October, as I just learned, has been decreed Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month, a worthy endeavour to celebrate the joyful, solid fact that every life is worth living, to fullness of its potential. Yet fewer and fewer children with Trisomy-21 – a genetic disorder discovered by Dr. Jerome Lejeune, whose own life was celebrated in these pages – as more and more mothers choose to ‘terminate their pregnancies’, once diagnostic procedures (which are not infallible) signify the phenotypic signs of that extra third chromosome. Estimates are that up to 95% of such pregnancies end with the killing of the unborn baby, and Iceland has gone so far as to rejoice that they have more or less eliminated Down’s Syndrome, of course, by eliminating the children, who are, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, ‘no more’, as the allegorical Rachel wept to hear.
Yet here is Donald Trump’s official message on the White House webpage, an excerpt of which reads:
As our society progresses toward a more inclusive future, there are still those who pass judgment on which lives are worth living. As President, I denounce radical proposals to terminate pregnancies of unborn children with Down syndrome. Our Nation will continue to emphatically affirm the self-evident ideal that all children—born and unborn—are created in the image of God, are worthy of life, and deserve to be loved.
Our country must never run astray from the certitude that the lives of those with Down syndrome are precious and full of potential. During Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we are reminded that we must never waver in our efforts to support these individuals so that they can enrich the soul of our Nation with their joy and love.
Amen to that. I don’t think many members even of our own Church – can one think of one? – who has spoken so clearly of late. In fact, certain high ranking ecclesiastics have advocated voting for the ‘other’ candidate, who is wrong on abortion, and just about everything else. Rarely in history has the political choice between life and death seemed so clear. Much hangs in the balance.
And speaking of balances, Justice Amy Coney Barrett is facing her nomination hearings – one might say grilling – as I write. Although I have grave reservations about the oracular demi-god-like status bestowed upon eight lawyers in black robes, we should pray that the Holy Spirit and all God’s angels protect her from, and the strength to stand fast against, the agents of falsehood, murder and outright lies. The truth – and the Truth – will win out in the end. We just have to cooperate, as we are called.