ABC reported Monday at length that Down syndrome births drop as more women abort :
“An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies… without knowing what it’s like to raise a child with Down syndrome… according to research reviewed by Dr. Brian Skotko, a pediatric geneticist at Children’s Hospital Boston. … ‘Are they making [abortion decisions] on facts and up-to-date information? Research suggests not, and that mothers get inaccurate, incomplete and sometimes offensive information.’ ”
This cultural pressure to eradicate certain children was specifically addressed by the 2008 Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act authored by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback to improve the way diagnoses of fetal and infant defects are given by genetic screening staff and physicians. The bill took 3 years to pass and recommended an annual $5 million in appropriations to implement its goals:
- the collection/ dissemination of evidence-based information on Down syndrome and other conditions to health care providers ;
- a parents’ resource telephone hotline and website;
- a national registry and coordinated local networks of families interested in adopting newborns with Down syndrome and other conditions;
- further development of local and national networks for peer-support, outreach and information to parents.
Since the U.S. economy tanked a few weeks after its passage, the Awareness Act was funded only $1 million for this year, essentially headed to CDC to accomplish the website and research dissemination.
KANSAS/ A Nov.3, 2009 Letter from Shelley Duffey to the Capital Journal described how her Down syndrome child was a blessing and a “bonus” and thanked individuals, TARC and Topeka/Lawrence support groups.
Many people may not have known that October was National Down Syndrome Awareness month. For us, it was a time to celebrate our loved one with Down syndrome and the wonderful people who support her. Two years ago, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. To our surprise, she came with the bonus package. And I say “bonus” because that is what it has been. Because of her, we have had the privilege of meeting some pretty extraordinary people.