Inspiration from Alaska

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recently gave birth to her fifth child, Trig Paxson Van Palin.  Trig has Down syndrome which means that he has an extra chromosome and his physical and intellectual developments will be negatively affected because of it.  “When we first heard, it was kind of confusing,” Palin, said. She said it was “very, very challenging” coming to grips with the news.  However, the Governor and her family have acclimated and feel extremely blessed to have Trig in their life.  According to Gov. Palin, “he’s absolutely perfect.”  “Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world […] Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome,” Palin wrote in a letter to friends and family. 


Unfortunately, not every mother who discovers her child will be born with Down syndrome has the same opinion as Gov. Palin.  Kansas Senator Sam Brownback presented this information in a speech on the Senate floor, April 24, 2008, “We need to know that today there is a real tragedy on a massive scale going on in the country of genetic discrimination. We know that, today, 90 percent of the women who are pregnant with Down syndrome children, once they get that genetic designation of the child, the child will not be allowed to live–90 percent is the level that is taking place there, of that genetic information and its use. The numbers are similarly high for prenatally diagnosed children with spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, and dwarfism. It has all been well documented by the American Journal of Medical Genetics and the journal Prenatal Diagnosis. So we have an increase in genetic testing, up to 120 different tests, and then a number of these children in this situation not being allowed to live.” believes that every life has value and that value is NOT determined by genetic composition.  People who develop disabilities late in life are not devalued as a human being, so why would a child who develops a disability very early in life (even before birth!) be devalued as a human being?  Life at every stage is worth protecting—even if that life has an extra chromosome!