This past January, I had the privilege of performing the funeral of a woman who was deeply loved and cherished by her family. What is remarkable about this woman was the fact that only 8% of her type are born. The rest are terminated in the womb.
This sweet woman was born with Down syndrome; the doctors predicted that she would never walk or talk. But not only did she learn to walk, but when Santa brought her an Evil Knieval bike, she learned to ride and could even pop wheelies.
Of course, you can’t talk about this remarkable woman without mentioning her love of Elvis Pressly and her favorite song “Blueberry Hill”. One of her family’s best memories is of her sisters taking her to Memphis to visit Elvis’s home in Graceland, where she prayed a sweet prayer over Elvis’s grace and overcame her fear of climbing stairs by climbing up to see Elvis’ plane, the Lisa Marie.
Everyone loved this sweet woman and she loved everyone else.
The NY Post reports, and is verified here, that “92%of mothers who get a definitive diagnosis of Down syndrome in the womb choose to terminate.” The same article relates the development of a refined test for pregnancies that will allow for a more accurate diagnosis of Down’s.
What is astonishing is that the refined testing is championed as a cure for Down syndrome. The cure of Down’s is the elimination, via abortion, of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Abortion is not a cure.
Gabe Lyon wrote a passionate tale of life with his son, “To Cade and the Eight Percent“. Lyon writes, “It’s no secret. People with Down syndrome have been targeted for extinction.” Abortion is not a cure for Down’s; aborting all those diagnosed with Down syndrome is eugenics.
All people are made in the image of God.
Genesis 1:26-27 introduces the idea that all people are made in God’s image, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…’So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Further biblical accounts of the image of God can be found in Genesis 5:1, Genesis 9:6, 1 Corinthians 11:7 and in Colossians 3:10).
David J.A. Clines offers a helpful definition for the image of God, “humans are in some way and in some degree like God. Even if the similarity between humanity and God could not be defined more precisely, the significance of this statement of the nature of humankind for the understanding of biblical thought could not be over-emphasized. Humankind is the one godlike creature in the created order.”
It may be odd to think that someone with Down’s is created in God’s image. However, every person, big or small, great or anonymous, tall or short, skinny or fat, proud or humble, is made in the image of God. Whether one is whole, or filled with holes, he or she is made in the image of God.
There is also a sense that not only are individuals made in God’s image, but that we best understand humanity as created in God’s image as an accumulation of the human race. In other words, that no one person carries the complete image of God. If this is true, the extinction of a group of people, such as those with Down’s, robs our cultures of a complete picture of God’s image.
Many chose to abort due to fear as Gabe Lyon shares his own fears: “Fear of the unknown. Fear that life will never look the same. Fear that they won’t have what it takes day to day. Fear that they themselves, won’t be accepted.”
At the funeral of the woman with Down’s, the family didn’t breath a sigh of relief, as though an ordeal had finally ended. Instead, her family’s grief was palpable.
Our grief at the extermination of a group of people should be just as palpable.
 David J.A. Clines, “Humanity as the Image of God,” On the Way to the Postmodern: Old Testament Essays, 1967-1998, vol. 2 (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 293; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), http://www.academia.edu/2458031/Humanity_as_the_Image_of_God (accessed July 29, 2013).