By Anna Bohach
When I was in my late 30s, I became pregnant with my youngest son. My family and I were overcome with joy and excitement at the promise of a new baby. My oldest son, having two younger sisters, had prayed every night for two and a half years for a baby brother named Charlie. God always listens to the prayers of children.
My excitement was short-lived and replaced with fear and uncertainty after a series of appointments wherein doctors told me I was of advanced maternal age and should consider genetic testing to be sure I wasn’t pregnant with a “defective” baby. I declined all genetic testing, much to my doctor’s dismay.
At 20 weeks, I had my first ultrasound and anatomy scan of my baby. My husband and I were very happy as we found out we were indeed having a boy. We came home that day and gave our children a box filled with blue balloons to reveal our baby’s sex.
The next day, I woke up on cloud nine, feeling healthy, happy, and joyful — until I got a call from my doctor informing me they had discovered an abnormality. She told me my baby had a mass on his neck that alarmed her, and she wanted to transfer me to a specialist in maternal fetal medicine. I asked what the mass might be, but she declined to tell me, saying she didn’t want to “freak me out.” Too late.
Finding a Doctor Who Actually Cared for Me and My Baby
I immediately contacted the specialist to schedule an appointment. I told the specialist I couldn’t come in right away because my husband had started a new job and we didn’t know the exact day our health insurance started. At first, they told me that would be fine, but when I called back a week later and told them my insurance began in four weeks, they told me I couldn’t wait that long as I wouldn’t be able to schedule an abortion that late in pregnancy.
At this point, I still had no idea what was wrong with my baby, and specialists were already telling me I would need to schedule an abortion. I asked the nurse what was wrong with my baby, and she told me she couldn’t discuss it over the phone.
I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. Never in my life had I felt so alone and desperate to protect my child. I declined the offer to make an appointment. I broke down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably until my husband came home and picked me up off the floor.
It took me three weeks to find a doctor who would treat my son and me like human beings. When I finally met with my new doctor at 26 weeks and five days, he informed me that my son had a marker for Down syndrome. The mass on his neck was called a “thickened nuchal fold,” which is commonly seen in babies who have Down syndrome.
My jaw dropped open, and I remember saying, “That is it? My baby might have Down syndrome, and they put me through all of this?” My doctor told me we could do a test to see for sure if Charlie had the disorder, or we could wait until birth to see, as everything else indicated he was a healthy baby boy. My husband and I decided to wait, since it did not matter to us.
When our Charlie was born, he did indeed have Down syndrome, and I loved him just the way he was. Down syndrome is just a part of who he is; it is not what he is. He is a perfect combination of love, joy, happiness, and hugs in the cutest little package imaginable.
How the Medical Community Lies About Down Syndrome
My shock at being told my baby should have been aborted was well justified. When I researched prenatal Down syndrome diagnoses, I found that in the United States, 65 to 90 percent of pregnancies prenatally diagnosed with the disorder are terminated. In countries such as Denmark and Iceland, nearly 100 percent of such pregnancies are terminated.
When mothers receive a Down syndrome diagnosis, doctors tend to present termination as their first option, giving them prejudiced, bigoted, and outdated information on the lives of people with Down syndrome. The literature often emphasizes and exaggerates the difficulties associated with the condition.
Even the Centers for Disease Control, as of today, lists outdated information, talking only about the detrimental aspects and costs of the disorder. Nowhere does it mention how those with the condition contribute to society nor the joy and happiness they bring to their families and community. Nowhere in the medical literature given to pregnant mothers does it discuss that people with Down syndrome live fulfilling lives, that their siblings are joyful, and that their parents are the happiest. The pamphlets never tell expectant moms that their children can one day go to college, get a job, fall in love and get married, have children, and even drive a car.
It has never been a better time to be a person with Down syndrome, unless he or she is still in the womb. Sadly, they have been targeted by a brave new world for genocide. How can women be expected to make a free choice when every piece of information they receive about Down syndrome is negative, and doctors bully them to abort? That is not a choice; that is coercion.
In 1930s Germany, people with Down syndrome were the first victims of Hitler’s final solution. They were viewed as drains on society, and it was seen as “merciful” to kill them. At the same time in the United States, eugenicists such as Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood advocated for the forced sterilization, imprisonment, and “mercy killing” of all people she deemed to be “morons.” Planned Parenthood to this day still promotes this dark ideology and praises Sanger for her work.
This is the same final solution governments and the medical community, including Planned Parenthood, use today to eradicate people with Down syndrome. Planned Parenthood heavily promotes genetic testing and abortion for pregnant women and advocates aborting babies who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome prenatally.
Iceland claims it has “eradicated” the condition through genetic testing. The country did not cure the condition, however. It killed an entire group of people who had it. That is called genocide.
Standing for the Rights of People with Down Syndrome
In the last 40 years, the lives of people with Down syndrome have greatly improved thanks to parent advocacy groups and prominent people shining a light on their plight. In 1980, the life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome was 25. Today it is 60.
Parent advocates created organizations such as the National Down Syndrome Society and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. These organizations fight for the rights and dignity of people with the disorder. As a result of their tireless efforts, people with Down syndrome are thriving and living their lives in ways never thought possible before — living independently, going to college, and getting married.
Sadly, the majority of Down syndrome advocacy groups are purposely ignoring the silent genocide being carried out against this vulnerable people group. They don’t want to be viewed as political, and many who run the organizations are abortion supporters and refuse to say anything against the gruesome practice, even if their silence means the very people they fight for will disappear.
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, a time to highlight the inherent dignity of people with the condition and fight for their rights to live full and productive lives. We must start talking about the silent genocide being committed against this community of people. If we don’t, there will be no one with Down syndrome left.