My parents had been engaged for six years and married for nearly four when they decided that they had built a stable enough life together to start a family. My mom found out that she was pregnant and began going to her doctor for regular health check ups. At one of those check ups, her doctor ran some prenatal exams during an ultrasound to monitor the health of the baby. That baby was me.
That’s when the doctor told my parents that, from the test results, he had discovered a few abnormalities. It was very likely that I would be born with Down syndrome. There are risks involved with carrying a child with Down Syndrome, including a 50-50 chance of miscarriage or stillbirth. Because of this statistic, he recommended getting an abortion. Of course, my parents felt overwhelmed, but the thought of terminating the life of a child is shocking – and even more so when it would not be due to anything life threatening.
My mom carried out the pregnancy. She did so under the impression that her first born child may very likely be born with Down syndrome. To the surprise of my parents and their doctor, I was born completely, 100% healthy and without Down syndrome. The doctor was wrong. He wanted to terminate my life and he was wrong.
The nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. Half of which are inherited from each parent of the child growing in the womb. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This is why Down syndrome is also called Trisomy 21. This additional chromosome alters the course of development of a fetus. It causes the characteristics that are associated with Down syndrome.
Even if I had been born with Down syndrome, I would still be a human being. No human deserves to be killed. When people choose to abort babies with Down syndrome, they are choosing to end the life of an otherwise healthy human being that is completely undeserving of such termination.
Abortion rates for prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome are 92%, This means that all but 8% of women who find out their child may be born with Down syndrome terminate the pregnancy. This suggests that a vastly large majority don’t equate the lives of those with Down syndrome to life that has value. If Down syndrome was a race rather than a disability, aborting based solely on this premise would be completely unacceptable. To think less of anybody because of their genetic makeup is prejudiced and frankly, it’s quite cowardly.
Abortion is just as gruesome a reality as it is divisive a topic. As long as medical professionals and a large portion of society view Down syndrome as a “deal-breaker” that validates abortion, the Pro-Life movement will have a difficult time outlawing abortion. If my parents had chosen to abort because of the possibility of Down syndrome, I would have never been given a chance at life. It is unfair to see so many other lives lost due to similar circumstances.