Society is cruel. It steals, kills, and destroys. It built Auschwitz. It segregated water fountains. It worships the dollar more than feeding the orphan. It takes advantage of the minority, impoverished, and needy. It finds comfort in eradicating what it feels to be inferior. Targeted among this list of victims, are those with Down syndrome.
Society once called my children ‘Mongoloids’. Then it took them from the womb straight to an asylum. It stripped away their quality of life and questioned their ability to feel happiness. It withheld education and then slapped them for their "stupidity".
Society feeds the expectant mother a feast of reasons she doesn’t want my children. She is served a variety of subtle suggestions that she is unable to care for them; a buffet of health concerns and special needs. She chokes on the illusion of a future holding more struggles than triumphs. Then it pats her hand gently while stripping her womb of life. She thanks it for a grand service and it quietly snickers at her unknown loss.
We must change the script medical professionals are reciting to expecting parents and the doubt suffused message it sends. The one-sided information that is pressed in like play-dough through a strainer. The first impression is saturated in heaviness. A counselor bypasses the idea of a potential person, and express lanes to every possible medical complication that Trisomy 21 can be associated with. Parents are blinded by a flashing arrow pointed to an exit ramp marked, ‘Abortion’.
Enough. Let’s rewrite chapter one. We must shift our thinking. It was never, ‘Down syndrome: the disease’. It is, ‘Down syndrome: the people’. We are a new generation taking the reigns. If there must be death, let it be at our hands as we slay the superiority that justifies the prejudice against yet another people.
Hush the post screening termination speech. Stop the prevalent accounts of grief at birth. Strip the situation of whispers, condolences, and acute focus on medical hurdles. Add connection. Add community. Add possibility. Add diversity. Add celebration and rejoicing. It is not an innate capacity to be a parent of a child with Down syndrome; it’s a willingness to love.
Society can, with all its cruelty, birth goodness. We can turn the tides and force it to do our bidding. There can be justice and compassion for my children. There can be redemption for the hate they have endured. We can offer them a world in which they need no longer justify their existence. The solution is not eradication, it’s exposure, love, and acceptance.
Here are two videos that I believe you will find interesting.