Each year, Pro-Life advocates recognize World Down Syndrome Awareness Day by celebrating the lives of children and adults with the chromosomal condition. People with Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, have an extra chromosome. This genetic abnormality can lead to complications, including congenital heart conditions and developmental delays. However, people with Down syndrome continue to surpass expectations and achieve educational and physical feats once thought impossible. More importantly, their worth is not determined by their genetic condition and they are no less valuable than any other person.
For several years, a group in the United Kingdom, Wouldn’t Change a Thing, has produced a heartwarming video in honor of the international awareness day. Filmed in the style of Carpool Karaoke, each video features children with Down syndrome and their families lip-syncing to hit songs and dancing in their cars. The video in 2018, featured 50 moms dancing with their children with Down syndrome. The cute video, which shows the ordinary loving relationships of moms and their kids, has since been viewed more than eight million times.
The ongoing popularity of the video is easy to understand. The moms and kids singing along to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” capture the special love of a mother for her child. The children may have disabilities and differences because they happened to be born with Down syndrome, but watching the video, and hearing the stories of people with Down syndrome, there is no doubt that they live full and meaningful lives, just like every other person, with or without Down syndrome.
The video compiled by the group Wouldn’t Change a Thing this year features children with Down syndrome and their siblings dancing to “We Are Family.” The video was made in response to questions the group, and families of children with Down syndrome, often receive about how Down syndrome affects the rest of the family. Parents who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis for their preborn babies are often concerned about how the potential disability will affect the lives of siblings.
Unfortunately, ongoing discrimination has led to a culture of abortion that targets babies who might have a disability. Parents are often pressured to end a child’s life instead of risk bringing a child who is less than perfect into the world. Sadly, countless babies are violently killed in abortion because their families are pressured to believe wrongly that this is the “compassionate” thing to do. People are told, often by their doctors who are supposed to be tasked with caring for the mother and preborn baby, that their potentially disabled baby is better off dead. Reprehensibly, families are also told that their other children will suffer because of the additional time and resources that might be required for a child with disabilities.
This year’s musical video shows how completely wrong that view is. In many of the families dancing and singing to the music, the viewer cannot immediately tell which sibling has Down syndrome. You don’t see disabled people and “normal” people; watching the video, you just see people, brothers and sisters who clearly love each other and have fun together. In addition to happy examples like those in the videos, studies support that siblings of children with disabilities benefit from the experience of living with someone who is different. And people with Down syndrome are often different in ways that make them happier and increase love and feelings of self-worth in those around them.
This is exactly what motivated the beautiful sibling video. On the website for Wouldn’t Change a Thing, the group explains the rationale behind the video. They write, “Formal research has shown that over 90% of people who have a family member with Down syndrome say they are happier for having that person in their lives.” They continue, “Siblings of a child with Down syndrome often exhibit a level of maturity above that of their peers and tend to have more highly-developed communication and social skills. They are often more accepting and appreciative of differences, with the vast majority of brothers and sisters feeling that they are better people because of their sibling with DS.”
In a world that increasingly gives lip service to diversity, Pro-Lifers are calling for an end to discriminatory abortion and a world that truly welcomes and accepts people with differences. Texas Right to Life is once again spearheading efforts to protect preborn babies with the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA).
The peppy music video ends with a quote from a 13-year-old boy who said about his brother with Down syndrome, “To have a friend, just like him, you won’t want any other. But I’m the luckiest of all because he’s my little brother.” Well said.