(This article is part of an ongoing series showing different adult obsessions in waging “War Against Children” by Fr. Jerry Novotny, OMI.)
Every day, throughout the world, we see the effects of hatred between people whenever we watch news on TV or open the morning newspaper. When violence breaks out, it takes place in homes, workplaces, public institutions, schools, health care facilities and on city streets. It happens in so many senseless ways and women and children are often the victims. We also see the devastating effects of violence and hatred in so many places in our world that are at war. A prime example is Ukraine. Where once there were people raising their families and making livelihoods for themselves, there is nothing but the ashes of burnt out homes and businesses. We humans can become so full of rage that we don’t care who we destroy in the process. All the destruction that takes place in this world has one source – the sin that is lurking in every human heart. We might want to point the finger at others. We might blame governments or other institutions for all the world’s misery. But, ultimately, hate and violence spring from the human heart which rejects God and His love.
Recently, not very much has been written about Down Syndrome babies. The killing of unborn babies with Downs syndrome continues to increase at an alarming rate. It appears as if the adult generation is attempting to erase an entire category of people. Once diagnosed with Down Syndrome, the unborn child of today faces almost certain death by abortion.
For example in 2017, shocking news made the headlines. “The Truth Behind Iceland’s ‘Cure’ for Down Syndrome and What it Means for the UK”. The article explained that Pre-natal tests were introduced in the early 2000s, and the vast majority who received a positive test had terminated their pregnancy. While the tests were optional, all expectant mothers in Iceland were informed about their availability, and up to 85 per cent chose to take it. These statistics however should have been a warning to the world what happens when prenatal tests are approved.
In February of 2022, Iceland was accused at the UN for aborting almost 100% of their babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Around the same time, scientists found that the number of British children born with Down syndrome has fallen by more than fifty percent, as increasing numbers of parents opt for a controversial prenatal screening test for Down syndrome.
Estimates vary, but in the United States, abortions of children whose Down syndrome is detected in the womb are in the range of about 67 percent. The lethal discrimination practiced against such persons has become a worldwide phenomenon. Denmark, whose people heroically saved over 95 percent of the Jews living there during World War II, now boasts that 98 percent of unborn children with the condition are aborted. Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, and Belgium all have rates exceeding 90 percent. (From Termination to Extermination: The International Down Syndrome Genocide)
It is important to ask ourselves whether or not a Down syndrome baby before birth is a human being. Their can be only one answer, “YES”. Why? Because Down syndrome can only occur in a living human body. Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small “packages” of genes in the body. They determine how a baby’s body forms and functions as it grows during pregnancy and after birth. Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21.
A baby is a baby first and foremost and Down syndrome is very much secondary. This little baby is a real baby, a real human being. It is precious. It is beautiful as all new babies are and has the exact same needs. Some parents cope better than others in caring for any new baby. In this case it is a question whether the baby has a disability or not.
A baby with Down syndrome is not the fault of the mother or father. It is the result of a chromosomal problem. Therefore a baby comes first and the diagnosis second. Parents should celebrate their baby’s birth just as they would any other baby.
One DAD’s reaction: “My first reaction when my daughter was born with Down syndrome, was one of some shock and confusion. I was also very concerned for the well-being of my wife and afraid she might feel disappointed – though personally I wasn’t. After the first few weeks, calmer emotions took over and I discovered what a lovely little child we had and all the fuss was forgotten. Now nearly seven years later, I just feel sorry I didn’t welcome her birth with more delight and joy. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun and happiness our child has brought us.”
A question often asked “Can a Down syndrome person lead a normal life?” The most recent research shows that Down’s syndrome is not a life-limiting condition. People with the condition can lead active, healthy and fairly independent lives into their 60s, 70’s and beyond.
Most human beings are outraged at the thought of a person being discriminated against because of a disability. Why, then, should we accept such discrimination when it happens in the womb? Every life has a value. Every human life is a beautiful gift from God. Children with Down syndrome are gifts from God. They have a basic HUMAN RIGHT TO LIFE. They lead fulfilling lives, inspire sweeping acts of love and totally depend on us. Part of society seeks to dismiss them as ‘imperfect,’ but they deserve the same chance at life as any other unborn child.
