UN Panel Condemns “Prenatal Genocide” of Children with Down Syndrome

By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D. | March 22, 2018

NEW YORK, March 23 (C-Fam) Mikayla Holmgren was a Miss USA State Pageant finalist where she won two awards.

Fifteen-year-old Chloe has been the special guest of the U.S. President in the White House Rose Garden, and has a law named after her in her home state of Pennsylvania.

Both escaped what an expert UN panel called “prenatal genocide” of people identified in utero with trisomy 21, commonly known as Down syndrome.

“There are countries that would like to get rid of people like me,” Holmgren told the packed room at UN headquarters. “This makes me sad. What would this world be like without the bright lights that shine through those with Down syndrome?” (Watch full video of this UN Side Event)

Papal nuncio Archbishop Bernardito Auza was the first of several experts to point out that one country – Iceland – boasts that it has eliminated what they see as the problem of Down syndrome by aborting 100% of children diagnosed with it in the womb.

Developmental psychologist Mary O’Callaghan supported the charge with data from around the world. “The current method of eliminating Down syndrome is to eliminate the child with Down syndrome,” O’Callaghan said. Unlike many other diseases, “there is widespread diagnosis but not treatment.”

Therefore, women bear the brunt of fixing the problem, O’Callaghan pointed out. “Women are told they must subject themselves to the physical and psychological risks of diagnostics and abortion to ‘treat’ Down syndrome.” O’Callaghan’s fifth child was born with Down syndrome.

Chloe’s father Kurt Kondrich said parents who abort their Down syndrome child miss out on the exceptional qualities that these families develop. “My nineteen-year-old son is a better man because he’s Chloe’s brother. She’s helped him become the type of man you want your daughter to meet.”

Kondrich left his career as a police officer to take up full-time advocacy. He and Chloe are working on their second legislative campaign, this one to ban abortion based upon Down syndrome. Other states have passed such laws; only North Dakota’s has taken effect.

Diedre Pujols said changing laws is not enough. “Even if the law is changed, it won’t matter until people change their hearts and minds.”  She focused on the ability rather than disability of Down syndrome children. “They look at Down syndrome and see that a child’s cognitive ability will be impaired, but isn’t that true of us all?”

Pujols and her husband, L.A. Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, lead a foundation for Down syndrome families, inspired by their first child who has Down syndrome.  She lamented a world in which “the value of human beings is contingent on one’s mental and physical condition.”

Randall Wright said people with intellectual challenges have something to teach the rest of us: “What matters more than anything is the quality of our relationships…how we see each other, value each other, and not the size of our bank accounts.” Wright is the director of a new documentary, “Summer in the Forest,” showing the life of Jean Vanier, who founded L’Arche communities for the intellectually disabled.

According to Wright, Vanier said we need “a world in which everyone belongs.” He said, “The wise and powerful lead us to ideologies, whereas the weak are not seeking power; they are seeking friendship. It is a message for all of us. It is about all of us.”  The movie opened in New York this week.