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Vatican stages UN event to protest ‘genocide’ against Down Syndrome

White lauded the fact that in the past 15 years there have been numerous scientific advances to better understand the condition and to improve the lives of those with Downs, including clinical trials.

“Instead of skepticism, there is now every reason to be optimistic that biomedical research will yield findings that will positively impact the well-being of those with Down syndrome as well as offer important new insights into Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other conditions of concern to the larger population,” White maintained.

O’Callaghan offered a sweeping overview of European abortion rates following a prenatal diagnosis of Down. She cited the words of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, the French scientist who discovered that Down syndrome was caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21: “Medicine becomes mad science when it attacks the patient instead of fighting the disease.”

Holmgren, 23, offered a deeply personal testimonial of pursuing her passion for dance, attending the same school where her parents went to college, and eventually competing in Miss Minnesota USA, where she became the first woman with Down syndrome ever to participate in a state Miss USA competition.

“I did not win the crown, but I won so much more,” said Holmgren.

“There are countries that would like to get rid of people like me,” she continued. “What would this world be like without the bright lights that shine through those with Down syndrome?”

The first World Down Syndrome Day was observed at the United Nations in 2012, and, on that occasion, then-Secretary Ban Ki Moon declared, “Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down Syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all.”

Citing those words, Auza told the delegates in attendance that a “truly inclusive society is what this event seeks to promote,” adding that Pope Francis has said that “to the extent that one is accepted and loved, included in the community and supported in looking to the future with confidence, the true path of life evolves and one experiences enduring happiness.”

Reflecting on the firsthand testimonials offered, Auza concluded that individuals with Down syndrome “do live happy lives – and contagiously spread their joy to the world.”

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