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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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