October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month--a month to celebrate the lives and stories of individuals with Down syndrome and the beauty of each one. Our sweet son Benjamin is no exception. He has brought joy to our family and to the lives of so many others who know him, and I am proud to call him my son!
I will, however, be taking this blog post in a rather unexpected direction today, as something has been weighing heavily on my heart. While this is a month to celebrate the LIVES of people with Down syndrome, the heartbreaking reality is that many of these precious lives were never even given the chance to live. According to an article by The Tennessean, "The best calculations suggest that 67% of US pregnancies where it is suggested that the baby would be born with Down syndrome end in abortion." The seeming prevalence of Down syndrome related abortions has even led some states to seek passage of legislation that would prohibit abortions solely based on a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Of course many cry "foul" at such laws, claiming they unfairly limit a woman's "right" to an abortion. Others say (rightfully so) that it is a form of discrimination to end the life of a child through abortion simply because they have a disability. Yet let's take a moment to consider what legislation like this is really saying...
If it is discrimination to abort a child due to a disability, then clearly that child is a PERSON who has rights and is deserving of protection. This immediately blasts a hole in the entire abortion debate. If it is wrong to end the life of a pre-born baby due to a disability, then WHY ON EARTH would it be okay to end the life of a pre-born baby who does not have a disability? The baby in the womb cannot be considered a person in only select circumstances but not in others for convenience sake. Human beings give birth to human beings. The baby inside the womb is just as human as the baby outside the womb. Abortion ends a human life. Abortion. Is. Murder.
This brings me to my next point. In addition to all the euphemisms about it being "the woman's body" and "the woman's choice," one of the most trumpeted arguments favoring abortion is "Well, you can't legislate morality." Is that so? Well how is it then that we have any laws? By their very nature, laws are more often than not the legislation of morality. We have laws that prohibit theft, rape, murder, fraud, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. All of these are moral issues, and we rightly have a system of laws in place to seek to protect against such behaviors. When these laws are violated, consequences are to follow. Without the legislation of morality we would live in frightening anarchy.
On a side note, many of the laws we have are rooted (whether intentionally or not) in the wisdom of the 10 Commandments found in scripture. I believe that much of the breakdown we have seen in our society in recent generations has been because we have moved further and further away from God's commandments, which are not meant to be a hindrance but a protection. For example, how much heartache would be avoided in the lives of countless families and individuals if we followed the wisdom of God's law to not commit adultery?