The Holy Innocents that the Church remembers today are those male children that died under Herod’s hand. Herod killed them in a selfish rage, fearing the newborn King he was told about. Herod was a king, a king of a people he was supposed to protect. Instead he killed his own citizens.
We are all familiar with the horrors of abortion. Abortion is a meaningless act often turned to out of selfishness and fear. So far in 2011, Expose Planned Parenthood reports that one baby is killed every 96 seconds resulting in a total of 324,774 babies just this year (as of this writing). That is a staggering number!
(Links to statistics, facts, and other resources listed at the end of this article.)
There is no doubt that the abortions of thousands and thousands of children is a tragedy in our country today. But I can’t help but think of the innocent children who are aborted out of fear due to a positive prenatal test for Down Syndrome or some other sort of disability. Down Syndrome, in particular, has been on my mind lately.
With about 90% of children who are prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome (DS) being aborted, we are already becoming a country where DS children are few and far between. If you know someone with DS or have a DS child or family member than you know how loving, sweet, and happy these children and adults can be. Despite medical issues they might have, despite mental disabilities they may face, these children bring joy to their families and those around them. DS is not a disease, it is not contagious; many people with DS live healthy lives and life expectancy has increased to around 60 years or so.
And yet, the more I read about it, the more I find that many doctors don’t paint a very nice picture and often recommend abortion to parents at a time when they are feeling vulnerable and fearful of the unknown. Doctors are supposed to be in the business of protecting life, correct? Why would they recommend killing one?
As I reflect on this question I think about the Holy Innocents. Herod was supposed to be a protector as well. Yet out of fear, he killed many children, known to us now as the Holy Innocents, the first martyrs for Christ. Today’s doctors are not much different than Herod was in Jesus’ time.
Fortunately there are many groups and individuals advocating for life for these children. There are studies being done showing the positive side of DS. And, most importantly, there are children with DS who are living proof that a DS diagnosis is not to be feared.
That child that was killed today may still be able to have a positive impact on someone. With many prayers and support her mother will hopefully realize what she did, and will one day be able to share her story and her regret with others and thus save the life of another child. And her child, now in heaven with the other Innocents, can intercede with Our Heavenly Father for those contemplating ending the life of their child.
We pray, dear Lord, for an end to abortion in all circumstances. We also pray for all the mothers and fathers who must live with the regret of abortion. And, Lord, we also pray for the misguided doctors, may they come to see the beauty and dignity of all human life and work to preserve it and care for it at all stages. Holy Innocents, please pray for us.
Statistics and Studies
Down Syndrome: Facts, Stats, Concern for Eugenics: http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1301/26/
Life with Down Syndrome overwhelmingly happy, says US study: http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/9773 (includes links to study itself)
Parents of Down Syndrome children divorce less: study: http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?ID=6087
Expose Planned Parenthood, statistics: http://exposeplannedparenthood.net/planned-parenthood-facts/
Advocacy, Blogs, and Testimonies:
The Diseased Culture of Death: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/kondrich/110313
International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life: http://www.idscforlife.org/
KIDS: Keep Infants with Down Syndrome: http://keepinfantswithdownsyndrome.blogspot.com/
Stop Aborting Down Syndrome Individuals Now: http://sadsin.blogspot.com/
Cause of our Joy: http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com (includes links to many other blogs and advocacy and support groups)