Oct 222015 14 Responses

Questions for Bernie Sanders About Down Syndrome

When Americans listen to politicians in the middle of a campaign, we often have one primary question, “How would your ideas impact my family?” It’s a common sense question which helps the average citizen make an informed choice during an election. It shouldn’t be the only question, but it is a good question.

How would the philosophies of Bernie Sanders impact my family?

As candidate for the democratic nomination for President, Sanders has burst on the scene with wild popularity. He is fundraising faster than President Obama 8 years ago. He is shocking political pundits by polling well against the established front-runner. He is doing these things while rejecting the most lucrative forms of political power (Super PACs) and energizing young people with new ideas.

Sanders is proud to say he rejects our economic system of capitalism and instead desires democratic socialism. Knowing the American people are greatly uninformed about democratic socialism, Sanders often points to Denmark as a shinning example of what the American system could be. (See: Children, Disability, and Abortion)

In looking at Denmark and my family, I have a question for Mr. Sanders:

“Do you believe the birth of my daughter is a failure of American capitalism?” 

The night my daughter was born ten years ago, our pediatrician came into the room and told us she had all the signs of Down syndrome. A few weeks later, the diagnosis was confirmed. For the past decade we have felt both the joys and sorrows of raising a child with special needs. (For more of the story of Ella’s birth, click here.)

Over the past few months, I have listened to Bernie Sanders and his call to restructure the American system. Many of the issues which concern him–wage inequality, the percentage of people in prison, our aging infrastructure–also concern me. Yet because I’m unfamiliar with democratic socialism, I’m taking Sanders advice and paying attention to Denmark.

This week a headline from a Denmark newspaper caught my eye: Down Syndrome Heading for Extinction in Denmark. With an aggressive push toward prenatal screening and a 98% termination rate of pregnancies diagnosed with Down syndrome, Denmark may soon be the first country without individuals who have Down syndrome. This development will not be the result of a cure, but will be the result of the intentional elimination of anyone with an extra chromosome. (See: How Many Chromosomes Will We Have in Heaven?)

“Is it causation or correlation regarding the relationship between Denmark’s economic system and what is happening to the Down syndrome community?” 

It could be that the two are totally unrelated. It was a sunny day on 9/11, yet the cloudless sky didn’t cause the twin towers to fall. It’s possible it’s just a coincidence that the country Bernie Sanders points to as an example of democratic socialism also has this horrible track record regarding the special needs community. But I doubt it.

My fear is that there is a direct link between democratic socialism and the elimination of those with special needs. The fact that many Danes consider it a positive development that fewer children with Down Syndrome are being born reveals an underlying belief system. (See: Beliefs Have Consequences)

Is the dark side of democratic socialism an apathy toward those who are different? Does social ownership devalue the dignity of those who seem to contribute less to the common good? If a government can successfully target the elimination of one class of people, who will they target next?

I quickly acknowledge my ignorance regarding democratic socialism. I admit a skepticism toward it. Yet Bernie Sanders challenged the American people to consider a different way so I honored his request. But I quickly found something that is appalling and it is something for which he needs to give an answer.

“Does Bernie Sanders believe it is in our best interest to eliminate babies diagnosed with Down syndrome?” 

I respect Bernie Sanders, his passion, honesty, and seriousness he is bringing to his campaign. These questions aren’t gotcha questions, but are serious reflections on something in the news regarding Denmark. I would love to hear his answers.

While he is raising a good amount of money, I think there are better avenues for people to send their financial support in order to make a difference in our country. One way, is to financially support those who are actually helping the Down syndrome community. If you want to make a positive contribution to people like my daughter, see the Down Syndrome Guild of Kansas City.

14 Responses to Questions for Bernie Sanders About Down Syndrome
  1. Barbara Mamal Reply

    I think that God would be appalled. I’m in South Africa, so I don’t know much (anything…:-) ) about either American or Danish politics, but I do know that God loves each and every one of us. Whether you’re “normal” or special needs, or have other issues. We are the reason that God came down to earth through His son – to save us. All of us. So, I can’t say where you need to send your money to, or what system needs to implemented in the states (or here), but I do know we need to pass a little more love around! Not our love, but God’s love. Your daughter (and the countless others like her) are so precious to God, that I think He would be (is) heartbroken at anyone aborting a precious, precious child of His.

