Many Doctors Think My Daughter Shouldn't Be Alive. They're Wrong | Opinion

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, my family joined an exclusive group we affectionately call "the lucky few." This happened when my wife and I received our daughter's prenatal diagnosis.

We were together on the stairs in our home when the phone rang. It was our doctor calling to inform us that our daughter Josie, still in the womb, had Down syndrome.

Lots of people talk about what it'd be like to get this call. There was a moment of pause—we'd never parented a child with Down syndrome before—but we hugged each other and I said, "Alright. This is gonna be fun. Here we go."

Many doctors and parents treat a Down syndrome diagnosis as if it is deserving of a death sentence. They couldn't be more wrong.

An estimated 67 percent of American Down syndrome diagnoses end in abortion. Even worse, some countries claim to have eradicated Down syndrome entirely by simply aborting almost every child with that diagnosis.

However, when using abortion to "eradicate" Down syndrome, you don't remove the extra chromosome from the individual—you discard the Josies of the world.

It's true that people with Down syndrome face challenges. Almost everyone with Down syndrome faces varying forms of mental and physical delays. But there are those who grow up to own their own business, complete an ironman triathlon, and even star in movies and help an actor overcome an alcohol addiction.

However, it isn't their ability to accomplish great things that make people with Down syndrome valuable. They are valuable for the same reason you and I are valuable. It's because they are simply human.

Baby with sonogram picture
Baby With Sonogram Jacques Pavlovsky/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma/Getty Images

When we determine someone's value by any measure apart from their humanity, we cross into dangerous territory: a world where someone is killed if they might pose an inconvenience, or if they are deemed too statistically "high-risk" and labeled a threat to society before they are even born.

We must also recognize what these messages say to those who do get an opportunity at life.

My biggest fear as Josie's father has nothing to do with the medical challenges posed by Down syndrome. My biggest fear is that Josie will grow up in a culture where someone tells her that she, and others like her, are not worthy of life.

Every time someone encourages a mother to abort her child newly diagnosed with Down syndrome, they're telling my daughter she does not have value. They're telling that to every vulnerable person.

Ultimately, abortion isn't a debate about a diagnosis in the womb or the challenges that come with it. Abortion isn't a debate about the financial situation or age of the parent.

The abortion debate is about whether it is morally acceptable to kill another human being, simply because they are still in the womb.

I can tell you that my prediction on the stairs came true—being Josie's dad is fun! She has been a gift and a joy for our whole family.

While many in society may look at a person with Down syndrome and see a life full of challenges, I now experience life as part of the lucky few. October was Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Even though it has come to a close, I urge everyone to look beyond the human challenges and see the priceless human dignity in every person.

Jason Law is the director of communications for Human Coalition, one of the largest pro-life organizations in the nation which operates a growing network of Telecare and Brick-and-Mortar Women's Care Clinics across the nation.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.