Papal Representative Celebratres World Down Syndrome Day, Decries Eugenic Abortion

By | March 22, 2024

NEW YORK, March 22 (C-Fam) Pope Francis’ envoy to the United Nations highlighted the positive contribution of persons with Down syndrome to their families and society and lambasted the eugenics mentality of countries who use abortion to “eliminate” persons with Down syndrome. He said this at an event to mark World Down Syndrome Day.

“In some countries nearly 100% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are choosing to end the life of their son and daughter,” said Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in opening remarks at the event organized jointly with C-Fam.

Archbishop Caccia blamed this on a mindset that “reduces human value to productivity” and despises those who need assistance from their families and society.

Self-advocate Frank Stephens delighted attendees with his inspirational and witty remarks. After his notable address in the US Congress in 2018 where he testified “I’m a man with Down syndrome and my life matters” he was inundated with speaking requests and traveled all over the world. At the UN panel, Frank shared a picture with an NFL cheerleader, saying — does it look like I’m not happy!

Lauren Constable, founder of Hearts of Joy international, presented a video about her work to provide life-saving heart surgeries to children with Down syndrome in impoverished communities, including in Uganda and the Philippines. Her organization has already provided surgeries to over 100 children.

Patricia Hass, the mother of Isabella Hass, a young lady with Down syndrome, compared the abortion of babies with Down syndrome to the custom in ancient Sparta where disabled babies were thrown off a cliff at birth. This should induce a “gasp of horror” in us, she said. “It is not normal.”

“It would not be acceptable if we were to eliminate an entire race of people in this manner,” Hass argued.

Hass described traveling to Iceland and Denmark, where health policies officially encourage abortion of persons with Down syndrome by offering free prenatal diagnosis. Only 18 persons with Down syndrome were born in Denmark last year.

As they walked the streets, crowds stared at Isabella as if to say “there is no place for people like her in society,” Hass said their mere presence there “made them question their search for perfection.”

Dr. Brian Skotko, a medical geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital who leads global research efforts on Down syndrome, said Spain and Italy were the countries with the fastest reduction of persons with Down syndrome. He reported on how improved health access is resulting in longer and more robust lives for people with Down syndrome. He also presented a new ranking of countries through a social inclusion index.

“We live in a society of contradictions,” said Mark Bradford, a Fellow with Word on Fire Institute and the founding president of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA. Even as we offer unprecedented social inclusion for persons with Down syndrome we also “destroy their lives” at the highest rates, he said.

Addressing the situation in the United States, Bradford described the emergence of eugenic policies from powerful family foundations like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Kello as well as U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, whom he described as a “Darwinian racist.”

Bradford warned that after the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion to the states in 2022, several legislatures have adopted early gestation limits on abortion, but they are also carving exceptions to allow mothers to abort babies with disabilities. Prenatal testing is not very accurate until after 12 weeks of gestation, he explained.

“We have to be very careful,” he said, because such laws are a “statement about how we value persons with disabilities.”