Special Books by Special Kids

“We’ve had messages telling me that he should be killed…that I should have never had him in the first place…that he’s a drain on society…I think Harry’s purpose is just to show people the beauty of a soul.”

This is a statement of a mom of a child with Goldenhar syndrome and autism.  She is one of hundreds of people interviewed by Chris Ulmer for his non-profit organization, Special Books by Special Kids.

Special Books by Special Kids is an organization whose goal is inclusion for everyone – specifically the disabled and special needs.  It started with a classroom teacher who wanted to connect with his students with various disabilities including autism, traumatic brain injury and speech apraxia.  The teacher, Chris Ulmer, later went onto filming children with disabilities and their families and posting the videos on You Tube and Facebook.  He engages with these kids as just kids and they respond to this.  He and they wanted to teach us all what true inclusion looks like.

Some of the stories are heartbreaking as I put myself in the place of these parents.  But every single video I have viewed shows parents and/or guardians that are more than up to the task and in fact, are thankful for the blessing of being able to care for these children.

Honestly, it is one of the most uplifting sites on Facebook.  These videos reinforce the fact that all life is precious and that we should not devalue any life.  In fact, one of the participants in this video project who was born with a large facial birthmark states that nothing is wrong with her – she is just different.  Another child with disfiguring scars from a house fire states “I think every human in this world has worth and interest and value.” 

Please consider viewing the website and the Facebook page.  Chris Ulmer’s enthusiasm as he talks to and plays with these children is so hopeful and encouraging.  And these parents (biological or adoptive) are determined advocates for acceptance and inclusion, and believe their families are richer for having these children in their midst.

Take Action: PA House Bill 1500 Down Syndrome Protection Measure

Please see the message below from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.  The legislative arm of the pro-life movement is an important one and one that we should all have time to participate in.

For any questions concerning who your state rep is, see this link.

Dear Pro-Life Leaders,

Please send a message to your state representative, urging him or her to support PA House Bill 1500, the Down syndrome protection measure.

This important piece of disability rights legislation would ban abortions when the preborn baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome. The current abortion rate for unborn children with Down syndrome is extraordinarily high—research indicates the vast majority of them are aborted.

To send a message to your state representative now, please click here

Thank you for sending these important emails!

All the best,

Maria V. Gallagher

Legislative Director

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

www.paprolife.org

717-541-0034

Doctors Pressured Mom 15 Times to Abort Because Her Baby Has Down Syndrome, She Refused

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Below is a story of a couple’s torturous journey to save their unborn daughter from doctors pressuring them to abort her.

Micaiah Bilger of Life News reports on an interview between the BBC and a British mother. 

When Emma Mellor learned that her unborn daughter, Jaimie, might have Down syndrome, she refused to consider an abortion.

But her doctors did not take “no” for an answer. They kept asking and asking. And asking.

In an interview with the BBC, the British mother said she was pressured to abort Jaimie 15 times – including right up to birth — just because she had a disability.

“I was told that until my baby had started traveling down the birth canal, I could still terminate,” she told the news outlet.

Now, Mellor and other families are urging society to protect children, born and unborn, who have Down syndrome and provide better information and support to their families.

About six years ago, Mellor said she was 20-weeks pregnant when an ultrasound scan detected water on Jaimie’s brain.

Even though Jaimie had not been diagnosed with Down syndrome yet, her mother said doctors began pressuring her to have an abortion. Mellor’s doctors even tried to influence her by pointing to her young son, Logan, who, at the time, needed surgery to repair a hole in his heart, the BBC reports.

Mellor said she and her husband knew an abortion would involve injecting poison into their daughter’s heart to kill her, and they could not even think of doing that to her.

About six years ago, Mellor said she was 20-weeks pregnant when an ultrasound scan detected water on Jaimie’s brain.

Even though Jaimie had not been diagnosed with Down syndrome yet, her mother said doctors began pressuring her to have an abortion. Mellor’s doctors even tried to influence her by pointing to her young son, Logan, who, at the time, needed surgery to repair a hole in his heart, the BBC reports.

“From that moment on, they recommended we should terminate and told us to think about the effect on our son and his quality of life,” she said. “In all honesty we were offered 15 terminations, even though we made it really clear that it wasn’t an option for us, but they really seemed to push and really seemed to want us to terminate.”

Life News article continues

ADORABLE: Video of Big Brother Singing to Baby Brother with Down Syndrome Goes Viral

People with Down syndrome are living longer, healthier, more independent lives than ever before, and virtually all of them report being happy with themselves and their lives. 

Down Syndrome Baby with Big Brother

Below is an extraordinary story about a special family and the  love between a brother and his newborn sibling.  It was posted in Life Action News by Cassy Fiano-Chesser.   

