Kristi Burton Brown

Babies with Down syndrome deserve to be treated like every other person on the planet

Kristi Burton Brown
By Kristi Burton Brown
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January 13, 2011 (LiveAction.org) - Today, I was delighted to discover that the retail store, Target, featured a little boy with Down Syndrome as one of their models in last week’s ad.  They didn’t specifically mention that the cute kid had Down Syndrome, but those who are paying attention will notice.  A father who blogs about his son with Down Syndrome called attention to Target’s ad and praised the store for being inclusive of children with disabilities.

In this father’s words (he blogs as “Noah’s dad”):  “They said that people born with Down syndrome deserve to be treated the same as every other person on this planet.  They said it’s important for the world to see people born with disabilities with a fresh set of eyes. That it’s time for us to lay down all the inaccurate stereotypes from the past and move forward embracing the future with true and accurate ones.”

If only every parent believed their child with Down Syndrome deserved to be “treated the same as every other person on this planet.”  A prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome is a death sentence for 92 percent of babies who receive this diagnosis.  In 2009, ABC news reported that 92 percent of these parents choose to have an abortion.

Dr. Brian Skotko is a pediatric geneticist at Children’s Hospital Boston who does not believe that parents get accurate information often enough.  He asks, “Are they making it [the decision to abort] on facts and up-to-date information?  Research suggests not, and that mothers get inaccurate, incomplete and sometimes offensive information.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Boston filmmaker Melanie McLaughlin chose to give birth to her daughter with Down Syndrome.  Finding accurate information about the disorder is one of the things that convinced McLaughlin to keep her baby girl.  First Call, a program sponsored by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress allowed her to meet a family with a 5-year-old girl who has Down Syndrome.

“She played hide and seek, and she kept jumping out, telling us where she was hiding,” McLaughlin said. “She was amazing. I was thinking she would be sitting in a chair unresponsive and drooling.  Actually, she was much like our other children.”

Gail Udell, another mother who chose to give birth to her daughter with Down Syndrome, describes her experience in this way:  “I am a better person and a better parent.  We have a ways to go yet, but like everything else, she’ll get there. She is determined, fearless and happy.”

Lisa Aguilar, who has a son with Down Syndrome said, “I decided to keep him, no matter what.  He is the happiest, kindest soul I have ever met. Daniel has taught me some valuable lessons about acceptance and love and being more compassionate.”

The bottom line is that parents who keep their children with Down Syndrome are overwhelmingly grateful that they did.  These children seem to have an innate sense of how to show love, communicate joy, and bring a special light to their world.

It is hard to understand, however, how organizations and parents who support children with Down Syndrome still talk about abortion as an option for others.  I checked out a couple national Down Syndrome organizations to see what their position on abortion was.  Both of them mentioned it as an option for parents.  One, thankfully, painted it in a bad light, but still gave the impression that the parents could choose.

Legally, yes, the parents can choose.  But why are organizations whose purpose is to advocate for people with Down Syndrome even mentioning that their parents have the option to kill them?  What other advocacy groups mention killing those they advocate for as an option?  This is a sad state of affairs.  I would expect these groups to attempt to talk parents out of abortion, but it seems that the majority of them either mention it as an option or take no position (like First Call).

As Melanie McLaughlin questions, what will be next in the list of things we don’t like about our children?

“They [mothers who choose abortion] don’t realize what they have given up.  What if we don’t like brown eyes anymore? What have we lost and what does Down syndrome bring to society that we lose along the way?”

One final point.  I want to see a world where every child is valued and welcomed, no matter their physical abilities or appearance, projected length of life, health condition, mental abilities, or anything else.  While it’s true that parents are receiving inaccurate information about their little babies with Down Syndrome, and they need to know how “normal” people with Down Syndrome really are, it’s also true that babies who are not even close to “normal” deserve to be equally welcomed and loved.

Gabriel’s Story” is a touching and incredible story of parents who chose to love their baby no matter what.  Read it and cry.

Reprinted with permission from LiveAction.org

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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