“Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion”

Without getting into a debate on abortion in general, there are still many reasons this CBS headline makes me furious.

1). Take that headline and replace the words Down syndrome with women…or jews…fat people….short people…or pretty much any minority group. It would NEVER happen. The country would go nuts (as they should). So why is it ok for Down syndrome? This isn’t Iceland where one or two people per year are born with Down syndrome. This is the USA where there are approximately 6,000 people with Down syndrome born per year. That means there are lots of Americans whose lives are touched by Down syndrome. Know your audience CBS. All I can think is that they either don’t care or that they didn’t give the Down syndrome community enough credit to even think they might be offended by the story. Either way CBS should be ashamed of using such an offensive headline.

2). Isn’t this the age of tolerance and acceptance? There sure is lots of talk about it recently. Why is it that the treatment of people with disabilities usually isn’t even considered in the discussion of tolerance. Trump proposed a wall to close the U.S. borders and put a travel ban into place to keep certain foreign groups out of the country. People on both sides of the issue flipped out. There were protests and anti-protest protests. Everybody had something to say about it. Regardless of your stance on immigration, I’d like to point out that this news story is an example of the pretty open and socially accepted discussion on how a country is trying to keep people with Down syndrome out. These are not travelers or immigrants, these are babies who would be citizens. We’re not talking about not allowing people into a country. We’re talking about not even allowing any of them to be born. The wording CBS used in the title of the story gives it a positive tone. This is not a medical breakthrough. They haven’t developed some sort of vaccine or advancement in modern medicine. Polio was eradicated. This is not eradicating anything. Where is the outrage? How come generalizing & discriminating against entire populations of people by building border walls, imposing travel bans and passing bathroom bills is considered hate & bigotry but “eradicating” people with Down syndrome is acceptable?

3). I’m pro-life but I understand that abortion is a legal option for women. Whether I agree with it or not, I’m sure it’s a pretty excruciating choice to have to make. The women in Iceland may think it is their choice. However, the story says almost 100% of women in Iceland who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome terminate the pregnancy. That doesn’t sound like a choice to me. They’re being influenced somehow whether they know it or not. It could be doctors or social pressure or something else. I don't know. Judging by the story, the doctors in Iceland don’t seem to really understand Down syndrome. They obviously aren’t around anyone with Down syndrome because their views about it are outdated and inaccurate. I don’t personally agree with abortion. However, I do understand that not everyone feels capable of caring for a child with special needs. Isn’t it highly suspect that NOBODY in Iceland with a prenatal diagnosis feels up to the challenge? Really…or has our world just decided that we can only accept genetic “perfection”? Good luck with that. I’d be willing to bet there are millions of genetically “perfect” people in this world that are a bigger drain on society than our Landree could ever be.

I’m angry with CBS for appearing to approve or almost give kudos at the thought of eliminating all children like Landree, who is such a blessing for our family. I’m also angry at the doctors for not providing these women with accurate information. I think that’s why it’s so important to educate people; show them the reality of what Down syndrome is. It isn’t sad. They aren’t locked up in institutions. They aren’t helpless. Their quality of life can be great. I just don’t believe that 100% of the babies diagnosed with Down syndrome would be aborted if people really understood. Education should be a goal that both sides of the abortion debate can agree on. For those that believe in choice, who would want to have to make that choice with information that isn’t reliable? My guess would be nobody.
Today is Landree's birthday & we feel SO blessed! She makes our family complete. We love her beyond words & honestly wouldn't change a thing about her! She's not the little girl we imagined before she was born. We thank God everyday that His plan was so much better than anything we had planned for ourselves. Happy birthday baby girl! I hope anyone who would question a person with Down syndrome's quality of life will check out this video of what Landree's been up to this last year. Down syndrome is just a part of the fabulous little girl she is! It certainly hasn't slowed her down & she hasn't missed a thing!

Several people have asked for a Landree update. I finally have a chance to write one! I survived another April 15th! Yay!!

Landree is doing great. And yes…she is definitely talking. She says lots of words we do understand & also jabbers lots of words we don’t understand. Some words are crystal clear & others I have no idea. She knows exactly what she’s saying though. When she tries to tell us something we don’t understand, it may sound like jibber jabber to us, but she repeats that same jibber jabber. They’re words to her. She calls me mommy when she’s being sweet & mom when she wants something but “Deborah” when she’s being a toot. I’m working on that one. It’s hard to keep from laughing sometimes when she does that but I know I have to. She’s pretty well on track with “typical” kids her age when it comes to understanding language. She understands EVERYTHING & will follow directions. She’s a little delayed when it comes to expressive language. She can understand a lot more than she can say.
Landree still goes to therapeutic horse riding lessons once a week. She loves it & rode in the Special Olympics a couple weeks ago. We’re working on her verbal commands for the horse. She nodded to the judge just like she was supposed to & did give a verbal command to the horse to walk. I’m not exactly sure what the word she said was but she did say something. She also told the horse “whoa” with a little help from us. She makes the “shh” noise to back her horse up when we practice at home but she hasn’t actually said it in the arena yet. We’ve been practicing though!
She turns three in August and will age out of the Early Childhood Intervention Program. I can’t believe it’s already been three years! We met with the principal & superintendent at the school where Landree’s big brother goes. I know it’s early to be thinking about her starting school but we had to get that part settled before we can take the next step. She needs to be tested to see what direction to take after she ages out of ECI. She got accepted and we’re proud to say Landree is a future panther just like her brother & cousins!! That’s all we know for now until she’s tested sometime in May.
Our girl is still a big fan of music. We play her favorite songs & she sings & dances around the living room. She even moves her head around to show emotion when she hits the really big notes! The bigger the audience the more she "performs"! Right now her favorite songs are “Let it Go” from frozen, “Four, Five Seconds”, “Midnight Rider”, “Uptown Funk” (I know…that song just ruined my chances at parent of the year I’m sure.) and her newest favorite is “Redneck Girl.” Before you decide we’re terrible parents I have to tell you she also loves Randy Travis Gospel! She has a wide range in her taste in music. She also has learned to blow into her harmonica & actually get it to make a noise. That took her a little while to master but now she plays like a champ. That’s one of the beauties of going to cowboy church. Every Sunday she carries her purse, which always has the essentials.....a horse and a harmonica!

Latest comments

11.06 | 00:13

This is looking great. Thanks for sharing with us. I appreciate it.


14.02 | 21:00

i go to Church with her Landree at Open Range Cowboy church in whitney texas and she is the Sweetest Little girl ever i love talking to Her

06.08 | 15:30

I have been following your page on Facebook and every single time I see Landree I think I fall more in love with her. You have a beautiful family.

20.05 | 15:06

Shes so cute