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Archive for the ‘Eugenics’ Category

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Recently Richard Dawkins created a stir with some thoughtless tweets about aborting people with Down Syndrome, and Live Action has a column about the motives of some who abort their babies with Down Syndrome. With respect to author Sarah Terzo, it is an untempered treatment of deep complexities not at all explicated in the article, nor even hinted at. In the interest of truth and justice for many post-abortive mothers, here is a deeper exploration. It comes by way of my own experiences as the father of a special needs child.

When Regina became pregnant with Joseph (our first) it was pure magic. This child we feared might never be conceived after four years of prayers and disappointments, our first baby, was on the way. Early on we were offered the AFP, which tests for fetal anomalies and has many false-positive results.

We refused.

Why chance a positive result which would require amniocentesis to confirm, especially when amniocentesis kills one in every two hundred babies on which it is performed? There was no way that we would abort our baby, no matter what. “Besides,” I added to our bewildered Ob, “If God has X number of handicapped babies He needs to send into the world, we’ll take one. Children with needs require more love, not less.”

I never really thought He would take me up on that little bit of bravado.

It just didn’t make sense to have tests, to eat our hearts out if there were some potential anomaly that couldn’t be fixed. (Fetal surgery was just getting going at the time.)

Freeze frame. That’s an incredibly vulnerable time in every way for a woman. Physically she is immunocompromised, and increasingly uncomfortable toward the end. There’s the exhaustion of the first and third trimesters. There’s all sorts of concerns. At precisely the moment that a woman needs all the support she can get, when standing by her means everything for the father, for family and friends, she is hit with a devastating diagnosis.

Joseph was turning five when after years of misdiagnoses he was finally correctly diagnosed by some of the best minds in the field:

Autism, moderately profound.
ADHD
Mixed Expressive/Receptive Language Disorder (half of all tests he didn’t respond enough to establish a basal score)
Speech equivalent of 2.1 years
IQ tests: half very low average, half borderline.
Static Encephalopathy.
Cerebellar Defect.
Sensory Integration Disorder.

Shattering doesn’t begin to describe the pitch blackness I found myself in. It was a blackness so black that I couldn’t even see my wife’s pain and bewilderment. The upshot of it all was “What happens to Joseph when we’re gone?”

For the first time in my life I knew not only fear, but panic. So, I can relate to the parents who get the news when their baby is still in utero, when they are in a far more vulnerable state than we were. They also have an additional burden that I didn’t. I had Joseph for nearly five years. We had developed a relationship: I fed, bathed, changed, played with him. I dressed him, and took him everywhere I went. These parents know their child less concretely, more abstractly.

No one suggested that Regina and I kill our child. But it isn’t that way with poor prenatal diagnoses. I’ve met scores of women who were beset by the medical geneticists and their Ob’s to abort the baby. Far too many have recounted how they were burdened with blame:

“What do you mean you want to keep it? Why would you make your baby suffer that way?”

Lovely. Were that not bad enough, such news often comes when women have only one or two weeks left before they can no longer have an abortion (Statutory regulation).

Worse still are the fathers who pressure the mothers to abort, threatening financial, emotional and physical abandonment. “You’ll raise that freak on your own!” What a betrayal of trust and love, of all those little promises whispered when making love and begetting the baby.

More tragic still is the pressure from family and friends, and all too often, there stands the frightened, unsupported and completely besieged mother at precisely her most vulnerable moment.

So much for respecting women, for love and fidelity, for choice, for patient autonomy, for informed consent: Especially informed consent.

Parents are frequently not told of the surgeries, the therapies (medical, occupational, physical, speech, educational) that are available. They aren’t told of the Early Intervention program, of the advances made by those with Down Syndrome, of how many are now attending and graduating from college.

In other words, they are deprived of hope.

Comments made when they show up at an abortion center need to be evaluated in that light. In psychology the comments quoted by Terzo can be a good example of the defense mechanism called, “Reaction Formation,” which is the tendency to express the opposite of what one is feeling and threatened by, but cannot face.