The world community condemned the Nazi for trying to create a perfect race. Society today has entered the same slippery slope of silent eugenics eliminating human beings who are classified as unwanted: the elderly, the sick, the Down Syndrome, sex selection, IVF (only 5 of 100 survive), criminals; who will be next on this list, prenatal screening for autism?
When terrorist attacks or other senseless acts of violence take place, we’re not always sure what to do about it or how to prevent it from happening again. However, we do know what to do about personal sin. Killing a child with Down syndrome is a personal decision. Sin has brings nothing but death and destruction. Some of it has been devastating, like the many wars that continue to be fought all over the world. Most sin, however, wreaks its havoc in small ways in our personal lives.
But sin, destruction and death are not the final chapter in human history. There is a happy ending to it all. For, as tragically as sin has disfigured our lives, just so mercifully and completely has God saved us in Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve could never have imagined what evils their disobedience would unleash on the world. Neither could they have imagined that God would take on our humanity and die to bring the new life of the Resurrection.
“Is it legitimate to take out a human life to solve a problem?” Pope Francis asks. “Is it permissible to contract a hitman to solve a problem?” He argues that using abortion as a mode of “prevention” could never be condoned and that such a position has “nothing to do” with faith. The “Hitman” (an abortionist) can never deny families the right to welcome the weakest of children created by God.
The Catholic Church teaches that Human Life is sacred and inviolable and the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes is never permitted. However, by removing God from society, abortion has become “normal” in many countries. Aborting babies with Down syndrome, deformed feet, cleft lips and palates, as well as other medical abnormalities, have become more and more commonplace. The Church teaches that all people are sacred, made in the image and likeness of God, including Down syndrome unborn children. People do not lose dignity because of disability, poverty, age, lack of success, or race. This principle must be the foundation for society’s promotion of respect for human life.
It’s time for Catholics to come home. It’s time to follow “what God wants” and not “what man wants”. God speaks to us within the framework of the Catholic Church. He speaks to us daily through the comments of the Holy Father, the teachings handed down through tradition over the years, and Bible which contain the very Words of God Himself. Through the Catholic Church, God communicates the “Unwavering Truth” about the protection of human life. God unwaveringly stands up for the lives of all unborn, from their very beginning until their natural end. God unwaveringly insists that the life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and in every condition.
Through Baptism, Catholics share in the life of God. In order for us to become mature Catholics, it is necessary to make right decisions and Trust God 100%, regardless of what the world around us says. The main reason is that Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When destructive life choices interfere with God’s intended purpose for our lives, we as Catholics must step forward and make our voices heard. Remember, what we do for others, we do for God Himself. Matthew 25:40 says, “I can guarantee this truth: whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Brian Clowes, a Human Life International speaker, summarizes it very well when he replied to the question “Shall we accept disabled/defected children?”
Disabled children present us with a difficult problem. Society’s answer to this problem will decide whether we truly reflect the glory of God in our families and in our society. If we welcome the child who is “less than perfect,” in either his appearance or his abilities, then we are more truly a human – and Godly – people. Abortion because of birth defects rejects the child in our midst, God’s gift to us – therefore rejecting God Himself.
Additional Insights into (1) when life begins, (2) continuum, and (3) the need for correct formation of conscience based on objective facts with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life.
- Dr. C. Ward Kischer in his article When Does Human Life Begin? speaks about the continuum of life. Quote: Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being. The reason why this is true is the following: Human development is a continuum in which so-called stages overlap and blend one into another. Indeed, all of life is contained within a time continuum. Thus, the beginning of a new life is exacted by the beginning of fertilization, the reproductive event which is the essence of life. So, the continuum of human development does not cease until death, whenever that may occur, in utero or at 100 years of age.
- Dr. Dianne Irving writes in her research paper Human Embryology and Church Teachings (section E. Correct Formation of Conscience) What is needed, the Church recognizes, is a cultural transformation: “The first and fundamental step towards this cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life.” The darkening of the human conscience concerning the early human being is of considerable concern to the Church: (excerpt:) “The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life. … [W]e need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. … Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence.” (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 1995, pars. 4 and 58).