Down syndrome does not justify abortion.

The most despicable thing in the world is for a woman to have an abortion because the child will be born with down syndrome. When a woman gets pregnant, planned or unplanned, and decides to “keep the baby,” their initial sense of excitement seems to all go down the drain the minute they find out their baby will be a little different.

Personally, I don’t understand this. I think it goes to show that these women are incapable of fully loving a person because they deem this child “not normal” and, sometimes, even a burden.

One of the main reasons that I will continue to be the voice for the voiceless and will never waver from my beliefs is because of one person. And his name is Athen.

My cousin had Athen a little over two years ago. A little bundle of sweet joy. I remember getting a call at 2:00 AM from another cousin, telling me that she was in labor weeks before her due date. I jumped out of bed, panicking, and rushed over to the hospital. But baby Athen made his way into this world, and it was only then did the doctors discover he had developed an extra chromosome.

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He was diagnosed at birth with down syndrome and at first I was beyond scared of all the things that may come with his diagnosis. I had no knowledge of what down syndrome really was other than the physical features… [but] I wouldn’t trade my son for anything in this world

The doctors detected nothing while my cousin was still pregnant, and nothing about her pregnancy was out of the ordinary. But Athen just so happened to be born with down syndrome.

Studies consistently show that 90%-92% of women will have an abortion following a diagnosis of DS. My cousin was not one of those. You could say it was because she had no idea her baby would be born with down syndrome. But I think it’s because she just knew that she was meant to keep him. He is a blessing.

One thing I would tell any parent dealing with a child with a disability is don’t ever give up on your child. Dedicate as much time as you possibly can to help them be the best they can be, show them they can do anything they work hard for and most of all love them unconditionally because they are truly a blessing.

Although I only get to see Athen every few months, as I go to college in a different state, it has been amazing to watch him grow and develop his own unique personality. I can’t imagine what each of our lives would be like without him, nor do I want to. He keeps things exciting, even when he unexpectedly unrolls the toilet paper at night.

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