Dialogue from a Congressional appropriations hearing on the advancement of research on Down Syndrome held last week has taken the country by storm. As we reported yesterday, Mr. Frank Stephens, who has Down Syndrome, provided a compelling testimony before the committee, making the strong case for the sanctity of human life. Stephens and others had gone before the committee to speak out against eugenics practices of aborting babies who are expected to be born with Down Syndrome. Stephens concluded that his life is “worth living.”
Alabama’s own Representative Martha Roby was also at the hearing, along with some special guests from Dothan: Melinda McClendon and her two sons Buck and Charlie. Buck has down syndrome, and he and his family are visiting Washington as part of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s advocacy efforts.
“Melinda and her two sons Buck and Charlie are my constituents from Dothan, Alabama,” Roby said. “I’m so proud to have you here as advocates from my community to share your personal story. I had the opportunity to take Buck down to the House floor during votes, and we all got to see firsthand Buck’s infectious personality and love for life.”
During the hearing, Roby passionately denounced the practices of countries like Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea are encouraging parents to abort babies with Down Syndrome. While these countries have claimed that they have nearly eradicated the genetic disease from their populations, it seems they are willing to commit mass murder in the process.
“Every baby should be treated like the miracle they are created to be,” Roby said. “As we talk about growing our research capabilities, including through funding from this subcommittee, how can you assure us that the medical community won’t slide down the slippery slope toward eugenics, however indirect the practice might be?”
Dr. Joaquin M. Espinosa, Executive Director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, assured Roby that the American medical community would not even tangentially support similar eugenics practices. He said that American medical professionals instead would be dedicated to improving the lives of those born with Down Syndrome.
“Our mission is to improve the lives of people with Down Syndrome, including through pre-natal treatments,” Espinosa said. “You can have assurance from the Linda Crnic Institute that no research would even be tangentially tied to selective terminations.”
As more and more in our world seem to radically forget the sanctity of life, it is imperative that we have more legislators like Representative Roby, and people like Frank Stephens and Buck McClendon, to keep up the fight for those lives worth living.