Thaddeus Baklinski

UN sponsors first World Down Syndrome Day: greatest threat is abortion

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski

NEW YORK, February 27, 2012 ( – Pro-life activists say they are thrilled that the UN is sponsoring its first World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), which will be celebrated at the UN Headquarters in New York on March 21 2012, with the focal point of the day being a conference titled “Building Our Future.”

Monica Rafie, the co-founder of Be Not Afraid, an online pro-life ministry that supports parents who are grappling with a poor prenatal diagnosis, including Down syndrome, told LifeSiteNews that the event “presents a beautiful opportunity to showcase the genuine solidarity shared among organizations and families everywhere.”

Diane Grover, co-founder of the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life, pointed out that the greatest challenge facing people with Down syndrome “is actually being born.” She said that she hopes the international celebration will draw attention to the extremely high abortion rate for Down’s children.

World Down Syndrome Day was established by Down Syndrome International and has been celebrated without UN-sponsorship since 2006. Over 60 countries in the world observe the day, which is held on March 21st (21/3) to signify the three copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome.

A resolution to designate 21/3 as “World Down Syndrome Day,” to be observed every year beginning in 2012, was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. The resolution was proposed and promoted by Brazil, and co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States. The resolution states that from 2012 onwards, the date will be celebrated by all 192 UN countries.

“When families learn that they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome (or any other prenatally diagnosable condition), they need to know that they and their child will be supported and accepted within their own community,” Rafie of Be Not Afraid told “WDSD is meant to foster that sense of community on a macro scale.”

Rafie pointed out in an article previously published by LifeSiteNews that the primary threat to persons with Down syndrome is abortion.

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Diane Grover agreed. “We believe that taking a life because the child has an extra chromosome is a form of eugenics. By far, this is the most discriminating act that is happening to individuals with Down syndrome today! We believe that dignity for a person begins at conception.”

Grover’s organization not only advocates for the dignity and respect for all individuals with Down syndrome, from conception and throughout life, but also extends compassion and hope for healing to the families who lost their children when they had an abortion.

“The IDSC for Life was formed when a small group of mothers learned of the pressure put on women to terminate their pregnancy,” Grover said, “and the unfortunate numbers that followed through and did end their pregnancies. This broke our hearts. So we came together to advocate for our children, telling the world that ALL life is precious, including the lives of our children.”

“It has been reported that up to 90% of women with a confirmed prenatal diagnosis will terminate their pregnancy. Often times it is reported that women are given the gloomiest prognosis for their child, instead of up to date information and support.”

“However,” Grover remarked, “today, more than ever, people with Down syndrome are breaking barriers.”

The Down syndrome activist pointed to a research paper released by Dr. Brian Skotko which found that 99% of people with Down syndrome said that they are happy. The paper also found that “their parents and siblings say that their family member with Ds has made them better people.”

“We hope that World Down syndrome Day will bring attention to these incredible statistics.”

When asked what support parents with Down syndrome children need most, Grover responded enthusiastically, “The very first thing the parents need is to be told congratulations! They are expecting a child, and to say you are sorry, or to infer that they should end the pregnancy, lowers the dignity of the life of their child.”

“After the birth of their child, they need support and encouragement. In time, they will see that their child with Down syndrome is just that, a child. They need and deserve up-to-date information to help give their child the best they can. And they need respect. When a mother says she does not want to end her pregnancy, in light of a Ds diagnosis, that decision needs to be respected, by professionals, family members and anyone surrounding her.”

Grover said that her organization is producing a video that will be shared at the WDSD, and that they need the support of families with children with Down’s.

“We hope that anyone who has a child with Ds will write us to find out how they can participate in this. For this video, we are asking parents to write on a poster board advice they would give to themselves, prior to experiencing having a child with Down syndrome, and take a picture with that advice to your self, and send it to us at [email protected]

Organizers of World Down Syndrome Day say that participants from all around the world are welcome, especially those with Down Syndrome, and that there is no cost for registration. Space is limited so those interested in attending should register early as only participants with their names on the list and proper ID will be allowed in the building.

The event is sponsored by the Missions of Brazil and Poland to the UN and co-organized by Down Syndrome International, the UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and UNICEF, with the collaboration of the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome (FBASD), Down España, the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF), the National Down Syndrome Center (NDSC),  the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), and the Special Olympics.

The aim of the day is to raise awareness and understanding about Down syndrome, and to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and be active and valuable participants in their communities

More information is available from the Down Syndrome International website.

For more information on Be Not Afraid Ministry visit their website here.

For information on the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life and their WDSD video project visit their website here.


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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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