we are an unusually powerful source of happiness: A Harvard-based study has discovered that people with Down syndrome, as well as their parents and siblings, are happier than society at large. Surely happiness is worth something?”
“Finally, 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.”
Stephens further mentions: “On a deeply personal note, I cannot tell you how much it means to me that my extra chromosome might lead to the answer to Alzheimer’s. It’s likely that this thief will one day steal my memories, my very life, from me.”
A moved Stephens added, “This is very hard for me to say, but it has already begun to steal my mom from me. Please, think about all those people you love the way I love my mom.”
It’s not the first time the video of Frank Stephens’s 2017 testimony made its rounds on social media. Nevertheless, Kutcher’s post has gone super viral, racking up more than 21 million views, over 219,000 reactions, and some 12,000 comments.
The video supposedly could have garnered this attention due to Virginia’s proposed abortion bill, and the recent passing of the controversial Reproductive Health Act, which loosens the restrictions on late-term abortions.
Many users concurred with Kutcher’s message that “Everyone’s life is valuable.”
One wrote: “Every life is valuable. Even a fetus in the womb, whether it be 8 weeks or 33 weeks. They deserve justice and a chance.”
“You are absolutely correct,” another commented.
“Everyone’s life is valuable, which is why abortion should be made illegal! Babies in the womb have life and their life has just as much value as everyone outside of the womb. Yet many choose to ignore their value.”
Whilst some abortion rights activists were not too happy.
“I think he’s awesome. But you can not. I repeat can not take away a women’s choice to not have a child if she becomes aware there is a possibility of a birth defect of any kind or maybe perhaps she knows she doesn’t have the patience or the money to care for a ill child ??? Can’t forget that. It doesn’t mean his life isn’t worth living it means you don’t and nobody has a right to tell any women what to do with her body. End of story. Complete end of story. It is nobody else’s choice but hers,” one woman opined.
Many users, who have family members with Down syndrome or other disabilities, hit back at the abortion rights activists.
“I see a lot of ladies talking here about giving women the choice to have an abortion if the child has a defect. As the sister of a boy with autism, I can say that that aborting such a child is selfish. Yes, there is the argument of not being prepared to take care of such a child. The truth is that no one is ready,” one wrote. “My mom wasn’t ready to take care of my brother, yet he is now one of the strongest and sweetest people I know. It takes learning and sacrifice to take care of special needs children. God sees every life as valuable, even the lives of those with special needs. I know I am going to get yelled at for saying this but I have to.”
One woman advised moms not to “make the mistake of believing and trusting what all doctors say.”
She shared: “My entire 1st pregnancy I had doctor’s tell me my baby had Down Syndrome. They took blood work, checked genetics, viewed ulrasounds, etc. I refused to go the Amnio testing because of the highlevel miscarriage risk. Some women choose to take that test and then miscarry and find out that the baby didn’t have any down syndrome. I stopped further testing after the 6th doctor asked me if I wanted an abortion cause my results were so high. If I would have listened to them, I would have aborted a perfectly healthy baby.”
In response to the heated debate, Stephens told Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt on Feb. 1: “About abortion, I don’t want to make it illegal. I want to make it unthinkable. Politicians change laws. I want to change people’s hearts. I want to change people’s hearts by changing people’s minds and hearts together.”
Stephens again emphasized: “My life is worth living because it is fantastic.”
“I’ve gotten to travel all over the world. I get to workshop a play in New York. I’m going to be in two documentaries which will be on next month. And I have a lovely girlfriend, friends and a wonderful family,” he said.
"Politicians change laws. I want to change people’s hearts"-Frank Stephens discussses his 2017 viral testimony about the value of his life, which resurfaced amid a national debate about abortion laws
由 Fox & Friends 发布于 2019年2月1日周五
Isn’t it simply cruel to deny a being the chance to live even before they are born?
Would the world be a better place after killing these fetuses that are deemed an inconvenience? Probably not. Just as Mother Teresa once said: “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?”
Thumbnail Credit: Video Screenshot | C-SPAN