Right Opinion

For Babies With Down Syndrome, Quality of Life Looks Up

Tony Perkins · Mar. 7, 2018

No child is perfect. And after three years of loving a daughter with special needs, no one could be happier about that than Courtney Baker. There was a time when she, like so many women around the world, wondered if she should even go through with her pregnancy. Looking back, her heart wrenches at the thought. Little Emersyn Faith, diagnosed with Down syndrome, has been one of the most unexpected joys of her life.

It almost wasn’t so. When the diagnosis came back, tears streamed down Courtney’s face. In the face of news that would change her family’s life, her doctor said there was something she could do — abort. Terrified and in complete despair, she and her husband considered it. In the end, they couldn’t go through with it. Her doctor thought the decision was naïve — and a year and a half later, Courtney told him exactly how wrong he was. In a powerful letter that’s been shared the whole world over, she talked about a friend whose son also had Down’s. “I told you,” that doctor had said when he was born. “He’s perfect.”

I wish you would have been that doctor. I came to you during the most difficult time in my life… But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we terminate our child. I told you her name, and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome. You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy…

I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m really just sad… I’m sad you were so very wrong to say a baby with Down syndrome would decrease our quality of life. But I’m mostly sad you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter, Emersyn. Because, you see, Emersyn has not only added to our quality of life, she’s touched the hearts of thousands. She’s given us a purpose and a joy that is impossible to express. She’s given us bigger smiles, more laughter and sweeter kisses than we’ve ever known. She’s opened our eyes to true beauty and pure love… My prayer is that you, too, will now see true beauty and pure love with every sonogram.

There are thousands of moms like Courtney who couldn’t imagine life without the blessing of these smiling happy kids. In places like Iceland, most families will never know that joy. Instead, the country is intentionally targeting these innocent little lives for abortion. Close to 100 percent of the country’s women are choosing to end their pregnancy, thanks in large part to the pressure they feel from doctors. CBS covered the story as if it were a national triumph, insisting that Iceland was leading the world in “eradicating Down syndrome birth.”

But Iceland isn’t eradicating a disease — it’s eradicating a people. And a growing number of people know it. In states like North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Indiana, and Louisiana, leaders are doing everything they can to stop this new form of genocide from making its way to America. After Iceland’s radical approach started making headlines, there’s been a surge in local bills that would outlaw abortion “solely” because the baby has Down syndrome. The Washington Post calls the idea “controversial” — a view it shares with the abortion lobbyists at Planned Parenthood. As far as they’re concerned, targeting a baby because of its race, gender, or even disability is just another “personal decision.”

But ultimately, this is about a lot more than babies with Down syndrome. When society moves toward a more utilitarian view of life, where does it stop? Today, it’s children with Down syndrome. Tomorrow, it’s seniors with dementia. Once you lose the moral foundation that says people are valuable because they’re created in the image of God, anything’s possible. Iceland is the perfect example of what happens in a secularized society when religion is pushed from the public square and policymaking. Americans can’t afford to let that happen.

And yet, we’re already on our way. Studies show that anywhere from 67-90 percent of children with Down syndrome are killed through abortion here in the U.S. As President Trump said last October, “Sadly, there remain too many people — both in the United States and throughout the world — that still see Down syndrome as an excuse to ignore or discard human life. This sentiment is and will always be tragically misguided. We must always be vigilant in defending and promoting the unique and special gifts of all citizens in need. We should not tolerate any discrimination against them, as all people have inherent dignity.”

Some people have been led to believe that children or parents like Courtney will have a poor quality of life. But a survey released a few years ago found quite the opposite. It showed that adolescent children with Down syndrome are actually very happy — off-the-charts happy compared to the average teenager. And of all those parents who followed through and had their children with Down syndrome, 79 percent said their outlook on life was more positive because of their child. They understand what more people should: There are no special needs — only special gifts.

Originally published here.

Truth and the Transgender Movement

In the whirlwind few years since Caitlyn Jenner turned the culture debates on their head, many on the far Left have been so busy pushing radical transgender policies that they haven’t stopped long enough to consider the consequences for the people they’re claiming to help. Fortunately, scientific research has.

