A welcome pro-life testimony

A welcome pro-life testimony

Consider the following testimony about why this person is pro-life: (Don’t go to the web site at the link yet. Read the story first.)

I am pro-life. I have been advised on how to answer this question - say this, don’t say that. I have EVEN been advised to change my position. I can’t. I thought maybe I should speak about the nuances of Roe v. Wade, but the reasons for my position are not that complicated.

In grad school I listened to a student deliver a presentation on how to remove Down Syndrome from the gene pool through selective abortion. I listened attentively. When he was finished, I stood up and told the following story:

I grew up on Love Lane in Kittery, Maine. That’s right, LOVE Lane. I was the youngest of seven children. At times you would have thought there was an 8th Scontras. His name was Billy. Billy Wurm was our neighbor. He graced our lives for more than 50 years. Billy had Down Syndrome. Sometimes Ya-ya, my Greek grandmother, would come stay with us. She spoke NO English, and she didn’t like to go to the beach with us. She would stay home by herself - quite content. She would walk about the yard, sit in the shade. I will never forget one particular July day when we returned home to find Billy and Ya-ya hand in hand, walking peacefully around the yard, talking to one another. Funny thing is, Billy couldn’t understand a word Ya-ya said, nor could Ya-ya understand Billy. Yet she had a wonderful look of peace and happiness on her face. Billy was also wearing his perpetual smile.

Years earlier when I was 3 or 4 years old, I stumbled and fell into our neighbor’s pool. No one was around. No one except for Billy Wurm, that is. I will never forget the image of Billy’s face coming toward me as I panicked in silence beneath the water’s surface. He scooped me up and placed me safely on the pool’s edge. I could tell you many more stories about Billy, each one suggesting some greater purpose to life. But they would all need to be considered in the context of that life-saving experience. Were it not for Billy, well…

Society hungers for perfection in our selves and our children, to a fault. As a parent, I see it. We want perfect children, perfect communities, free from pain and toil. It’s only human. My point to the speaker was this - I understand that sometimes a child may place a burden on society for any number of reasons. But they also bring with them unexpected grace, joy and the ability to touch other lives beyond measure. The most wonderful lessons in life often come from those who have had to overcome the greatest obstacles. Their lives seem to teach us the most about our own. Thankfully, our world is full of such stories… full of people like Billy Wurm.

To me, it is the human spirit that needs to be considered and protected. It reminds me of my favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” One living person has the ability to shape so many others. It’s dangerous territory when WE become the arbiters of life. I told my classmate that I thought his thesis was well written, but sadly mistaken. Without Billy there would have been a hole in my life, or perhaps a hole where my life had once been.

Billy also had something that each one of us long for - unbridled happiness, unconditional love of all things. As I concluded my observations that day in class, a young woman rose up behind me. “I wasn’t going to say anything,” she said, “but I’m glad Dean did.” She continued, “I have several children. The youngest has Down Syndrome. He is by far the happiest of the bunch!”

Okay, now you can go to the link. This was written by Dean Scontras, a Republican candidate for the seat in Maine’s 1st Congressional District. Amazing! I wish we had candidates like this to vote for in Massachusetts.

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  • A little bit off-topic, but, hey, it’s late at night and I could be fixing our broken faucet or cleaning the basement.

    Twenty seven years ago (I refuse to believe I’m that old) I was editor of our state’s right to life newsletter, which was published every two months.

    In those days there was a huge effort to oppose the effort by the March of Dimes to promote amniocentesis to wipe out kids with this condition in the womb.  So, I wrote lots and lots of articles in which I needed to mention this condition.

    The amazing thing to me is how the name of the condition is continually changing, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) figure out who decides these things.

    Over the years it’s been Downes Syndrome, Down’s Syndrome, then Downe’s Syndrome and now I see it called Down Syndrome. What’s the deal?

    There are also multiple spellings even in the mainstream press of the Koran, Al Queda, and has there ever been a concensus on the spelling of the dictator of Libya, Mohamar Khadafi, or is it Qaddafi, or Gadhafi?

  • Regarding the substance of the essay, I would say that we pro-lifers should make those points but also not at all shy away from the fact that not every child will necessarily reveal features that will allow us to recognize and value his/her humanity in those ways that the essay cites. And that the point is:

    Do you want to help build a world where people’s right to exist is increasingly contingent on their being valued by others, or do you want to help build a world where that right is considered intrinsic and inalieable and utterly non-contingent on their value to others?

    That, btw, is a great question to ask of progressives because it hits at the core of progressive principles, and reveals why abortion contradicts them.

  • Liam,

    I appreciate your comment. Though the story of the man’s reason for being pro-life is beautiful and you cannot deny the positive affect his neighbor’s life had on him, the value of a human life cannot depend on whehther or not they are happy, or make others happy. It must be intrinsic.

    I also think that prolifers miss the point with “Down’s Syndrome” (I believe that is what the disease was called by a Dr. Down before another doctor discovered the actual dignosis—trisomy 21, the replication of the 21st chromosome)…in other words, the problem with people wanting to eliminate DS from the world is that they want to eliminate the person who has it, not the disease (or “condition” if you like). There is, as far as I can tell, no money going into figuring out how to get rid of, or silence that extra chromosome so that people with trisomy 21 can live normal lives.

    I would love to see fewer children born with DS…but not because they are aborted, because they are cured!

    By the way, there are good, pro-life, people out there who will think it is absolutely wrong to look for a cure for DS, or to pray for healing from it. That is because they really believe that the label “Down’s Syndrome” tells you who the person is, not WHAT THEY HAVE.

  • Thanks for this, Dom.

    I hope he wins, but I think that the GOP is by and large utterly insincere in it’s ostensible pro-life platform.  If that weren’t the case, after all, then a Rudy Guiliani or Mitt Romney (and, no Mitt is NOT pro-life, but rather a caculating liar) candidacy would be dead on arrival, which is sadly not the case.  No, sorry to say, the GOP just wants the win, truth and honor and unborn kids’ lives by damned.

  • Thank you for posting this, and for all the comments.

    I have only one comment- regarding the authenticity of the GOP commitment to its own pro-life plank and Dean’s candidacy.

    Make no mistake about it – Dean is unwavering in his stance, and has not contrived it for political expediency.

    That being said, every contribution that we can muster will help ensure that the 1st District Congressional race in Maine not only has a pro-life candidate. It will ensure that we have a pro-life candidate who can win in the General Election.

    Donations can be made on line at http://www.teamdean08.com.

    Thank you, and God bless…

    Campaign Manager
    Scontras for Congress