NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 12, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-life Down syndrome advocacy group has released a video to raise awareness about the fast-approaching, UN-sponsored World Down Syndrome Day, to be celebrated at United Nations headquarters in Turtle Bay on March 21, 2012.
The video is a project of the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life, a U.S.-based group dedicated to promoting dignity and respect for all individuals with Down syndrome, from conception and throughout life. The worldwide coalition’s mission is to celebrate and enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as to ensure fair and accurate representation in the case of prenatal diagnosis.
Noting that abortion is now the greatest threat to persons with Down syndrome, Diane Grover, co-founder of the IDSC for Life, said that World Down Syndrome Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the tragedy of the rate of abortion of babies who have Down syndrome, when a prenatal diagnosis is made.
“We see WDSD as an opportunity to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what life is like for individuals with Down syndrome, and how they have a valued and vital role in our lives and communities,” Grover told LifeSiteNews.com.
Diane Grover told LifeSiteNews that her organization asked parents to write advice they would have given to themselves prior to experiencing having or adopting a child with Down syndrome on a poster board, take a picture of it, and submit it to the IDSC for Life for inclusion in the video.
“Their responses were beyond anything we dreamed,” Grover said.
“This video, celebrating World Down Syndrome Day, summarizes and brings to light exactly why we celebrate this day. We hope that others will see that our lives are filled with love and joy, and all things that are good and amazing.”
The organizers of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) say their aim is to raise awareness and understanding of a condition which affects approximately 1-in-800 births worldwide, and to promote the inherent rights of people with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and be active participants in their communities and society.
World Down Syndrome Day was established by Down Syndrome International and has been celebrated without UN sponsorship since 2006. More than 60 countries in the world observe the day, which is held on March 21 (3/21), to signify the three copies of chromosome 21 which is unique to people with Down syndrome.
“From 2012, the United Nations will invite all its Member States, relevant organizations of the UN system, international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe WDSD and actively raise public awareness of Down syndrome,” Down Syndrome International announced in a press release.
“World Down syndrome Day is needed now more than ever as advances in prenatal testing and government funded screening programs are implemented,” Grover told LifeSiteNews.
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“We want parents to be prepared when their physician offers a genetic screening. Too often, parents are given test results without any prior understanding of the tests they have been given, and they make decisions when they are most vulnerable,” Grover told LifeSiteNews.com. “The IDSC for Life hopes that the awareness that is created about the tests offered to women during pregnancy, and about Down syndrome, will better prepare them.”
“We want people to know the unlimited possibilities that can happen for individuals who have Down syndrome. Today, more than ever, people with Down syndrome are breaking barriers. We are very happy that World Down Syndrome Day exists!”