WILL WE SAVE CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME?
The Seym has just received a civilian project of an Act from which eugenic abortion was excluded. For, in Poland over 600 such 'surgeries' are done every year. The death verdict mostly concerns children in whom a genetic defect is suspected to exist
5-year-old Wojtuś Godek is a frisky boy from Bielany in Warsaw. Similarly as children at his age, he likes going for walks and cuddling his parents. - Although he requires more care than healthy children, his love makes up for this effort says Kaja Godek, mother of Wojtek with Down syndrome to 'Niedziela'. - I cannot imagine life without him.
Wojtek has not only been a happy child for a few months, but also an older brother. His sister Róża was born. She is completely healthy. - When he saw his sister at home the first time, he could not sleep at night. He came up to her cot from time to time to check whether nothing bad had happened to her - the mum of the two toddlers says.
Indeed Wojtuś is a direct, cheerful and very warm-hearted boy. It is seen that he is happy and can infect others with happiness. Every now and then he brings a toy, shows his garden where he plays, and when I was leaving, he cuddled me for goodbye in a friendly way. Among children at his age, he is distinguished by directness, trustfulness and a bit weak health.
- I will not say that bringing up such a child is an idyll. After all, everybody would like to have healthy children. However, accepting a child with the Down syndrome does not destroy the family life - says Godek. - But in contrary. We are really happy and I cannot imagine that somebody could take away this happiness from us.
Five years later
Let's go back to the past by five years, when some people were encouraging us to get rid of Wojtek. - I was a happy mum with a baby under my heart. However, a spell broke during the ultrasound examination, and later pre-natal examination - Kaja mentions. A worried doctor changed his way of speaking at once - he stopped speaking about the baby, but started to define Wojtek with the term: 'a fetus with Down syndrome'. It was not my baby any more, but a kind of illness syndrome, with which 'something can be done' - says mum.
This 'something done' does not mean to treat at all, but simply kill. - Doctors are taught a kind of terminology. They do not speak about an ill child but a fetus. They do not even speak about abortion, but about 'termination of a fetus'. They suggest a mother that she should decide to do it, otherwise she will give birth to not a baby, but something with Down syndrome - Kaja explains.
The Godek family did not want to hear about any decision. The matter was simple. - If we have an ill child, we must help him, not kill him - they explain. However, it is often so, that a family has a few days to make a decision. Pressure of time, nervousness and fear are not good advisors. Parents even have an unfair sense of fault. They feel completely as if the birth of a non-ideal baby was something bad. - The binding law, especially work of many doctors show that a woman should get rid of 'this problem' - says Aleksandra Musiał from 'PRO-Right to Life' Foundation to 'Niedziela', who prepared a project of the civilian Act forbidding killing ill children.
Wojtuś is lucky, because he has mum and dad who love him from the moment of conception, who would never allow for hurting him. However, if he had less resistant parents, his fate might have been completely different. According to the latest data, in Poland even 620 of the so-called eugenic abortions are done every year. Their victims are mostly children suspected of the Down syndrome, that is, like frisky and smiling Wojtuś.
'Termination' of Down syndrome
The 'surgery' is done without anesthesia of a baby, because a 'fetus' does not feel anything. In abortion clinic in USA, in a surgery of a gynecologist Kermit Gosnell babies were found with holes in their necks, as well as baby feet in plastic containers or babies in fridges. And what are procedures in Poland?
Prof. Mirosław Wielgoś from Warsaw Clinical Hospital of Jesus Baby shows that babies to 22nd week of pregnancy are killed here. It states that they are not born alive, although it has a lot of procedures in case it happened so - among the others, placing a baby in an incubator. At that time doctors are waiting till a baby dies. 'In a hospital a procedure of cancellation of resuscitation obliges in case of pregnancy termination, on medical grounds, whereas in case of a potentially alive miscarriage, a procedure of placing a fetus in an incubator obliges' - we read in an official document to the Foundation, which was signed by Prof. Wielgoś.
- We sent another letter with a question about the details of this procedure. Is it based on waiting till a baby dies from hunger, thirst? - says Aleksandra Musiał.
Norwegian and Danish statistics say that every 6th child experiences abortion. Whereas Prof. Wielgoś says that in his clinic alive children are not born. - For example, in USA, first the umbilical cord of a baby is clamped in mother's womb, in order to cut the flow of air. Later doctors are waiting till it gets suffocated and the baby is born dead. What do they do in hospital wards in Poland?
