A young man with Down syndrome delivered a powerful testimony Wednesday on Capitol Hill, and it was five words in particular that perfectly summarized his moving message.
“My life is worth living,” Frank Stephens, an advocate at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, told the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Committee on Appropriations.
Stephens’s speech before Congress came not long after CBS News published an article suggesting Iceland had all but eliminated Down syndrome. But the reality is the country hasn’t eliminated Down syndrome — it’s just aborted babies diagnosed with the developmental disorder.
According to the CBS story, roughly 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women in Iceland test for Down syndrome during their pregnancies and almost 100 percent of mothers who receive positive tests abort their babies.
The young advocate shared details about the world’s approach toward Down syndrome, telling lawmakers, “I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist.”
Stephens, hoping to thwart the number of Down syndrome-related abortions in the U.S., urged Congress to increase funding for medical research of Down syndrome. He noted such research could yield breakthroughs about “cancer, Alzheimer’s, and immune system disorders.”
“Help us make this difference,” he said. “Let’s be America, not Iceland or Denmark. Let’s pursue answers, not ‘final solutions.’ Let’s be America. Let’s make our goal to be Alzheimer’s free, not Down syndrome free.”
Earlier in his address, Stephens told legislators that pro-abortion advocates have a “deeply prejudiced” view of life with Down syndrome. He said he has a “great life,” joking, “I have been to the White House twice, and I didn’t have to jump the fence either time.”
“I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence,” Stephens continued, noting those who “question the value” of people with Down syndrome don’t understand “we are an unusually powerful source of happiness.”
In using abortion to eliminate Down syndrome, Stephens told Congress, “we are giving the world a chance to think about the ethics of choosing which humans get a chance at life.”
“Is there really no place for us in the world?” he asked.