Mom of Down Syndrome son”How many parents have been this lucky?”
“I have never, ever regretted that he was born with an extra chromosome. He’s exactly the way he is,” those are the words of the loving mother of a Down syndrome son who was recently featured in a Texas paper. Women who are told their preborn child has Down syndrome are often pressured into an abortion, something advocates of these precious people call a horrible and violent form of discrimination.
Over the Christmas holiday, the Ft Worth Star Telegram did a feature on mother Shelley Moore which brought me to tears. The love that this 50 year-old single mother has for her 20 year-old son jumped off the pages as I read through the Telegram’s report. It was apparent that the reporter was also moved by the love between son Conner David Moore, who not only has Down syndrome but heart issues and autism and his mother and described it this way, “[Shelley] changes her son’s diaper, feeds him and talks to him in a loving language that only the two of them fully understand.”
“Connor is the love of my life,” Shelley told the paper. Connor has had four open heart surgeries and three pacemakers. Despite the fact that Connor requires 24 hour care, his mother calls him “such a joy to be around everyday.” The American Airlines flight attendant who also calls her son a “special little gift” said her job gives her the flexibility to spend lots of time with Connor.
“Parenting a special-needs child is not an easy task. It takes every ounce of your being.
“… What this precious boy gives to me is far beyond anything I could have dreamed of. For the most part, I have forfeited my social life to be Conner’s everything — simply because he is my everything. My only child, the circle of life ends here for us.”
Shelley told the paper that there is a lot of work involved in having a child like Connor. She gets up and goes to sleep on his schedule and refers to Connor as “God’s little angel.” The mother who said she did the story because she wanted, “to help other parents, single or not, to be encouraged about the job you have been given and the reward that comes with that job,” called the time she has had with Connor “borrowed time from God.” Connor faces some serious heart issues but Shelley said they have seen many “medical miracles.”
Shelley Moore said that she considers herself lucky to have her Down syndrome son Connor, “I have never, ever regretted that he was born with an extra chromosome. He’s exactly the way he is,” Moore told the Telegram reporter.
“If I could wave a wand and make Conner different, I would not even consider it.”
“This boy is beautiful. I see God in him every single day. How many parents have been this lucky?”
According to the Center for Disease Control ( CDC) Down syndrome remains the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. Each year, about 6,000 babies born in the United States have Down syndrome. This means that Down syndrome occurs in about 1 out of every 700 babies.
A 2012 academic review of published literature on pregnancy termination following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in the United States found that between 60 and 90 percent of fetal Down syndrome diagnoses lead to abortion. As a result, pro-lifers in Ohio have pushed lawmakers to make it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion if a woman is terminating her pregnancy to avoid having a baby with Down syndrome. The New York Times reports that in 2013, North Dakota made it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion because of fetal genetic anomalies, including Down syndrome. Indiana and South Dakota considered similar laws in 2015. Missouri is set to consider such a law in 2016.
According to the public research group Charlotte Lozier Institute there are no requirements to track abortions as a result of a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome within the United States. Mark Bradford, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA, named after the father of modern genetics, which researches Down syndrome, says that 2015 research also published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics claims the population of those living with Down syndrome has been reduced by 30% between 1974 and 2010 due to prenatal diagnosis and abortion. A new blood test, which can predict if a preborn child will have Down syndrome earlier in the pregnancy has led many to fear that preborn Downs babies will become even more vulnerable to being aborted.
Bradford points out that prenatal testing may result in babies who are not Downs being aborted as well. The 2012 study shows that 67% of those who choose to abort a child with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborting an otherwise “wanted child” solely because of the result of a prenatal diagnosis, and because they fear what the future may bring. In addition, according to Bradford, research reports indicate that some women are using the early Downs blood tests to make the decision to end their pregnancy without having the result confirmed. Bradford called the targeting of Down syndrome children with abortion the most horrible and violent form of discrimination:
“Whatever the statistical realities may be, the number of those who choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis is far too high. It should be none. To paraphrase the recently deceased disabilities rights activist, Dr. Adrienne Asch, the only thing prenatal diagnosis can provide is a first impression of who a child will be. Making such a radical decision as to end the life of a child based upon a first impression is a most horrible and violent form of discrimination. It has no place in an American society that is committed to ending discrimination in any form and that has intensified that effort for persons with disabilities over the last 25 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990.”
(Read the Ft Worth Star Telegram report here.)