Doctors without conscience
There are tens of such hospitals in Poland where eugenic abortions are done. - Abortions are done in a Clinical Hospital of the University in Białystok and in a gynecological ward of a provincial hospital. Therefore, we are planning pickets against murdering children in our city - says Krzysztof Chańko to 'Niedziela', who is responsible for the cell of Białystok Foundation 'PRO-Right to Life'. In the recent years, it has been loud about two Warsaw medical premises where ill babies are killed. It would not be so shocking if it was not for the patrons of these hospitals. In the first case - this is Baby Jesus, and the second hospital in Bielany is patronized by blessed priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, a martyr, who was a pioneer of the Spiritual Adoption of a Conceived Baby and a priest of health service. - And now the Head doctor from Bielany is glad that in the gynecological ward none of doctors signed a clause of conscience - says Kaja Godek. - And how can a chief be proud of the fact that his subordinates do not have conscience? As a result of this macabre practice, a number of eugenic abortions is growing all the time. In 2011, even 620 such 'surgeries' were done, while in 2002 there were 82 of them.
It turns out that the biggest danger for human life in its initial phase is a prenatal examination, and especially suggestions of 'doctors' that something 'should be done with an ill fetus'. - I would not like to measure all doctors in the same way. When Wojtek was under my heart, I also met with friendliness and understanding. However, it was not very often - says Kaja Godek.
A rotten compromise
The present Act, which is often called 'an abortion compromise' is more and more dangerous. Every year, a number of its victims grows. - I have always said that it is a rotten compromise. After all, it is impossible to say that within a compromise we allow for murdering 600 children every year - says Mariusz Dzierżanowski, the chairman of the Foundation 'PRO -Right to Life'.
His foundation is the most developing pro-life centre in the country at present. It has more and more supporters and branches in many cities. - People do not know that in Poland babies are killed, for example, with Down syndrome in the majesty of law. What is more, we pay for these 'surgeries' by our taxes and health premiums - says Krzysztof Chańko. Therefore, volunteers from the foundation organize anti-abortion exhibitions, participate in marches and pickets. And, by collecting signatures again, they proved that Poles became mature in order to amend law which allows for killing ill babies. - We know that doctors are often harassed and discriminated at work, for their opinions and moral attitudes. They are persuaded to participate in killing - Kaja Godek emphasizes, who is an agent of the Committee of Legislative Initiative 'Stop abortion'. - Not only do we defend unborn babies, but we also stand on the side of doctors and medical personnel. We defend their freedom and their consciences.
An appeal to parliamentarians
In the light of the binding law 'About planning family, protection of the human fetus and conditions allowing for abortion' a baby can be killed when 'medical examinations show high probability of a hard irreversible defect of a fetus or an incurable illness endangering its life'. And just this regulation was removed by initiators of the civilian Act which got to the Seym of the Polish Republic.
The victims of the previous regulation are first of all children with Down syndrome, because this is a defect which can be easily detected during ultrasound examination. Although Health Ministry does not publish detailed data, it is estimated that more than every second child with Down syndrome are killed, before they are born. The scale of this phenomenon can be concluded indirectly from demographic data. For example, in the province of Pomerania, in 2003, 9.82 babies with Down syndrome were born per 10 thousand births. In 2005, the number of births of babies with Down syndrome fell to 4.24. However, at that time, the general number of eugenic abortions in Poland was much lower than it is at present (in 2005 - 168, and in 2011 - 620). Therefore, we should think that this decline in births is even higher today.
Pro-life activists call eugenic abortion a 'holocaust' in white gloves. In Spain even 96 percent of babies with Down syndrome are killed before their births. In USA, Germany, Belgium and Holland, less than every 10 child has a chance to survive the prenatal period. Abortion of ill babies became one of medical recommendations of the so-called civilisational countries. However, when such a baby - through an oversight of a doctor - will be born, in many countries the baby is left uncared, to make him/her die from hunger or exhaustion.
- We do not want to have this kind of 'civilisation' in Poland - says Krzysztof Chańko. Similarly as him, thousands of volunteers collected tens thousands of signatures under the project of a new Act. After submitting 400 thousand signatures to the application office of the Seym, parliamentarians have 90 days to undertake works on the project. Now there is only a question addressed to Polish Parliamentarians: will they express their attitude for the civilization of life or death?
- I suggest that we should write letters, e-mails and phone each parliamentarian. We must touch their consciences - Kaja Godek encourages. A modest smile on the face of Wojtuś can prove that the boy with DOWN syndrome fully supports the efforts of his mum.