Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Palin's Promise

Sarah Palin has promised support for special needs children in a major policy speech. Disability rights are, of course, very close to Sarah Palin's heart because her baby son Trig has been diagnosed with Down's Syndrome, but as she puts it:

"Too often, they [children with disabilities] are made to feel that there is no place for them in the life of our country, that they don't count or have nothing to contribute. This attitude is a grave disservice to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country -- and I will work to change it."

"And what's been confirmed in me is every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance."

Unfortunately, in America and Britain, 90% of children with Down's Syndrome are aborted before birth and are never given the opportunity to contribute to the world. Whenever the subject of Down's Syndrome comes up, I am always reminded of the remarkable scene some years ago, when a group of young people with Down's Syndrome gatecrashed a conference on pre-natal screening that they have been refused permission to address. Anya Souza was finally allowed to speak and had this to say to the assembled doctors and scientists:
“I can’t get rid of my Down’s Syndrome, but you can’t get rid of my happiness. You can’t get rid of the happiness I give others either. It’s doctors like you that want to test pregnant women and stop people like me being born. Together with my family and friends I have fought to prevent my separation from normal society. I have fought for my rights… I may have Down’s Syndrome but I am a person first.”