So, how do we proceed?

Three years ago when I was National Director of Medical Students for Life, I approached some like-minded folks and with them brought to fruition a medical conference I had long envisioned as a means of enlightening the medical community. So, on January 21, 2012 at Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, DC, we held the first conference on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Interventions. It was live-cast and recorded and the entire conference can be viewed here. There will be more such conferences in the near future.

The purpose of the conference was to enlighten not only the medical community, but the rest of society; to give hope to those whose fear begets some of the ugly quotes in the Terzo article.

Regina and I were blessed with many beautiful and wonderful people who came into our lives and helped teach Joseph, most especially Mr. Robert Marinello who is one of the finest and most gifted speech therapists in the field. He got Joseph communicating in very short order, and gave me back my son. In the eleven years since we received the shattering diagnoses, Joseph has come into his own. He is poised to become an Eagle Scout in October at the age of fifteen, scored in the 98th percentile on his end of year testing this year, and is an accomplished athlete and dancer.

It took years, several years, to relax and trust that all would be well, to realize:

That God’s definition of well is not my own.

That God’s plans and dreams for Joseph are quite different from what I had envisioned when Regina gave birth.

That God was right beside me all of those sleepless nights I sat in the rocking chair beside Joseph’s bed, contemplating his future.

That God has an army of healers who do as a matter of routine what required the laying on of hands by Jesus two thousand years ago.

That God will use our fear and turn it into sacrificial love’s engine.

That God will then use special parents as the evangelists of this Gospel of Love.

In retrospect, what most made for the experience of being shattered was the fear of a loveless world and what it would do to our son. But God is faithful and He has shown us through our son an army of people who offer love, and hope, and opportunity.

Joseph is in good company among his peers with his particular style of learning and being in the world. The many therapists and professionals with whom he has worked have brought him and his peers not only into the realm of functionality, but of competitiveness with peers who are neurotypical. The same may be said of those with Down Syndrome.

News reports of parents seeking abortions for their special needs babies rightly anger and disgust us, but they don’t accurately portray all who receive these diagnoses. They also don’t delve into that pitch blackness in which I found myself, and in which these parents find themselves. The difference between us?

In my heart I knew that God would be faithful and what I was despairing of most of all was my own sense of smallness and inadequacy regarding the task before me. It was God’s fidelity as my father that empowered me.

I don’t judge these people quoted by Terzo. I agonize for them in their helplessness and hopelessness.

Take some time and watch the entire conference linked here. Then share this good news far and wide.

For many, all they need is the light of truth to begin to embrace their babies, to embrace their parenthood.

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desk

Wesley J. Smith has a disturbing article dealing with Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu’s proposal to screen human embryos for intelligence. Smith quotes Savulescu:

A common objection is that being smarter does not make your life better. In this study, researchers were concerned with those with an IQ between 70-85. Below 70 is classified as intellectual disability but an IQ of 70 to 75 is similar to mild intellectual disability.

Even for individuals with an IQ between 75 and 90 there are still significant disadvantages. Job opportunities tend to be the least desirable and least financially rewarding, requiring significant oversight…Individuals with this lower level of intelligence are at significant risk of living in poverty (16%), being a chronic welfare dependent (17%) and are much more likely to drop out of school (35%) compared to individuals with average intelligence.

Studies show that there is also an increased risk of incarceration and being murdered.

Read it all.

When it comes to eugenics, there is simply no end to the killing until a just people rises up and either kills or incarcerates the practitioners, as was the case with Nazi Germany. When forced sterilizations weren’t enough, there were detention camps, which gave way to concentration camps where people were shot and buried. When that proved too slow and cumbersome to effect the eugenic goal, gas chambers were built, with exhaust fumes from tanks pumped in. When that proved still too slow, larger chambers using cyanide gas were built, and ovens to cremate the remains.