  2. Jay Casey Reply

    Instead of wild speculation trying to connect two correlations (democratic socialism and terminating babies with Down Syndrome) why don’t you do a little more research to see if there is causation? I think it is very far fetched to assert this connection. It makes as much sense as asserting that the observance of Thanksgiving causes a high rate of gun violence in the US. The liberal Danes are generally very accepting of “others” so I see no likely connection.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Jay, I did some research and I know Sanders is pro-choice, but I want more information regarding his views of Down syndrome. This post is research because it is asking fair questions which I would like him to answer. The irony of “the liberal Danes are generally very accepting of ‘others’ so I see no likely connection” ignores the fact that they are bragging about being the first country which might not have anyone with Down syndrome.

  3. Queen of the World Reply

    This concept of killing down’s kids is frightening, and can seem surreal until you are faced with a doctor who says “You might want to think about withholding antibiotics the next time your child gets pneumonia” or something similar. To face that question and realize there are people who will do the deed to end a life is shocking. I have never forgotten it – where I was and what the doctor looked like.

  4. kathy Reply

    There is no connection between democratic socialism and termination of babies with down syndrome. You are forcing the issue. Understandably, the thought of killing these children is revolting. However, connecting these two is like connecting the US Supreme Court ruling on gay marriages to American capitalism. No correlation whatsoever.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Kathy, I’m not forcing the issue, I’m asking questions. I simply want Sanders to answer regarding his views. You claim there is no correlation, but there is clearly a correlation. My question is asking if there is causation. I don’t now, but I would like Sanders to tell me his view.

  5. Liv Reply

    I think he wants to give every woman an oppertunity to make an informed choice.Correct me if I’m wrong (I don’t live in the States) but it’s my understanding that not all of the pregnant women of america are required or have the means to afford all the diffrent tests you can do to have the knowladge about the health of the fetus. What Sanders probably means and what the danish article talks about is the fact that due to healthcare systems being affordable and avliable to all Danish women, we are able to make a choise to abort a down syndrom baby if we feel we are unable to care for that child properly. Nobody kills children or adults with down syndrom. In fact , we have a lot of facileties and subsadations and day cares to families with special needs children (all at afordable prices for everyone). If you come to the doctor and the result show your unborn baby has down syndrom it will be your desicion to keep it ,out of choice and not cercumstances.

  6. Liv Reply

    To add: you have found out that your daugther has down syndrom the night she was born. Women here have to do a test around 11-12 weeks of pregnancy. The test is avalible for everyone and it doesn’t cost . every citizen that pays his taxes can do it. I have just googled it and it’s called (chorionic villus sampling) CVS and it costs for americans 1400$-2000$. I’m scratching my head trying to understand why you wouldn’t want to have democratic socialism.

    May god give you strength and patience to take care of your daughter.

  7. Kimberly Reply

    This is just ignorant. Of course Bernie Sanders doesn’t think that fetuses with Ds should be terminated. You’re reading far too much intit, and it’s insulting as both a Bernie supporter and a person with a chromosomal genetic condition.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Kimberly, Can you link to where he has clearly spoken out about this and condemned socialist countries for this practice?

  8. Teresa Reply

    So it’s 2 years later, and I hope the people who think there is no correlation have done their research. The U.K. has socialized medicine, and is rolling out the non-invasive pre-natal test for “at-risk” women to detect Down syndrome, so women can make an “informed choice,” as they like to describe it. Yet the Royal College of Gyaenocologists and Obstetricians released a statement that they should consider giving it to ALL women, and consider the “cost-effectiveness” of paying for these tests versus the cost of raising a child with Down syndrome. In other words, it’s cheaper to pay for these tests and abort the children before they are born.
    Countries with socialist-leaning governments have the highest rates of abortion in prenatal diagnoses of Ds- Iceland and Denmark are near 100%. Actually, most European countries have near 100%.

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  10. Richard Tinder Reply

    I have no respect for Bernie Sanders with regards to his “democratic socialism” the proof for his social utopian form of government is just not their there. He is a ungrateful old man spewing hatred toward an economic system that has made him a wealthy man. Remember this, with you consider voting for his demonic political ideology, “you knew he was a snake before you voted for him, he’ll remain a snake if elected”! Lord forbid. For no other reason than what you mentioned. Our way of life and economic system may have flaws and I have my beliefs why, but it’s the best in the world where we live.

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