We have an articulate advocate out there; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. Last week, at an October 16 meeting of the Phoenix Catholic Physicians Guild, Archbishop Chaput had a lot to say about the importance of doctors supporting mothers who are expecting children with Down syndrome.
"In practice, medical professionals now can steer an expectant mother toward abortion simply by hinting at a list of the child’s possible defects. The most debased thing about this kind of pressure is that doctors know better than anyone else how vulnerable a woman can be when she hears potentially tragic news about her unborn baby.I’m not suggesting that doctors should hold back vital knowledge from parents. Nor should doctors paint an implausibly upbeat picture of life with a child who has disabilities. But doctors, genetic counselors, and medical school professors should have on staff—or at least on speed dial—experts of a different sort.
Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective. Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential. They’ve seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits of parental love and faith. Expectant parents deserve to know that a child with Down syndrome can love, laugh, learn, work, feel hope and excitement, make friends, and create joy for others. These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect. They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally."
Read his entire column at First Things.
We applaud this and hope that more doctors will look for those of us who love special needs children to be advocates for mothers under great pressure to abort their children. We know how much difference a bit of support can make at this crucial moment in their lives, this is the reason we formed KIDS.
It's nice to know we have a friend.