Cortney O'Brien

When a doctor told Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and her husband that their newborn son Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome, they were surprised, but not devastated. They didn’t see merely problems, they saw “possibilities.” It is this story the highest ranking female Republican leader in the House told the American people in her rebuttal to President Obama’s sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night:

Three days after we gave birth to our son, Cole, we got news no parent expects. Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome. The doctors told us he could have endless complications, heart defects, even early Alzheimer’s. They told us all the problems. But when we looked at our son, we saw only possibilities. We saw a gift from God. Today we see a 6-year-old boy who dances to Bruce Springsteen; who reads above grade level; and who is the best big brother in the world. We see all the things he can do, not those he can’t. Cole, and his sisters, Grace and Brynn, have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life – that whether we are born with an extra twenty-first chromosome or without a dollar to our name – we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential.

Sadly, 90 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. But, we have pro-life warriors like Cathy McMorris Rodgers trying to buck that trend. In Northwest Woman magazine in 2008, McMorris Rodgers elaborated on Cole’s story and encouraged other mothers who receive the same difficult news to not be disheartened:

I would strongly remind mothers faced with a similar experience that it is not a prison sentence and they are not alone. I believe life begins at conception and is a gift from God. All life deserves to be celebrated. I would encourage her that her child would lead a positive, unique and important life.

It’s speeches and comments like these that will hopefully make people forget about the “legitimate rape,” or “libido” comments that male GOP politicians have uttered as of late.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, wrote this piece ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union to share what an inspiration Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers is for the pro-life movement.

McMorris Rodgers is in good company with former Governor Sarah Palin, who beams when talking about her special needs son Trig. The personal stories of McMorris Rodgers and Palin are stories pro-life female leaders need to be sharing with young women every day.

Thank you, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, for encouraging a culture of life.

Here's her full response:


Cortney O'Brien

Cortney O'Brien is a Townhall web editor. Follow her on Twitter @obrienc2.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography