What Does 90% Mean?
What does 90% mean to you? For me, it’s a stellar exam grade in graduate school. It’s an overwhelming certainty that my wife and I found the house we wanted to buy. It’s a huge success in endorsed candidate's election victories. Any way you cut it, 90% is a significantly big number that has far reaching implications for whatever it’s attached to. You can’t ignore 90%.
That’s why whenever I’m doing Pillars of Personhood training seminars and I tell our audience that 90% of all children diagnosed with Down syndrome are murdered before they’re born, the shocked faces and startled gasps throughout the room immediately ask me to repeat myself – because they’re certain they didn’t hear me correctly. But, they did - 90%.
The next two questions I get are “How?” and “Why?”
How? Simple: compromise and fear.
A common exception that will find its way into “pro-life” legislation is the fetal abnormality exception. (You may also hear this referred to as “medically futile pregnancy exception”.) This exception is said to protect women from having to carry babies with “severe genetic or physical abnormalities.” This is a very technical and politically correct way for saying that babies who may need special medical care are eligible for extermination if they are deemed as unwanted.
Why? That’s a bit more complicated.
If you think about it, what is the reason – the real reason – any abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell procedure, selective reduction, or murder takes place? The offender(s) don’t value the life of the victim(s). For certainly defined reasons determined by the perpetrators of murder, the victims are not valuable – or, at least, not as valuable as the perpetrators.
Ultimately, it’s not that surprising at all that 90% of children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Why wouldn’t they be? Perfectly healthy children are slaughtered en masse each year – it makes complete sense that people who do not value human life would systematically kill human life that has special needs.
The truth of the matter, however, is that children with special needs or who require special care are beautiful, wanted, and valuable persons and should not be discarded due to the “burden” they may pose. If human life is intrinsically valuable from the moment of fertilization, then it is valuable regardless of the condition of that human life. Size, color, and ability cannot add to or remove human dignity.
Pro-abortion advocates say that parents who receive a negative prenatal diagnosis should be offered the choice to kill their children. I say, parents facing difficult medical diagnoses of their children would be better served by access to medical specialists who can provide extensive information on the baby’s potential condition, access to special care or procedures that may be performed on the baby in utero and financial assistance that may be required to pursue them, access to support groups where parents in similar situations can serve and uplift each other, and, if necessary, access to adoption services specifically designed to place children with special needs with parents who seek to love them in special ways.
As we stand against the plight of the preborn child under the abortionist’s knife, we should take special notice of the beautiful life that is differently abled. We can restore cultural respect for children with disabilities by supporting families and organizations that revolve around caring for children with special needs. Some great ministries are Special Kneads & Treats <www.specialkneadsandtreats.com> here in Georgia, Reece’s Rainbow < www.reecesrainbow.org>, and United Parent Support for Down Syndrome <www.upsfordowns.org>. We can also advocate against exceptions in pro-life laws by supporting pro-life legislative groups like Georgia Right to Life and Personhood Alliance as well as contacting our elected officials and informing that that we expect them to protect all children including those with special needs.
In all that we do, however, we should keep the foundation of the pro-life perspective and the strength of our conviction front and center: God created all human kind in His image and likeness and endowed them with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Joshua Edmonds is the Director of Education & Technology for Georgia Right to Life, an instructor for the Pillars of Personhood training seminar, and a published clinical/social psychology researcher.