The sweet bond of two brothers was on full display in a video that’s gone viral on Facebook. In it, a loving big brother cradled his newborn brother, who has Down syndrome, and sang Dan + Shay’s “10,000 Hours” to him. It’s yet another poignant reminder that love doesn’t count chromosomes.

The boys’ mother, Nicole Powell, posted the video in December. “This is how Rayce bonds with Tripp,” she wrote on Facebook. “He sings to him all the time. He swear this song is about him and his brother. He’s singing, ‘I’d spend 10,000 hours, and 10,000 more if that’s what it takes to learn that sweet heart of yours. I might never get there but I’m going to try if it’s 10,000 hours or the rest of my life, I’m going to love you.’ Love doesn’t count chromosomes, or as Rayce says, ‘Aren’t we all different?’”

In an interview with local news affiliate THV11, the Powells explained the difficult process of getting to the happy place they are now, with doctors saying Tripp would have a very poor quality of life. “They recommended we terminate the pregnancy, and I said absolutely not,” JJ Grieves, Tripp’s father, said. And he hopes that Rayce’s example will help other people learn to become more accepting. “He’s the same as the rest of us,” Grieves said. “He just takes a little longer to learn, a little more caring, a little bit more loving, but isn’t that what the world needs?”

Rayce isn’t the only sibling who is showing love to their baby brother. “When we first learned about our son Tripp’s Down Syndrome diagnosis while I was pregnant we told our oldest boys Jayce and Rayce about it,” Powell wrote on Facebook. “Later that night I checked Jayces snap chat because I saw he uploaded a photo and I saw this. On his own he googled Down syndrome and made his own ‘ribbon’. I was only 6 months pregnant at the time so of course the tears flew.

Then we had Tripp and told us, ‘I made him something during free time in class. I have it in my desk, I’ve been waiting until he was born to bring it to him.’ Again it was the same ribbon. So we knew we had to get him some stickers made for his bmx bike. I couldn’t have picked better big brothers for our sweet boy! (I know his big sisters will be just as amazing to him to!)”

UPDATE, 01/10/2020: After the video of Rayce singing to Tripp, his baby brother with Down syndrome, went viral, country music stars Dan + Shay responded. The duo, who recorded the song, took to social media to thank the Powell family — and give them a surprise of their own, too!

Click here to read the rest of Nicole Powell’s story and the country music stars’ surprise

‘We Never Thought Twice’: Teacher Adopts Student With Down Syndrome After Mom Dies

 

Caucasian mother holding baby girl with Down Syndrome

The following is an inspiring story by Will Maule of Faithwire.  He writes about the selfless love of a teacher, a terminally mother and her son.

A compassionate teacher has adopted her own student after his mom died of cancer.

The incredible story began four years ago with a brutally honest conversation between special-ed teacher Kerry Bremer and Jean Manning, a terminally ill mother.

Though the pair had only known each other for a matter of months, their conversation would prove to be life-altering both for Kerry and for Manning’s son, Jake, who has Down Syndrome.

“I said, ‘I may be overstepping here and forgive me if I am, but my family and I would like to offer guardianship for Jake if you need a backup plan,’” Bremer recalled to TODAY Parents.

Through tears, Jean accepted her offer.

“I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time,’” the ailing mother explained.

Bremer noted how she “fell in love with Jake instantly” and could not help but offer him a place in their family. “I knew he would a need a home and there was no way I wouldn’t open ours to him,” she said.

Kerry Petkewich Bremer about a week ago

This past Wednesday, Jeanie Manning became a “Queen Angel.” She fought a long, hard and often very unfair battle with cancer. We knew it would happen some day, but it was the last thing any of us expected this past Wednesday. As a result of her passing, we will love, protect and treasure Jake just as we promised. He will live with us forever and we will keep her memory, her love, her determination and her beautiful smile alive in his heart and ours every day! We love you “Queen Angel Mom.” Fly high and watch over us every day. “Our boy” will miss you terribly, but we’ve got this! ❤️🙏😇 “Bremer, party of 6

On November 13, Manning passed away,

“My mom went to heaven,” Jake told CBS 17. “She’s my queen, angel mom. She’s always in my heart..she loved me so much.”

After Jean passed, Jean honored her promise and Jake moved into the family home. The house was already filled with Jake’s toys and clothes from the countless hours he’d been spending there while his mom went through grueling treatment. The transition was tough but is going well so far.

“We never thought twice about it,” Manning said of their decision to welcome Jake into their family. “I loved this kid so much. He has done more for us than we could ever do for him.”

Website: Faithwire

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Vetoes Bill Banning Down Syndrome Abortions

Wolf has close ties to the abortion industry.  In 2018, his re-election campaign received a record $1.5 million in support from Planned Parenthood. 

tomwolf2019

Gov. Tom Wolf is rabidly pro-abortion.  He served as a volunteer escort at Planned Parenthood.  During his 2018 reelection campaign, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Planned Parenthood described him as a “bulwark against GOP-led attempts in Harrisburg to restrict abortion rights” and as the “last line of defense.”

