At just 23-years of age, John Cronin recently won the “EY Entrepreneur of the Year” award for his co-founding of the company, “John’s Crazy Socks.” After his award, he appeared on numerous television shows and was featured in online news stories telling the world he is an “entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a businessman.”
Sujeet Desai is a musician who plays seven instruments including the violin, piano, trumpet, and saxophone. He has been featured in several national publications and has received numerous awards for his work.
John and Sujeet both have Down syndrome. They are successful, happy, and productive, and they bring incredible joy to their family and friends. They are shining examples of the value a person living with this disability can bring to the world.
In a story out of the United Kingdom last week, we learned that the mother of a 4-year-old little boy with Down syndrome is suing her doctors telling the world she would certainly have aborted her child had her doctors informed her he had Down syndrome.
Yet, we know prenatal screening and diagnostic tests are not 100 percent accurate. This mother’s sentiment really saddens me. With medical technology improving all the time, the rate of accuracy of this prenatal testing is now around 99 percent, meaning that even if informed of Down syndrome, there is a chance the child would be born completely normal.
As a mom, I’m outraged this child’s closest relative, his mother, is telling the world she would have aborted him had she known how he’d be.
There are known cases where couples have been told they were having a child with birth defects only to find the baby completely healthy. Sadly, most of these unborn children are aborted.
More and more pregnant women are pressured by doctors to take these screening and diagnostic tests that also come with risk. One in 400 who undergo the amniocentesis diagnostic test, miscarry.
In Iceland, almost 100 percent of women who are told after these screening tests that their babies likely have Down syndrome have chosen to abort them, almost wiping out this category of personhood in Iceland.
Remember, these tests are not 100 percent accurate and certainly fail to recognize the intrinsic value of each and every human life. John Cronin and Sujeet Desai certainly have value – their families and friends can attest to that.
What’s most concerning in this entire story is the emotional damage this child is enduring! As a mom, I’m outraged this child’s closest relative, his mother, is telling the world she would have aborted him had she known how he’d be.
Even if a child with Down syndrome makes a seemingly small contribution to the world, he or she still has intrinsic value and is created in God’s image. Children, like this 4-year-old little boy in the U.K., John Cronin, and Sujeet Desai offer us a hint of God’s incredible love for all human beings.
The Bible tells of a disabled man created so “the works of God might be displayed in him,” (John 9:1 – 3). Pope John Paul II offered this of the disabled, “The human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name.”
Yes, these children have value.
The parents and kids with Down Syndrome say it best. Yvonne Pierre, in her book, “The Day My Soul Cried: A Memoir,” about her son with Down Syndrome: “Often people ask, ‘How can you say you’re blessed to have a son with Down syndrome?’ My outlook on life has forever changed. I see my own challenges differently. He’s always showing me that life is so much bigger than self.”
Meg Blomfield (via Brittany’s Baskets of Hope) says, “Somewhere along the line we stopped trying to fix the child that we had expected and started to enjoy the child that was.”
And from Chris Burke, a man living with Down Syndrome himself: “Having Down syndrome is like being born normal. I am just like you, and you are just like me. We are all born in different ways, that is the way I can describe it. I have a normal life.” (via Karen Prewitt)
Do you know any children or adults with Down syndrome? These kids are the happiest, most joyful, and loving people!
Like John and Sujeet, many own businesses, go to school, get married, and have a high quality of life. Instead of viewing people with disabilities as a negative impact on the world, just talk to people who know them, who are related to them, and they’ll tell you the world is a better place for them having lived.