Monday, January 22, 2007

Golly, What DID Jon, Joey and every other person with Down syndrome do?

Many of us have been posting this article, but it's worth posting again!

Will: Golly, What did Jon Do?
Written by George F. Will

What did Jon Will and the more than 350,000 American citizens like him do to tick off the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists? It seems to want to help eliminate from America almost all of a category of citizens, a category that includes Jon.

Born in 1972, Jon has Down syndrome. That is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal defect that causes varying degrees of mental retardation and some physical abnormalities, such as low muscle tone, small stature, a single crease across the center of the palms, flatness of the back of the head and an upward slant to the eyes (when Jon was born, Down syndrome people were still commonly called Mongoloids). There also is increased risk of congenital heart defects, childhood leukemia and Alzheimer's disease. Down syndrome, although not common, is among the most common congenital anomalies—47.9 per 100,000 births (compared with 77.7 with cleft lips or palates, which also can be diagnosed in utero, and which sometimes result in abortions).

As women age, their risk of having a Down syndrome baby increases. It has become standard practice for women older than 35 years old to be offered genetic counseling and diagnostic testing. But because of the higher fertility rates of women under 35, such women have 80 percent of Down syndrome babies. So new ACOG guidelines recommend that all pregnant women, regardless of age, be offered such counseling and testing.

For the rest of the article, click here.

George Will, a fellow parent of a child with Down syndrome wrote a wonderful article in Newsweek this week. It truly does seem that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wants to eliminate people with Down syndrome at the rate they are going! 85-90% of prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome result in abortion. If doctors would give more positive information rather than all the negatives, this percentage would go down! What doctors fail to tell you is that people with Down syndrome live full and wonderful lives! People with Down syndrome do not suffer because they have Down syndrome. Many graduate from high school, go to college, live on their own and heck are even getting married! What about the waiting lists of families waiting to adopt a child with Down syndrome? Some people just don't get it...

Like I've said many times already doctors need to focus on the positives and less of the negatives. Don't just offer abortions, offer information on local Down syndrome groups so that soon to be parents could meet families with children that have Down syndrome so they could see the positives.

I had a prenatal diagnosis but I chose life. I'm only 25 years old but Joey had some markers of possibly having Down syndrome during an ultrasound and I wanted to know for sure so me and my family could educate ourselves and be prepared for Joey's arrival. And you know what, I wouldn't have him ANY OTHER WAY! He's perfect just like he is, extra chromosomes and all!


Anonymous said...

That's wonderful! My prayers are with you and your beautiful child. It's great to see someone having so much courage!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! Those abortions statistics really anger and sicken me. I don't understand how doctors...doctors who know that at very few weeks along, even though they DS, they have beating hearts, and organs that work, and fingers and toes!! They are people, and the doctors know this most of all! Ugh. I guess you just keep doing what you're doing and get the word out!

Michelle said...

I came across this article the other day from bloglines and found it to be wonderfully written! I also plan on sharing it on my blog as well :)

Anonymous said...

Jessica, there is a post on Mommy Life about this article and subject as well. I think you would make a wonderful commenter on this post as well.

I tried to provide a link, but your comments section wouldn't allow it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, the whole link doesn't show. Hmmm....

So, I am going to try to break the link up.

LeslieAnn said...

It breaks my heart...the statistics are SAD. 90% or 9 out of 10. 1 child in 10 like Jack or Joey even allowed to take a breath of life and show the world what they're made of. 1 child out of 10 allowed to feel sunshine on their face, pet a dog, ride a bike, giggle, eat a cupcake, watch a sunset...all because they don't meet someone's standards.

I firmly believe our children have a place and a purpose...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jessica for posting this article on the CDSC message board. This announcement by ACOG last month has saddened me a great deal. I have been meaning to post some other articles about this issue. But besides posting articles and blogging about it, I think those of us who are blessed to have a child with DS in our lives need to start talking to our doctors and educating them about DS. We also should write letters to the editor to our local and statewide newspapers. As parents, we need to educate the public and the medical community about how wonderful our children's lives are.

I am a mother of a 6 year old girl with DS and I am also a family physician. I live in CT. I know first hand about the ignorance in the medical community about DS.

Unfortunately the image most doctors have of people with DS is of the adult who has spent most of his life in an institution. Before my pregnancy with my daughter, this is all I knew of DS. And then of course, there is the misinformation that was still taught in medical schools at least 10 to 15 years ago that the life expectancy of a person with DS is about 30 years.

It is with this bag of out-dated information that most doctors use to "counsel" a woman who has had a positive prenatal screen for DS. No wonder the abortion rate for DS is so high.

Keep up your good work. Now that I found your blog, I will be a frequent visitor. I also hope to meet you and your family at some of the CDSC events!
Judy Mascolo

Kim said...

Jessica I completely agree. I wouldn't change anything about Miss T either!! May I reference your blog and that I found out about it here?
Hey how are ya feeling? I hope well. Mr Joey does look very happy! I will keep the prayers going for your Father(s)
Peace Be With You

grace said...

uplifting post! I hope more moms choose life no matter what.