This week the Charlotte Lozier Institute released a new paper, “Improving Joyful Lives: Society’s Response to Difference and Disability,” which makes policy recommendations to protect unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome and to educate and support their families.
Mark Bradford, author and president of the Lejeune Foundation USA, writes that oftentimes the information expectant parents receive following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome heavily favors aborting the baby. Bradford therefore presents key changes that must be made to prevent discrimination and increase support for families. One suggestion is passing legislation that ensures parents are given information revealing the overwhelmingly positive lived experiences of those with Down syndrome and their families.
Another recommendation is increased NIH funding proportionate to the large population of persons with Down syndrome in the United States, which would allow researchers to follow through on the exciting preliminary studies the paper highlights. Prenatal nondiscrimination legislation would be another measure to protect children with Down syndrome from abortion based solely on their disability.
The way we treat individuals with difference or disability is evident through the way we respond to a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. These measures are vital steps to ensure we treat the most vulnerable among us with the dignity and care they deserve.