Eugenics has a malignant mania that increases with demonic furor the further in one goes. When we go from preventing birth to active killing, a point of no return is reached and the killing can only be brought to an end by brute force. Consider Savulescu’s argument.

He begins with screening embryos for genetic signposts pointing to potential cognitive capacity. He justifies the killing by pointing to undesirable outcomes such as poverty, welfare dependence and dropping out of school, ignoring that the risks are all very low. Poverty, welfare dependence, and being a school dropout are reason enough in Savulescu’s cramped worldview to kill those who might end up there. By that logic, why should we tolerate those who do end up there? Ought we not have camps for such “human weeds,” as Margaret Sanger called them? And what happens when we tire of supporting the camps?

There are certain cardinal virtues that go with being a Ph.D. My life’s mentor, Father Luke McCann, Ph.D., once told me that those cardinal virtues are contained in the three little letters of the title:

Prudence.

Humility.

Decorum.

I would submit that Savulescu and his fellow travelers are bereft of all three. They are also bereft of the very intelligence they stake such a claim to possessing, as intelligence goes beyond capacity for factual recall, but involves the capacity for problem solving. Advanced intelligence goes beyond mere problem solving and involves the capacity for vision guided by empathy and moral principle. Ph.D.’s are not awarded our degrees for merely taking classes and passing tests. We are awarded the degree for making novel discoveries, for advancing the knowledge within our field of endeavor. In other words, one must demonstrate vision and match the vision with corresponding accomplishment. So where does Savulescu and his cohort get it wrong?

PRUDENCE

Their vision becomes constricted and they lose perspective on life. Intellect for its own sake becomes the pursuit, and they can’t tolerate the aboriginals spoiling their view of an idealized landscape. It becomes easier to kill the marginalized than to create systems that incorporate them more fully into society. How academia has fallen.

There have been several movements in psychology and medicine to give more humane treatment to the “insane.” Forward thinking physicians tried “Moral Therapy” as it was known, where patients were no longer locked in asylums that resembled dungeons. Instead, they were housed in the country and visited regularly by the physician who would bring a small cake, or other gift. In the 1970’s, the warehousing of the mentally retarded ended, and the Group Home movement began, a modern reincarnation of moral therapy. To society’s surprise we learned that “retards” could actually be taught and gainfully employed. So successful has this been that the terms “mentally retarded” and “retard” are uttered today only by boors. People enhanced with an extra chromosome are now graduating from college!

The community of parents with children who have autism are similarly on the march. Marginalization only happens when ignorance and fear trump reason and compassion.

HUMILITY

The jobs that exist on the margins are only marginal to pompous, effete academics. A closer look reveals the central importance of the work that the lowest-paid workers perform. Taking deliveries and stocking shelves in stores is vital work for those who do not produce their own food. So too for cashiers and maintenance workers, cleaning crews, and kitchen staff. They are the unsung and thankless jobs that make civilization civilized. When Martin Luther King Jr. called for blacks to stay at home and not go to work, whites got a good taste of how indispensable those they disdained truly are.

The rarefied air of universities often induces a case of intellectual and spiritual anoxia in those who never darken the chapel door. Savulescus are the result.

DECORUM

Savulescu above all should know that doctors are not free, but constrained. There are simply some groups that one never, ever goes after. If the privileges of the faculty club are the perks for years spent in advanced study and intellectual pursuits, then the unspoken rule is that one NEVER goes after others of unequal academic accomplishment because of their unequal accomplishment. This is especially true for those of unequal capability. There was a time when Savulescu would have been shunned by the academic community for doing so.

One of my professors in graduate school once told me that the Ph.D. is no big deal. “It’s a union card, Gerry. Nothing more. If you want to do this work, you need the union card. The big deal is your publication list at your retirement party.” How very true. It isn’t the degree, but what one does with it that counts.

Oxford now has some soul-searching to do. Do they tolerate a Savulescu in their midst under the soiled banner of “Academic Freedom?” Do they show him the door? If we are to salvage a crumbling western civilization, then the formation of our young in universities and colleges will need to be done by Ph.D.’s who understand and live the three cardinal virtues of academics:

Prudence, Humility, Decorum.

