For Down Syndrome Awareness Month this year, the Trump administration released a presidential message affirming the Right to Life of people with Down syndrome. At a time when anti-Life countries are calling for the “elimination” of Down syndrome by killing every single child with the genetic condition, President Trump recognized the many contributions to our nation and world from people with Down syndrome and called for the protection of their lives, beginning in the womb.
He called for the protection of preborn children with Down syndrome, writing, “We will always support the dreams of those with Down syndrome, and respect and honor the sanctity of their lives, at every stage.” The emergence of noninvasive genetic screenings during pregnancy, which are rampantly misused and misunderstood, has led to an epidemic of discriminatory abortions on children who may have Down syndrome or other genetic conditions.
Noting that there are more than 250,000 Americans with Down syndrome, President Trump called for “deepening our understanding of Down syndrome and learning more about how we can ensure the beautiful people with Down syndrome are able to fully participate in society.” Innovative approaches to education and family and community support have meant that people with Down syndrome are excelling in ways that were thought impossible mere decades ago. From graduating from college to running successful businesses and walking the runway, people with Down syndrome are proving that the condition does not hold people back from living life to the fullest.
And yet, despite this progress, parents facing a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their son or daughter are often given dire, worst case scenario predictions and little real-world information about what life is like with Down syndrome. In his message, President Trump writes:
All people are endowed by their Creator with dignity and the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Despite some persistent myths and stigmas, even within the medical community, our Nation strongly embraces the undeniable truth that a Down syndrome diagnosis is an opportunity to embrace God’s gifts. I stand for life – in all of its beautiful manifestations – and I, and my Administration, will continue to condemn the prejudice and discrimination that Americans with Down syndrome too often endure.
Echoing the sentiments of so many people fortunate enough to share their lives with individuals who have Down syndrome, President Trump wrote, “Every day, they [people with Down syndrome]inspire us to live with great love, joy, and appreciation for our world and those who make it a truly unique and special place to live.”
Ending the message with a rousing call to action, President Trump closed by writing, “Life is precious, and it is our moral duty to protect and defend it.”
There can be no doubt of the president’s Pro-Life message and the pressing need for these words. Around the world, and even in our own country, Down syndrome is treated as a death sentence, despite the fact that countless people with Down syndrome live happy and fulfilling lives, and that all people, regardless of their circumstances, deserve the Right to Life. Sadly, Down syndrome becomes a death sentence when doctors push for discriminatory abortions on children with Down syndrome.
President Trump’s message, like Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion earlier this year, is a reminder that preborn babies with Down syndrome in Texas are not protected from discriminatory abortions. Until our legislators listen to the Pro-Life majority and pass the Preborn Nondiscrimination Act (PreNDA), babies with Down syndrome will continue to die a violent death in the womb for the simple fact that they were deemed “less than perfect” by arbitrary and inhumane standards. The Texas House failed in the last session to make the PreNDA a priority. This Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we are reminded of just how important this life-saving legislation is. We can accept nothing less than success in 2021.