I have never felt quite so encouraged and inspired, and yet so angry, in my life! All day, my phone has been going virtually non-stop as messages come in via texts, Facebook, emails, and phone calls. And all in response to a simple Facebook post I made this morning.
As the administrator of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), I receive all the emails sent to our general email account, and yesterday when one came in from a counselor of a pregnancy care centre, I immediately forwarded it to all of my colleagues, and then responded to the email asking if I was allowed to make a Facebook post about it. This morning, she responded giving me permission so I promptly made a post saying:
“URGENT: If you or anyone you know has a family member with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) and are willing to reach out to a couple who have received that diagnosis for their pre-born child, please let me know. They are distraught and considering abortion because they are concerned with the quality of life the child will have, and it may help their decision making to learn more about the hardships and joys of life with this diagnosis. Any resources or contacts that helped you in your journey? We would like to be able to offer them this support at the next meeting with them which is scheduled for Friday.”
The response has been overwhelming, and at one point I thought of all the work I had to do prior to a trip I’m making to Alberta, prior to moving out of the house I’m currently living in, and prior to the start of another Summer Internship at CCBR, and how all of that was put on hold as I responded to messages and compiled a list of support for this couple. Because when there is an emergency like a life at stake, it is only right that all else gets put on hold as we deal with the situation.
As people called to tell me about their son or daughter with Down syndrome, or messaged to tell me about their brother or sister, or sent me the names of their friends who have a family member with Down syndrome, I felt my heart literally swell with the stories of these precious children who brought and continue to bring so much meaning to their world. I felt so privileged to be in the position I was in: the receiver of all these stories, and the person who was able to hear voices break as mothers told me how their world is so much better because of their children, what they felt when they first received the diagnosis, how they were pressured to abort because of the diagnosis, and how they cannot imagine a world without their child.
And then I became angry. Because in a world where so many people responded to a simple Facebook post to tell me that they would love to support this couple through the challenges they would face, sharing their stories about how meaningful life is even with a Trisomy 21 diagnosis, even offering to adopt the baby if, in spite of it all, the couple did not feel equipped to parent their child, 97% of children with a prenatal diagnosis of a Trisomy disorder are killed before birth.
How is it possible that we let something like an extra chromosome dictate that a life is not worth living? How is it possible that doctors still promote abortion as though it were a treatment for disability? I didn’t realize we live in Nazi Germany where only those who meet the standards of the Master Race are considered worthy of life.
This situation also confirmed something else I already knew: there is no such thing as an unwanted baby. Most of my colleagues and I have actually told someone we encountered that we would love to adopt their baby if that’s what it would take to keep them from choosing to kill their child. And I know that each of us would. But more than just us, if just one Facebook post causes this flood of support, I don’t think pro-lifers can ever be accused of only caring about the baby before it’s born. I was once accused of that, and I asked the university student I was talking to how well she thought she knew me and what she based that opinion on, and she stuttered and backtracked, saying she didn’t mean me specifically, but pro-lifers in general. I asked her where I could meet these pro-lifers, because all the ones I know are most definitely not like that, and she shamefacedly admitted that she didn’t actually KNOW anyone like that, but it’s just what she’s always heard about us. Just one Facebook post, and that bias is dismembered as effectively as the children targeted by an abortionists tools.
I hope and pray that, armed with the resources and support that poured in, this counselor will be able to convince this couple not to put their child through that, and rather lean on the network they will be given and make what I gather will be the best decision of their life. After all, in the words of one mother, “Every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome.”