Including People With Downs

love down-syndrome flowers sweet childA Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news blog featured a story about A new line of clothing for people with Downs Syndrome has been launched. Karen Bowersox of Mentor OH, has developed a clothing line specifically for people with the condition.

Being an advocate for people with disabilities, I took note of the story. It’s not a major human rights story, but I suppose it may be a concern — especially for a person with Downs. This small good news story was refreshing after a bigoted and odious comment by Richard Dawkins last week. The lofty Oxford professor said it is immoral not to abort a child with Downs.[1] That’s how coarse and anti-disability our culture is becoming.

Inclusion not elimination of people with disabilities of various kinds must be the goal for enlightened society. Unfortunately nearly 90% of pregnancies involving babies with Downs syndrome end in abortion. And so a story about a loving grandmother of a Downs child developing a clothing line for people with the syndrome was sweetness in the wake of the bitterness of Dawkins’ awful words.

Christians should stand in contrast to such sentiments and advocate for life and inclusion for all humanity as image bearers of God, supporting families facing a prenatal diagnosis of Downs or other disabilities. We can set a standard

Where does inclusion occur? It occurs in the daily lives of people
with disabilities and the accommodation of their needs. This occurs in accessible housing and transportation, education and recreation, proper nutrition and access to equal medical care to the rest of the population. And yes, it can occur even in the simplest and mundane aspects of life such as having clothing that fits. It occurs by including people with disabilities and their families in our community and church life.

Make your church, community and family disability friendly.

[1] “Richard Dawkins: ‘immoral’ not to abort if foetus has Down’s syndrome: Scientist says a mother has a responsibility to ‘abort it and try again’ if she knows her baby would have the disorder”, The Guardian, 21 August 2014. See http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/aug/21/richard-dawkins-immoral-not-to-abort-a-downs-syndrome-foetus

Mark Davis Pickup is chronically ill and disabled with degenerative multiple sclerosis. He is an advocate for life issues and disability inclusion across North America. He and his wife, LaRee, have been married for 38 years. They live in Alberta Canada with their two adult children and five grandchildren. Mark is available to address issues of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and issues revolving around suffering that often fuel calls for euthanasia. He writes regularly at http://markpickup.org and http://humanlifematters.org. For bookings, contact him by e-mail at MPickup@shaw.ca or telephone (780) 929-9230. Mark Pickup's bi-weekly column can be read in the Western Catholic Reporter (Canada) at http://www.wcr.ab.ca/.