March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. It is a day for advocacy but also celebration. Families of children with Down syndrome talk about “the best club you never wanted to be in.”
The evidence backs them up. A 2007 study of hundreds of thousands of marriages reported that divorce rates in families of children with Down syndrome were more than 3 percent lower than in other families. A 2011 study surveyed almost 1,000 brothers and sisters about their siblings with Down syndrome, and 94 percent over age 11 expressed feelings of pride about their siblings. Almost 90 percent felt they were better people because of them. In a related study, 99 percent of about 280 people with Down syndrome indicated they were happy with their lives.
Sounds like a swell club. Yet in the United States and many European countries, the vast majority of parents who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis terminate the pregnancy. The United States is even on the “low” side, with an estimated abortion rate of about 70 percent for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.
On February 28, Utah’s legislature passed the Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act, which would prohibit abortions sought solely because an unborn child has Down syndrome. The law is triggered if a court of “binding authority” says that it’s constitutional. Pending before the Supreme Court is a petition for writ of certiorari in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. At issue is a law that prohibits abortions sought on the basis of Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Read more at The Federalist.