Monday, July 26, 2010

A message from Cathy McMorris Rogers on the 20th anniversary of the ADA

Dear Friends,

Today, I join you in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was a landmark bill - one of the most important civil rights achievements in U.S. history - because it gave more than 50 million Americans the opportunity to live the American Dream.
One of those Americans is my son, Cole, who happened to be born with Down Syndrome.

When Cole was born 3 years ago, the disability community welcomed me and my family with open arms. With their friendship and support, I've found a new focus and passion for being a Member a Congress: To make sure that Cole – and all disabled Americans – have the best opportunities for education, employment, and independent living.

Today, I spoke on the House floor to recognize the ADA anniversary (click here to watch it). I also spoke at a press conference with some of the leaders of the original ADA law (including Sen. Tom Harkin, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, former Majority Whip Tony Coehlo, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, and Anthony Imparato, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities [AAPD]). At the press conference, we reaffirmed our commitment to fulfilling the promise of the ADA – not just expanding opportunities for people with disabilities, but also empowering them to lead independent, successful lives.

In related news, last week I had the privilege of addressing the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) National Convention. You can see my power point presentation – plus some of the highlights of my speech – at my new webpage, Down Syndrome Legislative Updates. Click here to view the page and let me know what you think.

Also, last Wednesday, I had the privilege of receiving the AAPD's "Justice for All Award." In my acceptance speech, I said that, "We've come a long way in 20 years, but we still have a long way to go. Let's use the ADA anniversary as inspiration for creating a 'more perfect union' for people with disabilities and all Americans."
I look forward to continuing to work with the disability community – a community I'm proud to be a part of - on the issues that are important to us. Thank you for your support, leadership, and friendship.

Best Wishes,

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Member of Congress

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Congratulations Rep McMorris Rogers

McMorris Rodgers to Receive “Justice for All” Award by the Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
Congratulations Congresswoman, you are a credit to your office! KIDS salutes you!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will join business leaders and other Members of Congress to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Wednesday. As a leading advocate for people with disabilities, Rep. McMorris Rodgers will be recognized by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) with the “Justice for All” award for her outstanding leadership on the issue.

She will join the authors of the ADA and several other award recipients to help celebrate the anniversary of this landmark legistlation.
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Awards Ceremony and 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dave Andrusko covered the story about a new drug for prenatally testing Down syndrome that is on the horizon, and I was quoted in his post:   

A few additional comments about the new test:

Although the chances of conceiving a baby with Down syndrome are greater the older a mother becomes, it is estimated that about 80 percent of babies with Down syndrome are actually born to mothers under the age of 35. This is because younger mothers are the ones having most of the babies.

Up until recently, prenatal testing was offered primarily to mothers 35 and older because of this greater "risk." However, in 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) came out with new guidelines, recommending that ALL pregnant mothers be offered screening and diagnostic testing. This is now standard practice.

What this means is that previously, most of the babies with Down syndrome were "undetected" because they were being born to mothers younger than 35 who had not been offered prenatal testing. However, now that ALL women are being offered testing, many more babies WILL be "detected."

Still, invasive tests, such as amniocentesis and corionic villus sampling (CVS), are currently the only methods of definitively diagnosing Down syndrome prenatally. Many women decline these diagnostic tests because they carry a slight risk of miscarriage, a chance they are not willing to take. So there are probably still babies with Down syndrome being born who have not been "detected."

However, when this new diagnostic test comes on the scene, most mothers will most likely agree to testing.  As a result, many more babies with Down syndrome will be "detected." And because Down syndrome will be definitively diagnosed much earlier in pregnancy, when abortion is less "complicated," many more mothers will also choose abortion.

The bottom line is that the large number of babies who would have been "undetected" and born will now become "detected" and aborted.

Of course, there is always the possibility that many mothers will decline this inexpensive, quick, accurate, non-invasive test; but that is unlikely. And it is also possible that once Down syndrome is diagnosed, many mothers will refuse an abortion. But the statistics tell us that the vast majority of mothers - currently about 90 percent - will choose abortion.

This new test is a death knell for babies with Down syndrome.