Die “Euthanasie”-Kinder

Never again

“I have two daughters. They both have Down syndrome. They taught me what love really means. They showed me a world that they see and that they are in. It’s a beautiful world where everyone loves one another and the sun always shines.

It breaks my heart to know that almost all women terminate their pregnancy if their baby is identified with Down syndrome. But how can I blame them? Marketing and media are still used to condition the public to think of disability in terms of suffering and burden.

Tests are promoted with the slogan “freedom of choice” and selective abortion is passionately defended by many. But the dehumanization and eradication of specific groups of people is not a sign of dignity, freedom or progression. It is, and always has been, a sign of a population which is being controlled.”

‘Never again’ are meaningless words if our actions don’t match.

Read the entire article on Huffington Post

elie-wiesel

 

Dutch prenatal screening policy to the United Nations!

Downpride and LeJeune Foundation have taken the #StopDiscriminatingDown campaign and the Dutch prenatal screening policy to the United Nations!

echo.jpgThis marks the start of a procedure where the Dutch government is addressed at the UN for introducing a screening policy that discriminates and unjustly stigmatizes people with Down syndrome and their families.

Read the entire written statement in: word or pdf

The crime is wanting to make a group extinct

Why are some people called a risk even before they are born? Are they less human than others?

Read the article in Huffington Post

collage4.jpg

 

Genetic screening is not about health; it is about eliminating groups of people

DSC_0049[1].JPGMargaret’s old pediatrician tells me that years ago he used to have a steady stream of patients
with Down syndrome. Not anymore. Where did they go, I wonder. They aren’t being born anymore, he says.”

A small group of experts use genetic science to divide the population into those “who are candidates for selection” and “those who are not”. Pregnant women are then offered the “free” choice to selectively abort certain children.

Are we really that free? This article explores how social marketing is used to raise public acceptance that children with certain genetic variations are deliberately aborted. Seventy-six years after the war, eugenic ideas have not changed.

By separating genetic science from humanity we dehumanize our (unborn) children. Vulnerability is not caused by disability; it is caused by every act that devalues human life. We are all vulnerable.

Read more:
Genetic screening is used to eliminate groups of people

Naturally Imperfect

odd_bunch_brandifv10 (1)

A woman walks in a vegetable and fruit store and asks…

Can I have a cucumber, sir?”

Certainly Madam, would you like this class A cucumber on the shelf or a class B cucumber from the box on the floor?”

I don’t know. What’s the difference?”

Class A passed the test and class B didn’t.”

Well just give me the one with the best taste.”

They are not tested for taste, but for straightness madam. Class B has a crooked shape and that makes stacking and peeling a bit awkward.”

My family comes for dinner and I want to prepare a tasty salad.”

Well, the success of your salad really depends on the other ingredients and the dressing because the taste of these cucumbers is equal.”love-by-real-cucumbers

What should I do?”

Most people choose class A, because it fits easier in the grocery-bag and vegetable drawer in the fridge.”

Fine. Give me a straight, class A cucumber then. But tell me, what happens to the cucumbers that fail the test?”

Luckily, stories like these are getting rare. Green activists have saved oddly shaped veggies from ending up as waste. Once again they are found on grocery shelves between their ‘straight’ cousins. Good; because perfection and conformity do not exist in nature.

Time to protect human diversity because CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME FACE AN ABSURD SITUATION…

This message is brought to you by Downpride: human diversity is people business

Bernie Sanders’ American nightmare

Bernie Sanders thinks the American dream is in Denmark and praises the Scandinavian nation for considering Public health-care a right. “If we screen out those who are sick in advance, we can accommodate and care for others.” This is how the Danes are informed about the benefits of their National screening program that targets Down syndrome and is offered free to all pregnant women. There’s only one flaw: Down syndrome is NOT a disease. Most people with Down syndrome live happy, healthy lives.

collage4According Danish news paper Berlingske Denmark decided in 2004 not to listen to people who complain of human selection and started promoting abortion of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome so their society will be free of such people and perfect in the future. Since then the number of children born with Down syndrome have fallen by around 13 percent annually. Here’s a recent Danish headline: with a termination rate of 98%, Down syndrome is headed for extinction.

Medical advances are often introduced in public health-care systems with the promise they will be “individually assessed”, but it is naive to believe this. The norm is being Down-syndrome free and genetically perfect, and technology will be used to achieve conformity to that norm. The prenatal screening train has been placed on a high speed track and the goal is eliminating Down syndrome (and other genetic variations).

The adding up of a lot of individual choices to the ‘acceptability’ of aborting certain kinds of embryos or fetuses resembles eugenics in the search for a ‘perfect child’.”, Unesco’s bioethics committee warned in 2015.

How long are we going to keep up the shenanigans that prenatal screening is about women’s free choice? Danish women spilled in a 2015 documentary called Dead over Downs, how they are routinely misinformed and scared about the condition with stories of hardship. Those that dare to resist screening or abortion, are bullied and called irresponsible for having a child that is ‘a burden to society’.

That is psychological coercion and it amounts to massive and grave violation under International law, especially when the aim of a state is to reduce medical costs.

While Denmark is consistently hyped as the happiest place on earth, I think happiness is confused with a state of numbness and comfort. When love, pain, freedom and the art of living are being dismissed in a society, it starts to resemble the place Huxley describes in Brave New World.