New research, The Washington Times reports, is screaming “Stop!” to the forces of political correctness carrying on Barack Obama’s agenda. In the journal JAMA, experts from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are leading more people to urge caution in this rush to trans-friendly policies. Despite what the sexual extremists might say, there’s absolutely no conclusive evidence that procedures like gender reassignment are actually helping people. (Even Obama’s CDC admitted as much in 2016.)

Even so, the authors point out, there’s been an almost four-fold increase in the number of patients diagnosed with a gender identity disorder. Despite the rapid growth rate, though, the overall numbers remain small, with only 4,118 gender reassignment surgeries being performed in the United States in a 15-year period. That’s only about one in every 56,000 Americans over the age of 18 (according to the 2010 census). It ought to lead us all to ask why our culture is being turned upside down to appease the desires of such a tiny number of troubled individuals!

FRC’s own Peter Sprigg has studied the effects of these surgeries extensively and knows that sometimes the treatments that promise the most help actually harm patients more. While the LGBT lobby and others want us to encourage this fantasy that gender is a choice, the effects of that thinking can be devastating. And Swedish researchers would be the first to say so. Sprigg writes:

[In their] “robust” study, the consequences of gender reassignment surgery are startling, and appear to be uniformly negative. They encompass not only higher rates of mental illness (as indicated by psychiatric hospitalization) than in the general Swedish population, but higher rates of physical illness — cancer (“neoplasm”) and heart disease — as well.

Most shocking of all, however, was the rate of completed suicides — which was over 19 times higher than in the general Swedish population. Transgender activists often insist that the reason gender reassignment surgery is ‘medically necessary’ is in order to prevent the suicides which might otherwise occur among those who identify as transgender but are frustrated in their desire to surgically alter their bodies. Yet the Swedish study shows that extraordinary rates of suicide persist after surgery.

At a time when courts are actually stripping parents of custody for refusing to rush their teenagers into these dangerous procedures, it’s time to stop and consider what’s actually best for the people struggling with this confusion. Children, in particular, are being sucked into a world where “feelings” are the new biology, and it’s destroying them. According to the American College of Pediatricians, gender ideology is child abuse. After all, it points out, as many as 98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty. That hasn’t stopped a loud and vocal minority from pushing people of all ages on a dangerous and irreversible path.

“There is some evidence that surgical techniques have improved, resulting in fewer or less serious physical complications after such surgery,” Peter explains. “Unfortunately, there is no evidence that such procedures achieve their ultimate goal, which is an improvement in the overall mental health of person who identifies as transgender. In other words, this increase is driven almost entirely by ideology, not by scientific evidence the procedures are ultimately effective.”

For more on what you can do on this important topic, check out Peter’s new publication, “How to Respond to the LGBT Movement.”

Originally published here.

Distortion on Abortion at Planned Parenthood

When Cecile Richards steps down from Planned Parenthood in May, she’ll have presided over some of the most scandalous years in the organization’s history. From criminal cover-ups and government fraud to the dark world of baby organ trafficking, Planned Parenthood is a case study in crisis PR.

Through it all, one of Richards’s biggest successes has been her ability to keep the group’s vise-like grip on hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Part of that is the result of the group’s lucrative political alliances, but some of it is also the result of an organization-wide misinformation campaign. We’ve watched Planned Parenthood officials lie through their teeth on everything from her clinics’ mammograms (they don’t even have machines!) to the definition of life itself.

The media runs with her claims, despite the fact that most aren’t even in the neighborhood of the truth — including this whopper from last week. During a signing ceremony with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who reinstated Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding, the president of the country’s largest abortion business insisted that her organization had been cleared of all wrongdoing.

“As you probably know, there were congressional investigations that were politically motivated,” she told reporters. “We’ve been acquitted of everything.” Is that so? What about the FBI’s ongoing investigation, which happened to be the result of that supposedly “politically motivated” select panel? Members of the House and Senate found enough evidence to refer Planned Parenthood to the Justice Department. And the Justice Department took those reports seriously enough to act. That’s to say nothing of the multi-state probes taking place for things like dumping baby bodies in landfills, refusing to report sexual abuse, and operating without a license.

In a world where killing is a day-to-day business, the truth must be a difficult thing for any abortion activist to face. But it’s time for the justice system to expose it — even if Richards won’t.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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