Absent brute military force, that’s the only non-violent response to eugenics.

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Forestfirehires

There is good news in North Dakota this week as the legislature there has passed two bills: one outlawing gender-selective and eugenic abortions rooted in genetic anomalies, and the other outlawing abortion once a heartbeat is detectable. Get the N.Y. Times story here.

This news comes hot on the heels of Arizona’s banning abortions at 12 weeks, and adds to the victories in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma, which have banned sex-selective abortions. While this is all good news, we must stop and consider what is happening here, what is being accomplished, and how far we have fallen.

There was a time when the American Civil Liberties Union actually championed the rights of the weakest and least among us to the fullest protection of the law. Times have changed, as we’ve seen last week in North Dakota. From the Times article:

“We urge the governor to veto all of these bills to ensure that this personal and private decision can be made by a woman and her family, not politicians sitting in the Capitol,” said Jennifer Dalven, the director of the A.C.L.U.’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

But again, and again, the central issue remains the great unanswered question, one which Ms. Dalven and her organization would have answered with ease in a bygone era:

Do politicians sitting in the capital, or judges in courtrooms have the right to determine who among us is human and what the criteria for being considered human ought to be?

This isn’t a religious question, but a civil one, and hinging on it is nothing less than the fate of American jurisprudence, as well as scientific and biomedical ethics. Before one can pass a law, make a legal judgement, or perform a scientific or clinical manipulation, one must first determine the identity and status of the object under consideration.

People of reason and good will recoil at the consideration of our slave-holding past in America. They similarly recoil at our segregationist past, as well as our past with eugenic sterilization. All of these issues are repellent to the ACLU as well, and as Ms. Dalven would have to agree, these issues scorched the American landscape precisely because the legislators sitting in capitals failed to rein in justices and judges who were out of control.

Ms. Dalven would also have to agree that these issues scorched the American landscape precisely because a political elite arrogated to themselves the power to define personhood criteria. This was done as the sole means of usurping the ability to control those rights defined by the Founders as unalienable and granted solely by the Creator.

Having abandoned the protection of the weakest among us and championing the “rights” of those who prey upon the weak, the ACLU has gutted itself. In championing the right to murder little girls for being little girls, and for championing the murder of the genetically imperfect, the ACLU has become indistinguishible from the slaveholding and segregationist class it once despised and against whom it found its organizational identity.

Such is the malevolent power of abortion to corrupt.

In Roe v. Wade the justices argued that the absence of scientific evidence supporting a definitive beginning of life was their rationale for permitting abortion. Using arguments from the Middle Ages, such as ‘quickening’, they ignored the embryology texts of their day that fixed the beginning of human life at fertilization. With the advances in embryoscopy and ultrasonography today one would think that the last vestige of doubt would have been destroyed by science, warranting a revisiting of Roe by the Court; but that would require intellectual honesty and human decency.

Instead, today, forty years later we are now arguing the right to target what science shows as fully formed human beings because of their genetalia, or because of some atypical genetic constellation.

Instead,, today, forty years later Planned Parenthood has dropped the euphemisms such as “pro-choice,” no longer seeing them as necessary or servicable.

Similarly, the attempts to defeat the fetal heartbeat bills bespeak a duplicity from the outset. What can be more human or romantic than the sound of a beating heart?

Taken together, those are profoundly troubling developments. We have defined deviancy down. We are arguing over a degree of malevolance that makes the original argument pale in comparison.

The Democrat Party defeated attempts in Congress last year to outlaw sex-selective abortions. In those and other similar measures, both they and the ACLU have abandoned the moral high ground. Let’s hope that the Republican governor of North Dakota has the courage to pick up the fallen battle standard of the left and soldier on.

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Recently, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dropped her guard and gave the American people a good insight into how it is that Obamacare will ultimately stay solvent: The nonexistence of patients who, not being alive, cannot make claims upon the system.

