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Shane Gillis on Saturday Night Live, February 24, 2024Screenshot/YouTube/SNL

(LifeSiteNews) — A sketch by American comedian Shane Gillis on Saturday Night Live has gone viral, with the Daily Mail referring to it as “very risqué.” I won’t link to it, because Gillis is characteristically profane and makes several stupid sexual jokes that manage to be both very distasteful as well as unfunny. But what is interesting is that his jokes about family members with Down syndrome are part of the controversy. Gillis noted that his niece was diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb, and that at first his family was very worried. Then she was born.  

“You can always tell whose never been around Down syndrome,” he noted. “Like if I bring it up and say I have family members who have Down syndrome, people who have never been around it are always like: ‘Oh.’ Like it’s the end of the world. Like: ‘Are they okay?’ They’re doing better than everybody I know. They’re the only ones having a good time pretty consistently. They’re not worried about the election. They’re having a good time. My niece has Down syndrome. It’s a funny thing that happens in your family when someone has Down syndrome.” 

“When my sister was pregnant, everyone was very, very scared,” he said to laughter. “And then when they come into your life, you realize they’re easily the only good member of your entire family. It’s crazy. And then your family gets too proud. Like now, every single day on my family’s group text, it’s just pictures of my niece.”  

Gillis actually gets at something very important here. People with Down syndrome have been rendered nearly extinct in Western countries because most parents respond to a prenatal diagnosis by opting for abortion. Indeed, one awful and ableist aspect of the American abortion wars post-Roe has been the willingness of abortion activists to call any restriction on abortion in the case of Down syndrome “cruel” – as if children with Down syndrome are a unique curse on families when, as Gillis highlights here, the precise opposite of that is true. People react strangely to mentions of Down syndrome now because most people never interact with people who have it – because most of them are aborted. 

READ: Man with Down syndrome died at UK hospital after staff neglected to feed him for 9 days

Gillis’s stories about his family members with Down syndrome actually reflect the data. According to a 2011 study: “Among those surveyed, nearly 99 percent of people with Down syndrome indicated that they were happy with their lives; 97 percent liked who they are; and 96 percent liked how they look. Nearly 99 percent people with Down syndrome expressed love for their families, and 97 percent liked their brothers and sisters.” By the numbers, people with Down syndrome may be the happiest people on earth – and yet, we are eliminating nearly the entire population through eugenic feticide, often using the flimsy pretense that we are relieving them of the suffering that allegedly comes with their condition. 

The reality, as Gillis notes, is that Down syndrome people are genuinely special. Why are we aborting them at rates of between 90 and 100 percent in almost every Western country? The defect is not with them – it is with us. Most people simply do not want to be inconvenienced with children who have special needs. Others have been persuaded that abortion is a “compassionate” response to a prenatal diagnosis. Gillis’s jokes do not dehumanize or even mock – they highlight truths our culture badly needs to hear because people with Down syndrome are so often the targets of dehumanization and cruelty (Steven Crowder’s “jokes” about Down syndrome were particularly vile). 

I don’t have much patience for progressives who pretend to be offended by Gillis’s use of the word “retarded” (especially in context) while they advocate for an abortion regime that is wiping these people off the planet. Gillis knows what everybody should know – that we should not marginalize or be afraid of people with Down syndrome. Instead, we should be proud to have them as members of our family.

READ: Abortion is the reason why Down syndrome babies are vanishingly rare in Denmark

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.