Now the last remaining Danes with Downs are reaching out to the world through a series of video-clips produced by a small indie media company appositely named TV Glad. They are asking people worldwide to “please stand up against a society that systematically wipes out Down syndrome”.

It is hard to imagine this happening in the United States, or even the rest of Europe, but it was unthinkable in Denmark not so long ago. Many countries, including the UK, the Netherlands and France, have recently proposed to implement genetic screening into their public health-care systems. Genetic genocide has now become a global threat.geld1

Groups of people who are considered ‘expensive’ or ‘useless’ are being wiped out under the pretense of ‘public health-care”. That is not a dream but a nightmare from which we should wake up. 

Please share and sign our International petition Stop Discriminating Down

“DOWN SYNDROME CAUSES SUFFERING”

“DOWN SYNDROME CAUSES SUFFERING”, a headline reads. When I look at my beautiful two daughters I know this is a blatant lie. Politicians, medical professionals and industry are cultivating fear to market tests that continue to harm the Down syndrome community.

I dedicate my first article to my beautiful daughters April and Hazel. ‘May you grow old in a world where one day, everyone is wanted for the person who they are.’

DSC_0784 (3)

An inconvenient truth: people with Down syndrome are very happy being themselves.

If you asked my daughters April and Hazel what life is like (with Down syndrome), they would probably give you their undivided attention for a few moments. Hazel would likely start telling you about her friends in school, her little brother Olav, her favorite foods and people in the world (babies). The story might get increasingly hard to follow and likely end in laughter and a high five. April will gaze at you solemnly from behind her glasses. Searching her brain for the proper words to express her feelings, she will be pensive for a while as in meditation. You will start to notice the freckles on her cheeks and tiny nose. Then, as she delicately wraps her arms around your shoulders, a smile will radiate like a ray of sunshine from behind that earnest look.

My daughters don’t suffer because they have an extra chromosome. Sure the road to fluent speech, flawless writing, and coordinated bicycling is often filled with obstacles, but they don’t let it ruin their day, much less their lives. They are consumed with more important stuff like Saturdays’ dance recital or Sundays’ soccer game. Of course, like any kid, mine can drive a mother insane. Hazel can be stubborn as a mule and April can take an hour to get dressed. But they also have the ability to simply accept their flaws and those of others without judgment and to fully enjoy life. In my opinion, that makes my daughters perfect.

For those who hide behind the noble phrase that ‘prenatal selection of babies with Down syndrome is an act of love’ I would like to throw this inconvenient truth on the table: people with Down syndrome are very happy being themselves. In fact, research on a population shows people with Down syndrome and their families rate life above average. It is the outside community that judges their lives poorly.

A few decades ago Down syndrome was considered a life limiting condition and people with Down syndrome were often housed in institutions. Many were in poor health, had limited self-care and social skills, couldn’t read, and died young. It was thought their problems were caused by their DNA and unavoidable. This offered justification for some to offer prenatal screening en selecting Down syndrome to women who were considered at an ‘increased risk’.

         Down syndrome could be considered an ‘acceptable genetic variation’.

Social and medical advances have profoundly changed what it means to live with Down syndrome and other disabilities since then. Today people with Down syndrome are living longer and healthier lives and it seems clear they were limited at least as much by institutionalization, low expectations, lack of education and poor health care as by their DNA. They are increasingly finishing high school, living more independently and holding jobs. In fact, by usual medical definitions and standards, Down syndrome cannot be considered a ‘serious condition’. Think average IQ, life expectancy and other life limiting factors. In today’s framework, Down syndrome could be considered an ‘acceptable genetic variation’.

Rather than discussing ending prenatal screening and selection for Down syndrome, the opposite is happening: from technologically limited tests offered to few, prenatal screening is now routinely offered to all women in the United States and abroad while advanced genetic technology is introduced. Misperception and outright denial of the advances made for this group of people sharing similar physical characteristics abounds in media and medical ‘opinions’. From assumptions about financial dependence, low earning power and generating suffering. By targeting a portion of society (Down syndrome) for elimination it creates and reinforces stubborn outdated stereotyping in society.

If we, as a modern society, value the right to be ourselves, un-judged and free to make our own choices, we should wish the same freedom and rights for our off-spring.

My daughters are not a mistake or a reflection of my personal choice but full-fledged persons and a crucial part of society. They may not become the first female president of the United States (but who will?), it doesn’t mean they have other, important, talents. So often are people with Down syndrome accredited with the ability to be open, accept life, live in the moment and to spread love, simplicity and joy. In fact, people with Down syndrome, as a group, were nominated for the 2014 Public Peace Prize for their ‘real ability to diffuse peace around them’.  These human traits are needed more, rather than less, in today’s fast paced, money and self-centered society.

Eliminating people with Down syndrome from society doesn’t say anything about their inherent worth. It says everything about societies inability to appreciate or accept human differences as part of the whole.

“We all need to feel wanted for the person that we are. So take good care of each other” Fred Penner, Canadian Children’s music performer sings. That’s the message we should pass on to our children.

About the author: Renate Lindeman is a Mother of two children with Down syndrome, Writer, Disability activist, A representative for Saving Down syndrome and spokesperson for Downpride. Renate is the former president of the NS Down syndrome society.