From CNSNews.com

During the subcommittee hearing, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said that contraception provided by insurance companies to people employed by religious organizations under the future form of the rule Sebelius described would not be was not free.

“Who pays for it? There’s no such thing as a free service,” Murphy asked.

Sebelius responded that that is not the case with insurance.

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for cost of contraception,” Sebelius answered.

Murphy expressed surprise by the answer.

“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” Murphy asked.

Sebelius replied, “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children.”

Murphy again sought clarification.

“Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me. I yield back,” he said.

Sebelius responded, “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine.”

See and hear Sebelius in her own words:

Now this week comes word that the Congessional Budget Office estimates Obamacare will cost twice its originally promised cost. News also comes of the return of what Sarah Palin dubbed, “Death Panels” for healthcare rationing. Far from right wing flights of fancy, these realities already exist in chilling bureaucratic routine across the nation in hospital committees who decide when patients have used too many resources, and in Oregon’s health care system where the government decides when a patient’s remaining quality of life justifies the expense of keeping them alive.

Here is the ABC News article about one such patient, Barbara Wagner. It is a portal into the national future.

Adding fuel to the fire is the issue of states increasingly strained by the growing number of civil service pensioners who do their 20 years and retire on full pensions.

Add to that the Social Security insolvency.

It becomes clear that Sebelius has not so much committed a gaffe as she has revealed the solution her fellow travelers see to our insolvency issues: decreasing the number of claimants on the system decreases the system’s expenditures. Nonexistence of humans on the front end of the life spectrum will fund the cost of the HHS contraception mandate through the offsetting of the non-conceived human’s non-claims on the system. Applying the same thinking on the other end of the life spectrum will realize a bumper crop of savings for local, state, and the federal government when civil service pensioners are denied life-saving services, or have them delayed long enough in rationing lines in the hopes that the patient will be overtaken by the disease while waiting.

Being a Pacific Northwestern Governor, Sarah Palin looked to one of her closest neighbors, Oregon, and saw clearly the future of the pro-abortion, anti-life, rabidly eugenic left wing. It is far easier to cull the herd than grow the economy, especially in a political party that is opposed to all known and practical sources of energy; to a political party that has made a central plank of their platform the reduction of the world’s population.

We are a nation in serious, serious trouble.

To only blame the Obama administration or the Democrat Party is to miss the fact that sufficient numbers of Americans agree with these people. Far too many uphold the right for someone else to slaughter their child, even though they are personally opposed to doing so.

So many uphold he right of others to force doctors to perform manslaughter through physician-assisted suicide, even if it violates the doctor’s conscience.

So many uphold the forcing of all medical students to perform abortions against their consciences.

So many uphold the forcing of religious institutions and private businesses to purchase contraceptives against their consciences.

90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, with costs to the parents and the ‘system’ cited by physicians and genetic counselors in a coercive campaign to rid the world of these “defectives”.

Far too many in this nation support the coercion of physicians and private citizens to do the government’s bidding when doing so violates consciences formed by thousands of years of civilized precepts. Now we have established that private and institutional conscience is the property of the state, the state is taking full advantage of the opportunity to advance its agenda.

Hitler never could have accomplished his malignant agenda without the support of the German people in sufficient numbers. It takes more than a village, it takes a nation to be good or evil. Today, our nation balances on a razor’s edge.

It will take more than the November elections to turn things around. It’s going to take the realization of what is at stake. It’s no longer someone else’s ox getting gored.

We’re all in peril.

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Hot on the heels of our medical conference last Saturday, Therapeutic Advances in Poor Prenatal Diagnoses, comes this letter from Archbishop Chaput to the people of his archdiocese. Opposition to this new eugenics is swelling all over the nation. Here is a bishop who makes me proud of my Church.

Earlier this week local media covered the story of Amelia Rivera, a young girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome reportedly denied a kidney transplant by a local hospital. Amelia’s syndrome results in serious developmental delays, and according to her parents, the hospital declined a transplant due to her diminished mental ability and shortened lifespan.

