Dave McElhinny: The 21st century’s secret genocide | TribLIVE.com

Dave McElhinny: The 21st century’s secret genocide

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. It is held annually on March 21 (3/21 = Trisomy 21).

The technical term for DS is Trisomy 21. But a prenatal test that reveals this condition is more than a diagnosis — it’s a death sentence for thousands and thousands.

Utah’s House of Representatives took a step in the right direction as lawmakers passed a bill this year that outlaws abortions solely based on the fear about having a child born with Down syndrome.

It’s a small step, but it is at least movement in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world needs to catch up and learn that these babies deserve a chance to live.

Last year, a 17-year-old boy named Valerio Catoia, from Italy, made headlines across Europe for heroism.

Valerio, an accomplished swimmer, was at a beach enjoying the day when he jumped into action and saved a girl who was caught in rough seas and was shrieking for help.

He swam through choppy waters, fighting a strong tide, and pulled the girl safely back to shore, keeping her head above water during the rescue.

It’s a good thing this didn’t happen in Iceland because if it had, that girl might not be here today.

You see, Valerio has Down syndrome, something that Iceland has all but eliminated in their country.

Last year, Iceland didn’t have a single child born with Down syndrome. They’ve figured out a way to cure Down syndrome. What a marvelous accomplishment, eh?

Here is how it works. Amniotic fluid, which is designed to nourish and keep a baby safe while in the womb has been turned against the infant it was designed to protect.

By drawing some of the fluid out through a procedure known as an amniocentesis, scientists can examine the fluid, looking for markers that indicate the baby might have Down syndrome. When it is discovered a child does have these markers, an abortion is performed.

Now before we pile on Iceland too hard, truth be told, they are not alone. While Iceland currently boasts the highest rate without Down syndrome births, Denmark is above 98 percent.

Europe as a whole aborts about 92 percent, with the good old United States also showing high abortion rates, along with many other countries.

For me, these are troubling numbers. As the father of a child with Down syndrome, I can’t imagine a single day without him. He loves life more than anybody I’ve ever met.

But why? What is it that makes entire countries feel the need to try to wipe people with Down syndrome off the face of the earth?


Fear is why we do most of the stupid things we do. People are afraid of having a child who isn’t “perfect.”

“What will that mean for me? What will it mean for my family?”

I’m not trying to make people who have made this choice seem like monsters — they’re not. They’re frightened.

If only they could see the wonderful future they could have had with this child.

People sometimes like to say the child is “better off not being born.”

I can guarantee that the family of the little 10-year-old girl who was saved from drowning understand that people with Down syndrome have real value in this world.

Ask any person with Down syndrome if they are happy they were born and if they love their lives.

I promise you, those numbers will be the exact opposite of the Iceland philosophy.

Dave McElhinny is a Tribune-Review news editor. You can contact Dave via Twitter .

Categories: Opinion
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