In less than a month’s time, the world has repeatedly witnessed the shocking reality of what many in society think of babies with special needs. And this is a perfect opportunity for us to educate others to another shocking reality—that these children are amazing, loving, fun, joyful blessings (I could go on and on).
First there was, Pattaramon Chanbua, a young woman from Thailand who served as a surrogate mother for David and Wendy Farnell, an Australian couple. For a fee, Pattaramon was to carry and give birth to the couple’s biological child. During the pregnancy it was discovered that she was carrying twins and the baby boy had Down syndrome. The doctors and biological parents asked her to abort the affected baby, but she adamantly refused. In the end, the couple took the “healthy” baby girl and abandoned the boy.
Pattaramon is now raising and loving the child named Gammy and prays the couple will love the little girl. After this went public and the Farnells were identified, a worldwide outcry ensued against them, especially in Australia. It wasn’t just pro-lifers who were upset, their callous behavior generated distain from all segments of society. The couple first hid in their home, and then demanded a refund from the surrogacy agency claiming, “This is all your fault.” Fortunately for Gammy, a “Hope for Gammy” charity fund was established and has raised over $240,000 to assist Pattaramon in raising him.
Next, Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s best known atheists, stepped into it big time. The British “ethicist” started by saying that Ireland was a civilized country except for one thing—they didn’t abort their babies. When asked if Britain’s 994 babies, aborted because they had Down syndrome, was “civilized” he responded, “Yes, it is very civilized.” Dawkins then added, “It would be immoral to bring [the child] into the world if you have a choice.” This generated another public firestorm and many responses which can’t be repeated here. The anger caught Dawkins off guard and he responded with a backhand apology.
Most recently, another couple paying a surrogate mother to carry and deliver their baby also had twins, one with complications, and their reaction mirrored the Farnells. Jenny, their British surrogate mother, delivered and the girl had Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy. Symptoms can often include autism, mental retardation or poor muscle tone. The biological mother reacted to the news by telling Jenny, “She’d be a [very bad word] dribbling cabbage. Who would want to adopt her?” The couple then abandoned the affected girl and took the “normal” baby boy home with them. Jenny is now raising the girl as her own.
The unvarnished cruelty exhibited by these individuals takes our breath away. But we need to quickly get it back because God put us here for such a time as this. You and I must become effective ambassadors for children with special needs while society is attentive and listening.
Richard Dawkins said it was “moral” to abort babies with Down syndrome to alleviate suffering. I doubt he’s that ignorant, but just in case, I’ll repeat this for his benefit and others who believe him. They aren’t suffering. People with Down syndrome are happy, loving, loyal and a joy to be around. Ask anyone who lives with them or knows them. People with Down syndrome can be productive. Ask Tim Harris who owns and operates his own restaurant. Some go to college. Others are homecoming queen or king and queen of prom. Still more become cheerleaders. Some know the governor by name and even co-sign legislation with him. (Again, I could go on and on).
Join me by turning what are ugly, negative events into celebrated educational opportunities. If you know someone facing a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome or have just delivered, share these resources with them. We can also put them in touch with parents who are experienced at loving these children.
I have a deep and abiding love for individuals with Down syndrome. Those links show why. You and I can take cruel and painful words of ignorance and turn them into open minds and changed hearts with life-saving results. It starts right here. Now, share this email.