Down Syndrome. . . and the Value of Life



This is Gabriel. He has Down Syndrome.

Recent headlines have celebrated the fact that prenatal testing has advanced to the point that they can now more reliably test for Down Syndrome in the first trimester of pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with my last child, who is now two, my doctor asked me if I wanted the test for Down Syndrome, which wasn’t very reliable two years ago, but had to be done at the 11-week mark. Puzzled, I remarked that that was a little odd to have such a short window for a test like that. What was so special at 11 weeks, I asked.

My doctor, a wonderful pro-life physician, made a face at me, and waited for me to catch up.

Oh. Right.

The headlines about the newer, improved test made the issue clear: Down Syndrome Now Detectable In 1st Trimester: Earlier Diagnosis Allows More Time for Decisions, trumpeted the Washington Post.

“More Decisions” . . . like do babies like Gabriel live, or die.


Gabriel’s dad, Sam Ingersoll wants to get a message to the women, and men, who are confronting that decision today.

He’s been there.

He’s lived the anguish of discovering that a cherished child will be handicapped for life. But now, he’s living the joy . . . the joy of Gabriel’s life.

Sam has set up a website, Gabriel’s Angel Network, to reach out to parents newly confronted with a diagnosis that their baby has Down Syndrome. He says that every day, 14 babies are born with Down Syndrome. . . while 126 are aborted.

Sam’s answer is a simple one: watch a video about Gabriel’s life. Then decide.

Spread the word. The video is powerful. Take a minute to watch; tell a friend; and stop by Gabriel’s Angel Network to support Sam. (NOTE BELOW.)

And Gabriel. Who teaches us the intrinsic value of life.

* * *

Cross-posted from

PLEASE NOTE UPDATE: This post is an endorsement of the video, which is lovely — however, I am still doing due diligence on the fundraising associated with it and will provide information here when I know more.


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13 Responses

  1. Jane says:

    Thanks Charmaine, beautiful post.

  2. Sam says:

    Hiya! Thanks for spreading the word.

    I thought our story and photos were pretty nice but have been overwhelmed by the response during the first 24 hours of putting up the site. The piece seems to tap into both the pain and the joy of raising a kiddo with Down syndrome. Believe me, it’s the rest of us who’re retarded not them.

    Anyone who has questions can contact me via email or via cell phone at six one zero – nine eight four – four nine five seven.

    BTW, I read through your blogs and I really love your writing, cleverness and sense of humour.

    Sam (Gabriel’s Dad)

  3. Beth says:

    Ugh. I was asked if I wanted the tests done when I was pregnant, and I said NO. Hell no. There’s no way I would kill my own child because he or she was handicapped! :sigh: I just don’t understand how some women, who would otherwise be ecstatic over a pregnancy, could abort because of Down’s or another disability. 🙁

  4. MIchele Jones says:

    Thanks for the link Charmaine. Later in the article, the author notes the main benefit of earlier testing is that women do not have to “deal” with the idea of aborting at 20 weeks, when they have already felt the baby move. This is typical of the pro-abortion crowd: deny women information so they “chose” to abort.

    Unfortunately, physicians, even pro-life ones, must offer this test to women — otherwise, they face the possibility of a lawsuit if a child has Downs. Moreover, they are liable for any “damages” resulting from prenatal care until the child is 18.

  5. monica says:

    As far as I can tell, the money is primarily used to pay for the adds on google (and elsewhere, possibly?). What is different about this effort – again, as I understand it – is that there will be audio testimonies. There are a lot of us who share “stories”, but something about hearing the human voice can convey so authentically the “you’ll be okay” aspect of all this — in a way that simply reading stories just can’t do.

    Additionally, as far as I can tell, it is 100% life-affirming. I think we need to ask why the larger DS groups couldn’t produce a nice slick video with the same type of content? Why did it take a dad with a big heart and handsome boy to do this? When the bigger DS groups show this kind of committment to all children with DS, born *and* unborn, and concern for the parents who may be about to make not only a fatal mistake for their child, but a self-destructive one, too, then perhaps I’ll donate to them. Until then, Sam’s got my bucks.

  6. Don’t those with Down’s Syndrome deserve to live, too?

    Charmaine Yoest has a post up about Gabriel’s Angel Network, which is a site set up about Down’s Syndrome. At the site, they say

    14 children with Down syndrome were born today.

    126 babies like Gabriel were “terminated.”

    As you read …

  7. We’re finally painting the bedroom!

    My master bedroom has been under siege for over a year as my husband did all sorts of new windows/moulding/custom shelving/built in drawers stuff – finally we’re ready to paint! Got nifty shades of green, I’m happy!

    But blogging will be …

  8. Morning View

    Good (late) morning to all.

    On combatting Down’s syndrome the old fashioned National Socialist way, as reported by Charmaine Yoest at Reasoned Audacity.

    At Dignan’s 75 Year Plan photoshop meets the Islamic cartoon kerfulffle. heh.


  9. Rebecca P. says:

    This is a lovely post!

  10. February 20, 2006

    Happy President’s Day (where applicable). None of our presidents was born on this day, but hey, it’s a Monday- don’t you always celebrate your birthday on the nearest Monday? If you plan to be super-famous be sure and be born…

  11. suscipe says:

    “My doctor, a wonderful pro-life physician, made a face at me, and waited for me to catch up.”

    Perhaps I need one of those faces because I am at a loss here. Why do you call your doctor a “wonderful pro-life physician”?

    If you had answered your “wonderful pro-life” doctor’s question affirmatively,

    then tested positive for Down’s,

    and decided to have an abortion,

    would your doctor still be a “wonderful pro-life physician”?

    Part of how we change this sick progression is to promote wonderful pro-life videos, as you have done. Another part is to demand that Doctor’s stop asking this question and stop calling them pro-life when they do.

  12. Cotillion says:

    The Cotillion: Domestic Terrorism Edition

    Ah, those Cotillion girls… The last time we saw those fluffy-headed little Red State gals around here, they were lounging around in their evening gloves. Why, as purty as they are, you’d hardly know they had a thought in…

  13. charmaine says:

    suscipe: I understand your point. To clear up mine a bit, and in defense of my doctor — my doctor knew I wouldn’t choose to abort a baby with Down syndrome. But the test, like many other prenatal tests, is billed as giving women advance notice of a problem, so that they can either get help for the baby prenatally, or prepare mentally for having a handicapped child. Or, abort the baby.

    With Down syndrome, however, there isn’t anything medically to be done prenatally. Neverthelesss, some people would want to know in advance anyway, even if they weren’t going to abort.

    That makes it questionable for the doctor to not offer a service that is available. I think my doctor took the ethical route by making sure that I knew there would be no medical action to take, other than abortion, if the test were positive. And also, at that time at least, the test was so unreliable that my insurance wouldn’t have covered it even if I had wanted it.

    There is also a gulf between deciding to have an abortion and actually having one that I think a pro-life physician might be able to contribute to positively. I once went to a doctor who claimed to be pro-life, but actually only didn’t perform them himself — he referred people who wanted one to someone else. When I found out, I immediately switched to another doctor and told the first doctor why. Being a pro-life physician in my book includes not referring out for abortions.

    Thanks for your comment.