By Leticia Velasquez, Co-founder
Editor’s note. World Down Syndrome Day is observed annually on March 21 to raise public awareness of and about Down syndrome. We will post new stories as we approach March 21. The following ran last March.
Last week, our superintendent was presenting this year’s school budget. She said, “We are lucky that we don’t have too many students with disabilities in our district.”
As the mother of a 13 year old young woman with Down syndrome in that district, I was highly offended. I realized that after all these years, those of us who love people with disabilities still have a lot of teaching to do.
Society may give some lip service to the achievements of those with disabilities, but many measure their worth in purely economic terms and consider them a burden, in an increasing number of cases, a burden which ought to be eliminated.
Last year outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins tweeted to a follower about a hypothetical case of a woman expecting a child with Down syndrome. He recommended that she should “abort the baby and try again.”
In his view, those with Down syndrome don’t contribute to society. So if the powerful people decide a disabled person doesn’t contribute to society in a manner which they find meaningful, people like Dawkins are not shy about recommending they should be aborted or euthanized after birth.
And they are: Babies with Down syndrome are aborted at a shocking rate of 75-93%. In Belgian, parents are permitted to have their disabled children killed. A mother in the UK recently had her disabled daughter killed by court- sanctioned euthanasia.
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