The numbers that make up the date March 21 just happen to match the genetic makeup of Down syndrome: three copies of chromosome 21. Thanks to that play on numbers, this Friday advocates everywhere recognized and celebrated World Down Syndrome Day.
Thirty-eight percent of Americans know someone with Down syndrome. Pro-life organizations and politicians celebrated these family members and friends diagnosed with Down syndrome on social media, tweeting out encouraging messages to show those with the extra chromosome deserve to be treated the same as anyone else. Here was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's message:
And Ohio Governor John Kasich:
National Review also took advantage of the holiday by discussing 20-week abortion bans - the point at which unborn babies can feel pain. It is an important conversation to have, for, tragically, 90 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.
A few other notable figures in politics have children with Down syndrome, including former Governor Sarah Palin, who lovingly talks about her son Trig, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who used her rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union to share with Americans how she and her husband didn't merely see problems with their son Cole, they saw "possibilities."
Whitten is not the only mother who chose life over her fear. I had the chance to speak with the co-founder of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Michelle Sie Whitten. Even though her doctor told her and her husband their child was diagnosed with Down syndrome and even tried to persuade them to abort, she shared how they ultimately chose life for their daughter. Her inspiring story is here.
Thankfully, parents are discovering that more chromosomes just means the more there is to love. Sure, there will be unique challenges, but aren't there challenges with every child?
Perhaps the most beautiful video to make the rounds on social media this week was one entitled, "Dear Future Mom." The video came to be after a mother wrote a letter to CoorDown, an Italian organization that advocates for children with Down syndrome, expressing her anxiety about having a child with Down syndrome. They answered her with a video featuring children and young adults with Down syndrome encouraging her with a simple message, "Don't be afraid."
I'll leave you with that beautiful response: