NRL News

“A World Without Redheads”

by | Nov 15, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

I try to reserve the last story of the day for a special topic. The following was prompted by an email from a reader who said “Thank you” for the stories we ran during October’s National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. She asked, ever so politely, if once that special awareness month had ended, would coverage end with it?

I wrote back promising, “Of course not,” and pointed her to the many, many stories of hope and encouragement and fortitude we’ve run over the years. Which brings me to “A world without redheads” and “The Reckless, Profitable Elimination of Down Syndrome,” two immensely powerful articles that have run in the last ten days.

Just a few words today about the former (along with a link) and a few more words tomorrow about the latter.

“A world without redheads” was written by Reno Gazette-Journal reporter and columnist Siobhan McAndrew, herself a new mom with a 6-month-old daughter. She uses as the basis for her column a support group meeting  for families of children with Down syndrome.

The group of 18 parents are immensely proud of their children but keenly aware that a new a new blood test, which detects the chromosomal anomaly that causes Down syndrome at 10 weeks of pregnancy, is just the first of a wave of similar tests which “some say this will become part of a routine prenatal visit.” They worry, Andrew writes,

“that if more people know, and know sooner in a pregnancy, that they are having a child with Down syndrome, more will decide to abort. They worry the medical community will give parents worst-case scenarios about raising a child with a disability.”

This marvelous account which helps the reader understand and appreciate that these parents are bound and determined to help remove the stereotypes about the families who have children with Down syndrome.

To offer only one example,

“The Down syndrome community points to studies that show that an overwhelming majority of parents with children with Down syndrome are happy with their decision to have their child and that their son or daughter is a great source of joy and pride.”

But what makes this story so immensely moving is McAndrew’s tender use of the story “Welcome to Holland,” by Emily Perl Kingsley, a writer for “Sesame Street,” who has a son with Down syndrome.

Go to “A World without redheads.”  I promise that you will be so moved that you send this link to all your pro-life friends.

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Categories: Down Syndrome