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Thank You for Not Killing My Sister: Abortion and Down Syndrome

  • Apr 18 / 2011
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Thank You for Not Killing My Sister: Abortion and Down Syndrome

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When talking to people about abortion there are two topics that usually come up: rape and disabled babies. With his amazing foresight, God has allowed me life experience with both of these issues. If you have not already, I would challenge you to read my post: Rape, Abortion, and Adoption. But as for now I would like to discuss the topic of Abortion and Down Syndrome.

I found the following quote in an article on medicalnewstoday.com:

Although no national data are available, the abortion rate of fetuses with the condition [of Down Syndrome] was found to be 59% in one California study and 92% in an English study.

The truth is, babies that are determined to have Down Syndrome are often aborted here in the US and abroad. Why? Through my conversations with people and just being around Pro-Choice thinking, I am told that it is because of quality of life that one would have to endure if brought into the world with Downs. It is said that those with Downs (or really any other disability) have a lower quality of life and therefore they would be better off if they were never born. What a tragic reality! And a reality that is not based on truth! I hope in this article to confront the practice of aborting babies with DS through two means.

Heather and Stacey (my wife)

First, meet Heather. Heather is my sister and was born in 1978 with Down Syndrome. If you are not aware, DS is a chromosomal condition that often results in mental retardation and usually impairment in physical growth as well. Heather has both and just recently has had her fourth open-heart surgery to try to repair damage that has resulted from this condition.

What I want you to realize is that Heather is a person. And not just a person, she is a lovely human being, one of my favorites actually. She has a remarkably sweet disposition and I would challenge anyone in the world to try to not like her! Heather is a woman full of joy! She is a woman who loves life and loves others and is a blessing! When I found out in college that she was going to need her third open-heart surgery I wept for days. Why? Because I love her, because I cannot imagine my life without her, because she is one of the sweetest and most precious people I know. Heather lives a life filled with joy and it is so contagious.

So, the first way that I want to confront the practice of killing children with DS is to say: do not assume that they will have a lower quality of life than you. Allow Heather to be an example. With all of the anxiety, anger, and bitterness that has come and gone in my heart through the years, I can actually guarantee you that Heather has a much higher quality of life than I do. She has smiled more, laughed more, and missed out on much of the sorrow of life. And she is not an exception. I have found that most men and women with DS find more joy in life than most other people walking the earth.

However, the second way I want to confront this practice is to say: It does not matter. Someone having a lower quality of life does not give us the right to kill them. This is an accepted truth when people are outside of the womb. We would not vote for a government program to kill off all people with disabilities. No one would say that what Hitler did was right. And yet, we live in a world where 59-92% of all children with DS are killed before they even have a chance to breathe. Friends, this is wrong. And these poor helpless babies cannot defend themselves.

The reality of the matter is that we are not killing babies with DS for their own sake, but for ours. I will not deny that raising a child with DS is more difficult. Whereas with most children you need to invest 18 years in raising, Heather still lives at home. She has required special diets, special exercises, and numerous visits to doctors, surgeons, and hospitals. And when she was born my family was so poor. However, we are called by Christ to deny ourselves and even lose our lives!

Luke 9:23-25 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

When we call women to sacrifice to bear a child with DS we are not calling them to something different than what is expected of all of us. Christ said that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily! And the gain, Christ! Being a brother and not a dad, I was able to be a part of most of the joys of raising Heather and few of the sacrifices. But I spoke to my mom yesterday and she said that abortion was never an option for her. They rejoice to have chosen life for Heather. But the gain in being obedient to God is not just the joy of Heather, it is the joy of Christ. Living for ourselves may gain us this whole world, but we will eventually lose everything! Lose everything for Christ’s sake and you will GAIN EVERYTHING!

So, this is my call to America to repent. James 4:2 tells us, “You desire and do not have, so you murder.” America, we have desired ease and when there is something or someone that stands in the way we have killed. DS babies are just one example of this, but they are a very clear example. Let today be the day that we stop killing children so that we can live an easy life. Let us instead consider these children as more important than ourselves. Let them live! And do it for joy! Do it for the joy of obedience. There is nothing in this world like that joy!

And I want to end this article with a Thank You to my parents for not killing my sister. Heather’s middle name is Joy and that is the perfect name for her. Heather is one of the greatest joys in my life and I cannot imagine having never known her.


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