Friday, March 2, 2012


There has been a bunch of articles posted lately that I have run across. These articles have all dealt with the same general topic: life. More specifically they have been focused on the new MaterniT21 genetic screening (manufactured by Sequenom). A blood test designed to be administered early on in a woman's pregnancy with the intention of screening out wether a woman is carrying a child with one of three types of Trisomy; Trisomy 21 (most common form of Down syndrome), Trisomy 18, and Trisomy 13. Yes, there has been genetic screening around for sometime now, but as most women know - the accuracy rate is weak and many times yields a false positive - it (CVS panel) is also typically given a bit later in the pregnancy. The other option available for screening is an amniocentesis - which is quite invasive and comes with the danger of miscarriage. So ... you can imagine the hype amongst the medical community once this new test became approved and available this last fall. Even though the test costs a whopping $1200/testing the hope is that insurance will eventually work to cover the cost given the amounts of money they will eventually save in diagnosing Down syndrome iand giving women the option of abortion much earlier on in their pregnancy.

I can't tell you how this new test grieves my heart. Already, even with the inaccurate testing available, the termination rate amongst those women receiving a prenatal Ds diagnosis is above that of 90%. Now, just for a moment, think. What do you think will happen now that there is a test available known for it's accuracy, as well as it's ability to yield results as early as ten weeks gestation? Do you think that statistic will increase or decrease?

The answer is so very clear.

Some may say that this is just a better way of being more prepared. I wish it were that simple. However, while that may be the intent of some - statistics show that most are using the already existing tests as a way to weed out the children that they deem not acceptable, or too burdensome. If a woman is tested sooner in her pregnancy, before she is even showing, before she has had the time to become really emotionally connected to the growing baby inside her - I can't help but imagine that the prospect of abortion is a little bit more acceptable to her.

The bigger picture?

What about the Down syndrome community as a whole? What is the world afraid of? The widely accepted view that those with Ds are gentle spirits? The fact that those around them tend to claim a more enriched life? Is the world so frightened by the absolute love in this people that it is too unbearable? If already 90% of those diagnosed prenatally are aborting, what will happen to the population of those with Ds after this new and improved test becomes more widely used?

When I look into his eyes, I see nothing frightening. I see joy, love, potential, a sweet spirit, and an absolute blessing that has touched the lives of so many people and changed perspectives in a profound way.

But ... for every one of Justus' you see ... there are nine others that were not allowed an opportunity of life. Their families never realized that joy, love, or potential. They were gripped by fear of the unknown and a test allowed them a way out.

This new test promises a much earlier opportunity for that way out ....

... and for many more children to never have that chance of life.


Michele said...

This is fabulously informative! Great writing, and I am Down Syndrome is in the clutch of a smear campaign. Imagine how much money will be saved per life that is "interrupted", as the medical community calls it. Imagine how much more profit your insurance company will make if they don't have to pay for your defective child's enormous medical costs.
Down Syndrome will never be eliminated, it is the most common genetic disorder. Can you imagine how much effort the insurance companies will have to sustain to ensure people stay afraid of a positive diagnosis?
Occupy Down Syndrome!

nicole said...

So very, very sad! I often think about the missing children when I see someone with Down syndrome ~ this world would be so much better with everyone God created.

Jane@flightplatformliving said...

well said as a mummy of a beautiful magical child with smith magenis syndrome I KNOW these special kiddies are not mistakes that need eradiating! this world is so fearful of stepping away from a percieved normal that doesn't even exsist! people need to stop fearfully clinging to its myth and just love each other! xxx

Anonymous said...

You should be ASHAMED of yourself, as should every other mother out there saying that this test is a bad thing. How DARE you suggest that other mothers should not be allowed the choice NOT to have a DS kid. Have you ever thought that there are people out there that don't want one? Or are you and others so selfishly wrapped up in your own self righteous little bubble. No one is stopping anyone from having DS kids, they are just thankfully giving an option to those that would rather not burden themselves and society. What a terrible thing they are doing - giving mothers a CHOICE!

Jenny B. said...

Love that beautiful picture of your Justus! Those tests are sad and sickening for the choice they give.

The Browning Family said...

To Anonymous, I do DARE to stand up for the lives of ANYONE. It should never be a choice to kill another out of CONVENIENCE. Whether it be a child or the elderly or someone who doesn't meet the standard of another. Murder is NOT ok under any circumstances. NO child deserves to be murdered...PERIOD! If you would be so bold as to identify yourself, I would be happy to meet you and discuss this further. I am not angry or upset with you, just saddened that you would think that it would be ok to take the life of another human being and would call that a CHOICE. Why is that even an option...what about the Babies choice? Please let me know who you are and when you would like to meet and discuss this very important matter further. Phillip Browning

Jessica said...

So sad that someone would think having a DS child is a burden.... I couldn't think of a bigger blessing; and they are actually the complete opposite of being a burden. I am so glad you posted this to remind us how every life is precious.

Tom and April said...

How sad @ ANONYMOUS that you have not had the opportunity to have the joy and feel the joy of being around one of these precious lives, and that because of your preferred Choices you are missing out on so much. You will never feel the joy of a child that brings so much happiness to others. And if you knew the Brownings at all, you would know they do nothing but love others and you would know how very wrong you are about calling them self righteous. Wow, I hope you never know the pain of suffering an accident or a paralysis that would make you a "burden to society" for then this might be our worlds next step to dispose of anything or anyone who might need a little extra love to help along. You see God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the womb. We are a person he formed in the womb. Just as you and I were. God perhaps formed little ones that have some differences to teach us something...maybe how to stop and love a little more and judge a little less. So if you get anything from this I think you are the one judging my friend - all this family is doing is trying to show the abundant love a beautiful life (actually 3 beautiful lives) has brought into their family and how their love has multiplied! I can speak from experience, as my family has witnessed this first hand and have been shown love by this family. These little ones who you are saying are a burden to society bring me and many others much joy on a consistent weekly basis.

The Browning Family said...

Dear Anonymous:
I published your post because I think it is important for others to see the societal thinking that your comment manifests.
First: Let me remind you that you visited MY blog. This blog is expressly written from a Christian perspective - and in that strives to honor Christ in both opinion expressed and principles. So ... you will continually see the advocacy of LIFE - as Christ was a proponent of life.
Second: I don't assume that everyone who visits this blog is pro Down syndrome, or seeking to be blessed in their own family with those who may have Ds. However, I will absolutely go "toe to toe" with you if you try and insinuate that anyone with Ds is a burden of any kind - as your comment so blatantly stated. You may not agree with me in my opinion regarding the blessing of Down syndrome - but to express such an opinion on this blog, was a bit over reaching as I am sure that you can see this blog is very much about Ds - hence the name: An EXTRA Leaf.
Third: It is my sincere hope that you might come to realize that ALL life is precious. Yours, mine, and yes ... even those who may be deemed a burden by society. All life bears the respect of defense. Especially lives that may not be able to voice their own defense. As was stated in a comment prior to mine, what would happen if all of a sudden YOU became unable to some how attribute to your community? If somehow you became a "burden" to your family?

Just food for thought.

I look forward to a response from you. Keeping in mind, that I control those publishing, and deleting of comments. I don't mind opinions expressed, but I would caution you to keep it kind, and respectful of my children as well.

Anonymous said...

I was just being nice in my comment above... you dont want to hear what I really have to say to this Anonymous, because its not very Christian like at all. April very well put in your comment:) Wish this Anonymous would have the guts to say who they are, but I understand... I would be embarrassed too; if i spoke such ugly words.


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