Cassy Fiano

End the Down syndrome holocaust today

Cassy Fiano
By Cassy Fiano
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March 26, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - When you hear the word “holocaust,” most people automatically think of Hitler and the Nazis, slaughtering the Jews. Many people don’t know that there was another group that Hitler targeted first – a dress rehearsal of sorts for the horror that was to come later. The first group of people that Hitler went after was the disabled.

First, there was a law passed in 1933 which required the forced sterilization of people with disabilities, and over 400,000 people were sterilized. Then there was Aktion-T4, which authorized the murders of disabled people. Over 70,000 were killed. They would be placed in buses and taken to killing centers, where they were murdered as soon as they got there under the Nazi euthanasia program.

How many people will learn about that and be horrified? And how many of them know that right now, to this very day, we’re still practicing eugenics against the disabled? This holocaust, though, is a silent one. It’s one that many people won’t hear about, and if they do, they excuse it. The holocaust I’m referring to is the systematic killing of babies with Down syndrome.

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Prenatal testing has allowed more and more parents to find out that their children have Down syndrome before the babies are born. Unfortunately, 90% of those parents choose to kill their children, simply because they have an extra chromosome. It’s a horrifying notion, but one that stays, for the most part, under the radar. With the advent of a new test, MaterniT21, which is non-invasive and 99% accurate, there is a very good chance that it will only get worse. And now, the number of babies born with Down syndrome is dropping to a number low enough to have researchers and advocates worried. As more and more women choose to have babies later, the number of Down syndrome births should have risen about 35%. Instead, it has dropped 15%.

For every ten babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome, only one will get to live. Only one will be lucky enough to have parents who love him enough to not murder him because he has an extra chromosome.

Why do so many parents feel they need to kill their baby once they find out that the baby is different? It’s a disturbing question to have to ask, especially when the reality of living with a child who has Down syndrome is so different from what people often picture. One recent study showed what a blessing these children are, and that the diagnosis is not the end of the world. The study found that:

99% of parents say they truly love their son or daughter with Down syndrome; 88% of brothers and sisters say they are better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome themselves spoke up, too: 99% are happy with their lives, and 97% like who they are.

Another study, conducted by the Children’s Hospital in Boston, found that an overwhelming majority of parents of children with Down syndrome reported a more positive outlook on life.

These are not miserable, stupid people cursed with an extra chromosome and doomed to live empty, meaningless lives. These are not families who feel burdened because they have a child who is different. People who have Down syndrome go to school, make friends, work, get married. They are happy people with full lives. So why do parents get this diagnosis and almost immediately turn to abortion? What is it that makes them feel they have no other choice?

One troubling reason: the medical community encourages them to. Several studies have found that physicians often put a negative spin on the results and pressure the women to terminate the pregnancy. And that can weigh heavily on a woman who is confused and scared about what to do.

When I received the diagnosis that my unborn son has Down syndrome, it was an emotional roller coaster, to say the very least. I cried for just about three days straight. Every time I thought of my baby, I would just start crying again. It got better over time, but it was difficult. And I had a lot of fears. What if he isn’t healthy? Will his heart be OK? What will his life be like? Is he going to be made fun of and teased? Will he have friends? Those thoughts went through my head over and over again. And while for me, abortion was never an option to begin with, I was – and am – extraordinarily lucky to have a specialist who is very positive about Down syndrome. He never encouraged me to abort the pregnancy; to the contrary, he actually reassured me that many of his patients don’t. He recommended resources for me so I could educate myself. He mentioned local Down syndrome support groups. And while my mind had been made up the entire time, it was comforting to have such a positive experience.

How many mothers feel the same emotions that I felt, had the same fears that I did, only to have their doctors reinforce those fears? To encourage them to abort? It might sound like an exaggeration, but consider that the two largest advocacy groups for Down syndrome — the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) — do not take a stance on abortion. They do not encourage parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis to keep the baby. If the decision is made to abort, then it is shrugged off as a personal decision and nothing more. And while both groups do phenomenal work on behalf of people with Down syndrome, it is disheartening, to say the least, that they do not advocate for the 90% of babies slaughtered.

There is an attitude, one perpetuated by the culture of death, that for some people, it’s just “too much” to raise a child with Down syndrome. When a pregnant woman gets the diagnosis and expresses doubt that she can handle it, it is not uncommon for people to agree with her, to say that she’s doing nothing wrong by aborting. They’ll even say it’s better for the child, because who would choose to live a life with a disability? Better dead than to have Down syndrome. What they won’t do is point out to her that the vast majority of parents with Down syndrome children are happy and love their kids, that people who have Down syndrome are happy with their lives. They won’t be told that children with Down syndrome are such a joy that there are very long waiting lists to adopt a child with Down syndrome.

Thankfully, there is at least one organization dedicated to fighting for the right of these people to live: the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life. And in honor of today, World Down Syndrome Day, they made a video asking mothers of children with Down syndrome what they would tell themselves if they could go back to before they had children. The responses made me laugh and cry.

These are the things we should be spreading in those moments of fear and confusion. And even for those of us who don’t have someone with Down syndrome in our lives, we still need to stand up and fight for the right of these people to live. To not be killed just because they are different. So today, whether you are personally affected or not, I ask you to take a stand. Take the time to learn about Down syndrome, and to educate others. Resolve to do all that you can to stand up for everyone’s right to live – everyone’s, no matter how many chromosomes he or she may have.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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