A father’s reflections on his son’s Down Syndrome

At the Washington Post, George Will has a moving column about his son Jon, who has Down Syndrome and who turns 40 tomorrow. Will notes that when Jon was born in 1972, the life expectancy for someone with Down Syndrome was about 20 years. Today, it is 60. “Much has improved,” writes Will. “There has, however, been moral regression as well.”

Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe v. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of pre-born babies.

This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.

Will also mentions something he says has enhanced Jon’s life: the Washington Nationals.

He navigates the subway expertly, riding it to the Nationals ballpark, where he enters the clubhouse a few hours before game time and does a chore or two. The players, who have climbed to the pinnacle of a steep athletic pyramid, know that although hard work got them there, they have extraordinary aptitudes because they are winners of life’s lottery. Major leaguers, all of whom understand what it is to be gifted, have been uniformly and extraordinarily welcoming to Jon, who is not.

Except he is, in a way.

Read the entire article. Here.


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About Catherine Harmon 574 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.