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May 11, 2007

A group of Detroit, MI parents of children born with Down syndrome are sharing a positive perspective on raising a child with the condition which causes mild to moderate mental retardation and carries a high risk for congenital heart defects leading to an average life expectancy of 49 years.

The parents are “introducing their children to genetic counselors and obstetricians at meetings designed to educate them to the fact that Down syndrome children can achieve many things such as learning to read, playing a musical instrument and holding a job. They have a deep-seated fear for their children’s well-being in a world where there are fewer people like them. But as prenatal tests become available for a range of other perceived genetic imperfections, they may also be heralding a broader cultural skirmish over where to draw the line between preventing disability and accepting human diversity. ‘We want people who make this decision to know our kids,’ said Lucy Talbot, the president of the Detroit support group.” (The Dallas Morning News, 5/10/07)

About 90% of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis undergo an abortion. Parent advocates say that the richness of their children’s lives is poorly understood. Early medical intervention and new expertise in infant heart surgery stave off many health problems, and legally mandated inclusion in public schools has created opportunities for friendship and fostered broader social awareness.

On a flight to Sao Paolo, Brazil this week, Pope Benedict XVI was asked by an Italian journalist if he agrees that Catholic legislators who voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City should rightfully be considered excommunicated. The Pope said “Yes.” He said it’s a matter of the Code of Canon Law. “It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ.” This is not news. It is the media who are trying to create an “uproar.”

Governor Rick Perry’s Executive Order mandating that little girls entering the sixth grade in Texas must be vaccinated with the highly controversial drug Gardasil, which is purported to protect against the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus, the cause of most cases of cervical cancer, ran into major roadblocks when parents and legislators rose up against Perry’s usurpation of parental rights to make decisions concerning medical care for their minor children. Human papillomavirus is not a communicable disease like measles or chicken pox. It is not spread through air, or water, or food. One has to engage in sexual activity with someone who has done the same with one or more partners in order to contract the virus. One can avoid getting HPV by abstaining from sexual activity until marriage to a healthy person who has also abstained.

Both houses of the Texas Legislature, by overwhelming numbers, voted for bills that would vacate Perry’s order. On May 8, Perry did not use his veto power, but instead allowed the bill to become law without his signature. All the while he refused to admit that he had abused the power of his office by trampling on the rights of parents. The best comment we have seen was that of Rep. Dennis Bonnen, the author of the House bill, who said, “The governor has missed the point that just because you don’t want to offer up 165,000 11-year-old girls to be Merck’s study group doesn’t mean you don’t care about women’s health.”

A new study released last month intending to cast doubt on the link between abortion and breast cancer is meaningless because of a number of flaws. Andrew Schlafly, general counsel for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said that the study did not survey the right people. “The average age of diagnoses of breast cancer in America is 61 years old,” Schlafly said. But the average age of participants in this study was only 42 years old, too young for the average person to develop breast cancer.” He said, “The study deliberately excluded women who had had abortions and then died from breast cancer.” (LifeNews.com, 5/8/07)

Never forget that you were once an embryo!

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