How Civilized We’ve Become

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We like to think about how much more civilized and enlightened we’ve become. We look at people of the past and wonder how they could have been so uncaring, cold and brutal.

For example, consider how we treated people with Down Syndrome (and other mental disabilities). In ancient Greece, babies with such disabilities were literally left to die after being born. In more recent times, prior to the 1970′s, it was very common practice to simply institutionalize people with Down Syndrome. We shipped them off to some colony or institution, excluding them from society, so we could go on with our lives – unburdened.

It’s very different now, of course. We’re much more caring and selfless. With all of our fancy, amazing technological advancements, now we just kill them before they can make it out of the womb.

Did you know that 90% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted? Ninety percent. 90 out of 100 sweet, little, innocent babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are not even given a chance! And solely because they likely have Down Syndrome (the testing isn’t even 100% certain). And we think that unjust discrimination is better than in the past? It’s actually much worse. As is our selfishness and brutality. We’ve just found ways to do it more quietly and without becoming as emotionally attached. Yes – the mark of a truly enlightened, progressive civilization.

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Carol August 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

The doctors conveinently refuse to explain “false positives”. I was a “double positive” for downs in the womb. I can assure you that I do not have it.

Thank you God that my mother was not convinced to abort me.

Susan Fox August 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Matthew – Your insightful comments don’t only apply to Down Syndrome. When it was confirmed that my son and his wife were both carriers for Cystic Fibrosis, during their pregnancy, they were counseled immediately to have an abortion. They were told that the goal was to stamp the disease out completely. I can only think my son and his wife are probably on a list somewhere now; after all they are potential contaminants of the gene pool. My granddaughter had her first birthday last week. She is blessed not to have Cystic Fibrosis. But that isn’t the point, is it?

Trisha Niermeyer Potter August 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I actually did know this horrifying fact that 9 out of 10 babies who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. It is one of the many reasons why I’m involved in the pro-life movement and in our Respect Life Ministry at church. So many don’t know these facts and many others are led to believe that a child growing in the room is an unfeeling blob of flesh.

My mom, husband, and I have been involved in the 40 Days for Life movement as well. If you haven’t already, you might check it out. There’s likely a prayer vigil to end abortion at a location near you. http://www.40daysforlife.com

Lord, thank You for the blessing of each and every life. Please help us be good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure so others will come to see how sacred and precious each human life is. Amen.

Good Saints August 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

My uncle who is now 56 has Down Syndrome. He loves seeing my kids and my kids love him. He’s a complete joy, can’t imagine growing up without him!

And like Trisha said, RESPECT LIFE groups are forming all over and the 40 Days for Life is bigger than ever, let’s all do our part to help the young and the old!

Kaylan August 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

As a Catholic mom, you must also be prepared when pregnant when you are close to (or over) 40 years old. The doctors get very much into the concern over testing for Downs and other genetic disease, even if you have no genetic history in your family. The last three pregnancies I had, we had to go to a genetic counselor who would explain, detail for detail, the risks of having a baby with Downs at “my age”. I can imagine, someone who is not solid in their Faith or who is not educated in this matter, would be very alarmed by what they tell you and may intentionally take their advice. I declined the various tests they recommended to know “beforehand”. Of course, a mom could still have the testing to see if their baby has a genetic abnormality just so they can mentally prepare, but some of the tests are invasive and risky, so I was more concerned at putting the baby at risk. Thus, the reason I opted out of both Downs and Cystic testing.

Kaylan August 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

It would be nice to see these facts posted during the presidential campaigns around the country. I am voting ONLY for pro-life candidates. Our country has been hurting for so long from the pro-abortion lies.

Sharon August 17, 2011 at 7:50 am

Boy are you spot on. I’m sure you read this article by Thomas Peters, about twin reduction:

http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=19862&cpage=2

One woman in the NYT article he’s writing about says that if she were carrying a baby with an “anomaly” she would abort because she does’t WANT a baby with an anomaly, and that’s not selfish because it’s what she wants.

It would be a sad day indeed if Downs Syndrome children became extinct.

Matthew Warner August 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

Sharon – I did see that article! Very, very sad and how selfish we are becoming. A dangerous and slippery slope we’re on.

And, actually, Down Syndrome children will never go “extinct” I don’t think, as it’s not (except for very rarely) a hereditary thing in the usual sense. It’s a genetic anomaly that happens during cell division of either the sperm, egg, zygote or embryo. So we’ll always have them. But we’re getting better at making sure such people never make it out of the womb alive.

Sharon August 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm

And when we speak out against these practices we’re accused of being judgmental and insensitive.

I read an article just yesterday from a mother with a Down Syndrome daughter, and her pediatrician remarked that he used to have a lot of Down Syndrome patients, but now fewer and fewer are allowed to be born.

Dean Soto August 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

This is so sad. We recently had a family member have their unborn baby tested for suspected down syndrome. The baby ended up being fine, but I am not sure what would have happened if it came back positive.

Our generation is the antithesis of God’s command to care for the “least of these.”

delta_sierra September 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

It is testament to a society’s evolution and maturity – and their capacity for compassion – as to how they care for their most vulnerable.
I would suspect not many communities are as evolved as they would like to think.
Down syndrome is a variation on the human condition.

Last year our government [very quietly] introduced a Quality Improvements Programme for antenatal screeing for Down syndrome [and other conditions] – eugenics in disguise if you ask me.

Joy Jones October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

I have a two year old son with Down Syndrome. He is our joy. We are starting a website called A Life Worth Saving to show the world that every child has a purpose and a destiny. God said let ALL the little children come to me. I think God has a special place in his heart for the handicap. Love your blog and your work! I know God gave you Katherine to spread this very important message.

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