If You're A Special Needs Mom, You March For Life Every Day, by Andi Sligh
My son was still a baby when the news broke that prenatal blood tests to detect Down syndrome were hitting the market (and yes, I do mean “the market” because these tests are big moneymakers for the companies who produce them). At the time, I expressed concern that the tests would lead to the abortion of even more babies with Down syndrome - the statistics were already scandalously high.
A decade on, not only was I proven right, but the New York Times recently reported that many people have chosen to abort their babies based on these blood tests (which are only supposed to be used for screening, not a diagnosis). Even more scandalous is the fact that these blood tests are more often than not wrong. In God’s eyes, though, it doesn’t matter if these babies were typical or not, because they all were created by Him - and destroyed because people were afraid of a different, and possibly difficult, life for their child and themselves.
I know that not everyone values my son with Down syndrome, and I won’t be able to change all minds. But I also know that throughout his life he has touched countless people who had never before spent time around someone with Down syndrome. He has an uncanny ability to recognize when other people - friends, casual acquaintances, and even strangers - need a hug. To be Nathan’s parent is to be told over and over again how his embrace made someone’s day or brought a smile to their face. He is a rebuke to utilitarian views of humanity and a testament to the value of every life.
My daughter with cerebral palsy is marching for life in different ways. Her disability is physical, yet she is an accomplished athlete - a national record-holder in adaptive swimming and the first female member of her college’s wheelchair tennis team. She is changing people’s perceptions of what it means to be a person with a disability, and she goes further when given the chance, sharing with people that not all that many years ago people like her were placed into institutions.
Our family has long supported pro-life causes. We donate to our local crisis pregnancy center, we’ve been to the March for Life in Washington, DC, and as Catholics we pray, of course. At times I feel like we should be doing more of the “typical” things that pro-life families do. But then I remember the pro-life opportunity that God gave our family.
Our daily walk is a March for Life.
Andi Sligh is a wife and mother of two children with disabilities and three dogs. She is a lifelong Alabamian, Dr. Pepper addict, Catholic convert, and former engineer who rediscovered a love of writing when she became a mom. You can find more of her writing at https://andisligh.com/