How the Pro-Life Movement is Marking World Down Syndrome Day

Posted: Mar 21, 2021 9:20 PM
How the Pro-Life Movement is Marking World Down Syndrome Day

Source: AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, a global awareness day which has been recognized by the United Nations since 2012. 

The World Down Syndrome Day website explains that "The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome."

Several organizations and figures have commemorated the day, with many emphasizing a matter of inclusion, especially for those of us who may be different.

Unfortunately, Down Syndrome often carries with it a death sentence. In Iceland, virtually all babies with a prenatal diagnosis of the chromosomal abnormality are aborted. 

The rate is also high in the United States, with an estimated 67 percent of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome being aborted. 

Ten states have passed legislation to ban abortions when the baby is aborted due to such a diagnosis, though many have been challenged by abortion organizations such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the ACLU. This argument from the ACLU in opposition to such bans is particularly bizarre.

Justice Clarence Thomas made news on the issue in 2019, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on a challenged Indiana law's provision banning abortions performed because the baby has Down Syndrome. As Justice Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion:

The Court’s decision to allow further percolation should not be interpreted as agreement with the decisions below. Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.

According to 2018 polling data from Gallup, Americans are evenly split when it comes to allowing abortions due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Forty-nine percent of respondents support, while 48 percent oppose. When it comes to allowing for such abortions in the third trimester, however, 29 percent support, while 68 percent oppose. 

Currently, because of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, abortion is legal throughout all nine months in the United States, with the Court in Bolton requiring there be a "health" exception.

The office of Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), who is the chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, provided Townhall with a video highlighting Montanan Pierce Pennaz, who has Down Syndrome. 

Sen. Daines introduced federal legislation earlier this year which is promoted in the above video. Maddie Pannaz, Pierce's sister, shared "it gives me hope knowing that there is someone out there fighting for people like Pierce," speaking about the senator. 

A message on the screen appears at the end of the video, telling viewers that "Senator Daines is leading the fight to protect all life - no matter how small, no matter how many chromosomes they have."

The legislation, "Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act," co-sponsored with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) was introduced on January 28. Sen. Daines advocated for the legislation on the U.S. Senate floor that same day.

Sen. Daines echoed Justice Thomas' concern for such abortions in an interview with the Catholic News Agency from January. "This is eugenics, and we cannot allow this to continue in our country."

There is hope and happiness, as one can clearly see from the video of the Pannaz siblings. Pierce's sister, Maddie, shares Pierce is "100 percent my favorite person in this world" and that "my life is so much better because of" her brother.

Pierce and Maddie aren't the only ones with such a feel good story. The statistics back such a statement that virtually all people with Down Syndrome and their families experience happiness.

Throughout his presidency, President Donald Trump released a statement from the White House on World Down Syndrome Day. He also did so in October, which is Down Syndrome Awareness month. 

As of  lateSunday evening, President Joe Biden does not appear to have spoken about it through a statement or over social media.