Today, on March 21—3/21, in a nod to the third copy of chromosome 21—we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. It’s a time to recognize the unique individuals with Down Syndrome and advocate for their inclusion in society.
It’s hard to celebrate this year. A few months ago, major media outlets reported that Iceland is well on its way to “eradicating Down Syndrome”—more accurately, as actress Patricia Heaton pointed out, eliminating unborn children who have Down Syndrome. More recently, the ACLU has sued to block Ohio’s ban on abortions for Down Syndrome, and the Washington Post published not just one, but two blatantly ableist op-ed pieces justifying the destruction of babies with that dreaded 47th chromosome.
This World Down Syndrome Day, I wish for every person with Down Syndrome to have equal opportunities and all the supports they need to accomplish their dreams. In the famous words of Megan Bomgaars: “Don’t limit me!”
This World Down Syndrome Day, I wish for the ACLU to rediscover the meaning of civil liberties for all, not just the able-bodied and born.
This World Down Syndrome Day, I wish for Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post to soften her heart and stop hiding eugenics behind the veil of “choice” and “complexity.”
This World Down Syndrome Day, I wish for a world in which every child is welcomed in life and protected by law, without regard to prenatal diagnosis.
Progress will come—but only if we work tirelessly for it.