Prenatal testing can come as both a blessing and a curse. In the United States, it offers excited parents a nod to either pink or blue color schemes before they head off to Baby Gap. But in China or India, a prenatal test revealing a baby girl often times leads to the termination of a pregnancy. And then, there are parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome; what might initially seem like a curse, but unravels into a bouncing bubbly blessing.
It is true that 85-90 percent of women in America who receive prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome abort their unborn babies. Yes, many unprepared mothers choose abortion, but many more are deciding to choose life for their Down syndrome baby.
What these moms and dads, who understandably feel afraid and overwhelmed upon hearing their child’s diagnosis, need is help and hope. That’s why Concerned Women for America created www.DownSyndromeBrochure.com. We know these families can have a happy and fulfilling life with the right resources and support.
We have come a long way in the U.S. in assisting individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Today many adults with Down syndrome hold jobs, pay taxes, participate in sports, fall in love, go to college and serve as volunteers in their communities. Here are several facts about Down syndrome doctors don’t always tell you:
In the U.S. more than 350,000 persons have Down syndrome.
- Since the 1980s, the life expectancy for persons with Down syndrome has more than doubled, from 23 to 55 years of age or older.
- Children with Down syndrome are first and foremost children. They are more like other children than they are different.
- Most people with Down syndrome have some level of cognitive delay, but there is a wide spectrum of mental abilities.
- Families with a child with Down syndrome have a lower rate of divorce.
- Many siblings of children with Down syndrome have an increased awareness of special needs and develop a compassionate and caring outlook.
If you are a parent who has learned that your baby may have Down syndrome, there is help and hope. Simply visit www.DownSyndromeBrochure.com for resources and support for your family, your church, as well as adoption ministries. Currently there are more than 200 families praying to adopt a child with Down syndrome.
I want to leave you with a poignant quote from a wise mother. Lori Scheck, daughter of Beverly LaHaye and mother of Stephen, a smart and witty boy with Down syndrome, writes:
“Abortion takes the glass and heaves it over the side of a cliff while the pieces shatter on the rocks below. While it may eliminate the disappointment, sorrow and frustration, it also eliminates the hope, joy and pride of accomplishment that child can bring. What a travesty. What arrogance. What right do we have to destroy that little person because he doesn’t measure up to someone’s standard? If the choice were left up to the child, I am confident he or she would choose life. I know my son would.”