It’s unwise to assume that news media get all the details of a story like this right, or that the motives of an entire hospital’s leadership and staff are as unfeeling as an individual doctor might seem. Nonetheless, a couple of things are worth noting. First, Amelia’s parents are persons who love their daughter zealously for who she is, and who know the beauty and dignity of her life despite her disability. Second, the habit of treating genetically disabled children as somehow less worthy of life is growing across the country.

A number of my friends have children with disabilities. Their problems range from cerebral palsy to Turner’s syndrome to Trisomy 18, which is extremely serious. Prenatal testing can now detect a high percentage of pregnancies with a risk of genetic problems.

The tests often aren’t conclusive. But they’re pretty good. And the results of those tests are brutally practical. Studies show that more than 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome, for example, now get terminated in the womb. They’re killed because of a flaw in one of their chromosomes – a flaw that’s neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable.

The older a woman gets, the higher her risk of bearing a child with special needs. And so, in medical offices around the country, pregnant women now hear from doctors or genetic counselors that their baby has “an increased likelihood” of a genetic flaw based on one or more prenatal tests. Some doctors deliver this information with sensitivity and great support for the woman. But, as my friends know from experience, too many others seem more concerned about avoiding lawsuits, or managing costs, or even, in a few ugly cases, cleaning up the gene pool.

In practice, medical professionals can now steer an expectant mother toward abortion simply by hinting at a list of the child’s possible defects. And the most debased thing about that kind of pressure is that doctors know better than anyone else how vulnerable a woman can be in hearing potentially tragic news about her unborn baby.

I’m not suggesting that doctors should hold back vital knowledge from parents. Nor should they paint an implausibly upbeat picture of life with a child who has a disability. Facts and resources are crucial in helping adult persons prepare themselves for difficult challenges. But doctors, genetic counselors and medical school professors should have on staff – or at least on speed dial – experts of a different sort.

Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective.

Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential. They’ve seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits – often miraculous – of parental love and faith.

Expectant parents deserve to know that a child with special needs can love, laugh, learn, work, feel hope and excitement, make friends and create joy for others. These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect. They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally.

Raising a child with special needs can be demanding. It always involves some degree of suffering. Parents grow up very fast. None of my friends who has a daughter or son with a serious disability is melodramatic, or self-conscious, or even especially pious about it. They speak about their special child with an unsentimental realism.

It’s a realism flowing out of love – real love, the kind that forces its way through fear and suffering to a decision, finally, to surround the child with their heart and trust in the goodness of God. And that decision to trust, of course, demands not just real love, but also real courage.

The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is never between some imaginary perfection or imperfection. None of us is perfect. No child is perfect. The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear.

That’s the choice we face when it happens in our personal experience. And that’s the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not.

This Sunday, January 22, marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legitimized permissive abortion around the country. More than 45 million abortions later, the damage of that decision continues to grow — undermining our reverence for the life not just of unborn children but of the mentally and physically disabled as well.

We need to understand that if some lives are regarded as unworthy, respect for all life is at risk. We should pray that Amelia Rivera gets the help she needs, and that God surrounds her parents with the support they need.

And especially this week, more than ever, we should recommit ourselves to defending the dignity of all human life, no matter how “flawed” it may seem in the eyes of the world.

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Late last Spring I became increasingly convinced that a major area not tackled by the pro-life movement in any coordinated fashion is the new eugenics movement in fetal medicine. Specifically, increasing numbers of physicians are advising, demanding, and even coercing women to abort babies diagnosed with what have become known collectively as “Poor Prenatal Diagnoses.” Such conditions as Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, Anencephaly, Spina Bifida, etc… constitute this constellation.

Over the past two years, I have heard dozens of women tell me their personal horror stories, many of whom refusing to abort and then going on to have a perfectly normal child. We hear of countries in Europe who are boasting that they will have eradicated Down Syndrome in a few short years, not by eliminating the ongoing occurrence of trisomy 21, but by a 100% abortion rate as the diagnoses come in.