Below is a Life News report by Steven Ertelt and Miciah Bilger on Gov. Wolf’s latest veto on a bill that would have protected Down Syndrome unborn babies from abortion.  

Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday vetoed a bill to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discrimination.

The Down Syndrome Protection Act (House Bill 321) passed the state Senate on Wednesday in a 27-22 vote. The bill would prohibit an abortion solely based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. It would add to a state law that also prohibits discriminatory sex-selection abortions. The Pennsylvania House previously passed the measure by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin.

But Wolf today vetoed the legislation to protect babies with Down syndrome.

In a statement, the governor called the legislation a “restriction on women and medical professionals and interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians.” He said enforcement of the bill would “upend the doctor-patient relationship and impede on patient confidentiality.”

“Gov. Wolf’s veto will prevent all children with Down’s Syndrome from going on to live happy and fulfilled lives,” said Eric Failing, executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference.

“Had Gov. Wolf signed this legislation, he would’ve ensured the protection of humanity’s most vulnerable lives. We thank all legislators who came together in a bi-partisan fashion to support this common-sense legislation, and PCC looks forward to working with them again to protect the sanctity of life.”

Ahead of his veto, Wolf slammed the bill in a statement to the AP, claiming it “seeks to limit health care choices for women and politicize difficult moments for vulnerable families.”

“This bill masks yet another attempt to ban abortions and put politicians between a woman and her doctor,” Wolf’s office said.

Wolf has close ties to the abortion industry. He once volunteered as an escort at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. In 2018, his re-election campaign received a record $1.5 million in support from Planned Parenthood. He also appointed several people from the abortion chain to his administration, including his chief of staff. It is not clear if there are enough votes in the state legislature to override Wolf’s veto.

“We have a responsibility to protect those who don’t have a voice,” said state Rep. Kate Klunk, R-York County, a sponsor of the bill, in a statement earlier this year. “We have a responsibility to stand up against eugenics. And, we have a responsibility to stand up to say that a baby with Down syndrome has a right to life and should not be discriminated against in the womb.”

Other sponsors include Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster and House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny County. A number of disability rights advocates also support the bill, including Karen Gaffney, a long-distance swimmer with Down syndrome and disability rights advocate, Kurt and Chloe Kondrich, and Sara Hart Weir, the former president of the National Down Syndrome Society.

Supporters urged lawmakers to protect unborn babies from discrimination, noting how abortion has become a modern means of eugenics.

Life News article continues here

ACTION:  Contact Gov. Tom Wolf here to complain about him vetoing the Down Syndrome bill.

Committee Votes to Stop the Prenatal Targeting of Babies with Down Syndrome

Below is a Press Release from the Pennsylvania Family Institute on House Bill 321, Down Syndrome Protection Act.   If you would, please say thank you to these Senate Committee members who just voted Yes on the Down Syndrome Protection Act. Contact information is below.  

PA Family Institute applauds vote on House Bill 321 and the effort to end the targeting of babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

A Life Worth Living

(HARRISBURG, PA – November 18, 2019) Pennsylvania Family Institute applauds today’s vote by the PA Senate Health Committee on the Down Syndrome Protection Act, House Bill 321, as another step towards truly celebrating people with Down syndrome in Pennsylvania.

“Today’s vote, along with the passage by the PA House, sends a compassionate message to Pennsylvania communities that no human being should be targeted for death by abortion because of a disability.” says Michael Geer, President of the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

“We are thankful for the leadership of Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) and Representative Kate Klunk (R-York County) in sponsoring this legislation, for Senator Michele Brooks (R-Mercer) and her leadership in the Senate Health Committee and for all the

Senators who voted in favor of this much-needed legislation.”

The Down Syndrome Protection Act would prohibit an abortion solely based on a diagnosis of possible Down Syndrome, and would augment the Pennsylvania law that already prohibits abortions solely based on the sex of the baby. Families across Pennsylvania join international disability rights champions such as Joni Eareckson Tada and  Karen Gaffney in strongly supporting this legislation.

“Countries like Iceland and Denmark are aborting nearly every child diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb,” comments Dan Bartkowiak, Director of Communications for the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “Here in America, we’re trending towards Iceland with the majority of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome being

aborted. Pennsylvania is better than this. Let’s stop medical professionals from coercing women to abort their child solely because of Down syndrome, and let’s truly celebrate people with Down syndrome for the wonderful contributions they make to our state.”

Under current Pennsylvania law, a woman can obtain an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestational age for any reason if a physician deems it is necessary, except if the woman’s sole reason is to select the sex of the child. This bill would simply expand that exception.

The PA House of Representatives already passed HB321 back in May by a 117-76 vote. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

“We call on the Senate to pass this important legislation to stop this form of eugenics by protecting the most vulnerable among our citizens.”