Take a good look at these pictures. Children with Down Syndrome are rare these days. That’s because at least 85% of them never get the chance to be born. Some statistics from 2002 show that as many as 93% of babies whose prenatal tests showed a probability of Down Syndrome were never allowed to be born.
Has our society become so obsessed with perfection that we have little to no room left for children who aren’t perfect?
Is Down Syndrome really such a horrible condition that it warrants a death sentence? Let’s look at some facts.
* People with Down Sydrome are not severely retarded. Most are mildly to moderately retarded. Children with DS are educable and educators are still discovering the full potential for people with DS.
* People with DS are actively involved in their communities, playing sports, holding jobs, volunteering, socializing with friends.
* People with DS are employed in banks, restaurants, nursing homes, hotels, and corporations. They work in the entertainment industry, the computer industry, in clerical positions, and in the corporate world.
Dr. Dennis McGuire of the Adult Down Syndrome Center of Lutheran General Hospital in Illinois has written a booklet entitled, If People With Down Syndrome Ruled The World. He has worked with over 3000 teens and adults with Down Syndrome. He wrote this booklet based on that experience. I want to share with you some of what he wrote.
If people with Down Syndrome ruled the world: Affection, hugging, and caring for others would make a huge comeback.
If people with Down Syndrome ruled the world: . . . People would be refreshingly honest and genuine.
If people with Down Syndrome ruled the world: . . . a stuffy high society would not do well . . . [but] BIG dress up dances would flourish.
If people with Down Syndrome ruled the world: . . . Schedules and calendars would be followed. Trains and planes would run on time. . . . People would be expected to keep their promises. . . . Places would be neat, clean, and organized.
If people with Down Syndrome ruled the world: . . . The words “hurry” and “fast” would not be uttered in polite society. . . . Work would be revered no matter what kind, from doing dishes to rocket science. . . . Speed would be far less important than doing the job right.
Doesn’t sound so bad to me. I don’t see anything that warrants a death sentence.
I am not trying to oversimplify things. I know that people with Down Syndrome have some extra challenges; but they also have fewer challenges in some areas. They don’t feel the same pressure to be perfect and the best. The majority of people with Down Syndrome probably enjoy life a lot more than most of us. Though they definitely lack some of the abilities and talents that some people without Down Syndrome have, people with DS do have talents and abilities. They have much to offer their families and neighborhoods, their churches and communities.
Our society is most certainly poorer because we have refused these talents and abilities and gifts. We are poorer because we have murdered some of our sweetest members.