Why not tell women of all that can be done to help these babies?

I contacted Chris Gacek of the Family Research Council, who put me in touch with Jeanne Monahan, the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity. Together with Jeanne, and with the advice of Peg Kolm of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and my good friend Leticia Velasquez who co-founded KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome), a working group formed around the idea of having a full day medical conference for medical professionals and the public alike. What emerged from this group is the Council on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Interventions.

And here we are. A wonderful collaborative project with others including the Lejeunne Foundation on therapeutics from the womb and throughout the individual’s life.

The conference on Saturday will be live webcast from FRC Headquarters in Washington, and is free to sign up and watch. Just follow this link to register. (We’re pretty near our limit for in-person attendance)

Conference main speakers will address the tidal wave of therapeutic interventions available for these children. They include:

John Bruchalski, M.D.
Byron Calhoun, M.D.
Alberto Costa, M.D., Ph.D.
Jeanne Monahan, M.A.
Gerard Nadal, Ph.D.
David Prentice, Ph.D.
Laura Toso, M.D.

In addition, we’ll be hearing the witness of Samuel Armas, the little baby who had fetal surgery for Spina Bifida, and whose hand was photographed reaching out from the womb and holding the finger of his surgeon. He’ll be there with his mother, Julie.

We’re also going to have a panel discussion and presentations by people who have founded organizations to support these children and their parents:

Melinda Delahoyde, Care Net
Leticia Velasquez, Kids
Christopher Bell, Good Counsel Homes
Nancy Mayer Whittington, Isaiah’s Promise
Mary Kellett, Prenatal Partners for Life

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life

Paper Presentations by medical students.

Documentary preview and discussion by In Altum Productions Filmmakers
Jordan Allott and Daniel Allott.

The conference begins at 8:30 A.M. and ends at 5:00 P.M.

The good news is that there is a group of physicians here in New York who have been thinking along the same lines, as well as pro-life medical professionals around the country who have all come up with the same concern and the same resolve to effect a change. It’s the leading of the Holy Spirit, and just in time. Many medical school professors encourage eugenic abortion and don’t teach the therapeutics. This conference will pierce the encroaching shroud of silence and shine the light on all that medicine has to offer its tiniest patients.

So, starting this coming Saturday, The Council on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Interventions is kicking off A Year of Hope and Healing, which will see more conferences and coordinated activity in bringing to the fore the many support and advocacy groups, more physicians, scientists, and ethicists.

Please join us this coming Saturday for the live webcast, and spread the good word!

Again, it’s free to attend on-line. Just register at this link.

http://www.frc.org/player.swf

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When Regina was pregnant with our three children, people would ask if it was a boy or a girl. When I responded with, “We don’t know,” I was met with the ubiquitous, iniquitous, mindless, and moronic refrain:

“As long as it’s healthy.”

I would challenge this well-intentioned, ill-thought well-wish with:

“If it isn’t, we’ll love the child all the same, and even more.”

That shook people out of their torpor and made them realize exactly what they were saying. It usually left most pretty angry with me.

“Can’t you just accept a good wish and leave it at that?” was the reply of one associate.

It’s a valid point, but one that fails to own up to what was being said. “As long as it’s healthy,” is a world apart from, “I wish your child health and happiness.” Even in the absence of health, one can have happiness, fulfillment and contentment. In an age of increasing reliance on pre-natal technology to murder the pre-born for the crimes of being female, male, having cleft palate, clubbed foot, spina bifida, Down syndrome, trisomy 18, etc…, “As long as it’s healthy,” rings deadly ominous. It needs to be confronted.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the antidote to our eugenic mentality in a letter to his daughter, Patsy. It stands for all time as the most eloquent reproach to the intolerance of imperfection:

Every human being must be viewed according to what it is good for; for none of us, no, not one, is perfect; and were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love.

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