Down syn­drome doesn’t de­fine value

The Columbus Dispatch - - Letters To The Editor -

In his Nov. 8 op-ed “Down syn­drome re­search of­fers big pay­off,” Frank Stephens wrote a pow­er­ful and el­e­gant col­umn re­gard­ing Down syn­drome, say­ing he’s a lucky man. And, adding a touch of hu­mor, said, “And I didn’t have to jump the fence ei­ther time” re­gard­ing be­ing in­vited to the White House, twice. Stephens has class.

My sis­ter-in-law’s niece, Danielle, who has Down syn­drome, is a high­school grad­u­ate, went to col­lege and has a job. Her par­ents were aware of the di­ag­no­sis in the first trimester of preg­nancy, and planned ac­cord­ingly for her birth. She is, and al­ways has been, the de­light of the fam­ily. I love her as my own, and am proud that she calls me “Aunt” Car­men.

The abor­tion rate for fe­tuses di­ag­nosed with Down syn­drome tops 90 per­cent. The United States has an es­ti­mated ter­mi­na­tion rate of 67 per­cent, France is 77 per­cent, and Den­mark, 98 per­cent. In Ice­land, nearly ev­ery fe­tus with the con­di­tion is killed. Ice­land per­mits abor­tion af­ter 16 weeks if the fe­tus has a “de­for­mity” and, in that coun­try, Down syn­drome is in­cluded.

As Stephens stated, some lead­ers in Den­mark and Ice­land want to be “Down syn­drome free” by 2030. What a dis­gust­ing thing to pro­mote.

Fam­i­lies and co-work­ers of Frank and Danielle would say we are the lucky ones.

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