Sunday, December 16, 2012

re: "Living with Down [Syndrome]," BC Courier Times, 11/20/12

Kudos to Christina Kristofic and the Courier Times for the beautiful piece about Kathryn Drenth and her mom Mariah Drenth-Cormick, who is a co-chair of the Bucks County Down Syndrome Interest Group (Living with Down [Syndrome], 11/20/12).  It brought back memories! 

Forty years ago, Geraldo Rivera burst on the scene with expose reports about despicable conditions for and treatment of people with special needs - some of whom had Down Syndrome - at Staten Island's now defunct Willowbrook institution.  Deeply moved by the reports, John Lennon teamed up with Rivera for the "One to One" benefit concert (cf., Wikipedia).  With such celebrity attention, the mid 1970s became a time of greatly improved opportunities for people with Down Syndrome and others with special needs, including a movement away from institutionalization to community living.  Yet, a "perfect storm" was brewing.

With 1973's Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the mid 1970s saw a floodgate opened and abortion rates increase astronomically.  After doctors began reporting that they could identify Down Syndrome in utero, the abortion rate of pre born children with Down Syndrome went through the roof.  As per the famous sibling of a famous young child with Down Syndrome: "In the United States, would you believe ninety-two percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted before they get a chance to take a breath? When I hear this statistic, it makes me want to burst into tears.... I’d have a Down syndrome baby in a heartbeat, and I know anyone else would if they saw any sort of glimpse of how perfect my little brother is" (Bristol Palin, 5/15/12).  As per the dad of a child with Down Syndrome, "I know from experience that doctors, nurses, and other prenatal medical professionals are badly in need of accurate information about Down syndrome....An average of 85 percent of pregnant women who get a Down syndrome diagnosis opt for abortion" (Matthew Hennessey, First Things, 11/29/12).

Christina Kristofic explains that Mariah Drenth-Cormick "regularly takes Kathryn to meet women who are pregnant with or just gave birth to babies with Down syndrome, so the women can 'see what a kid with Down syndrome looks like, what they can do and can’t do, how they bend in half.'"  Thank you Mariah and Kathryn for this wonderful education which you are providing!

Several years ago, Archbishop Chaput reminded us that "Every child with Down syndrome, every adult with special needs--in fact, every unwanted unborn child, every person who is poor, weak, abandoned, or homeless--is an icon of God's face and a vessel of his love. How we treat these persons--whether we revere them and welcome them or throw them away in distaste--shows what we really believe about human dignity, both as individuals and as a nation."


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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
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