Gerber Puts a Face On an Endangered People Group

By Michael Brown Published on February 11, 2018

To the great joy of pro-lifers, the Gerber baby for 2018 is Lucas Warren. He’s “the first child with Down syndrome to receive the honor of, essentially, America’s cutest baby,” as the Washington Post put it. What an important moment in the battle to protect “the least of these.”

Last year, CBS News shared this chilling report.

With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.

Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women — close to 100 percent — who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.

Stop for a moment and reflect on that grisly statistic. Almost 100 percent of babies in Iceland conceived with Down Syndrome are cut down inside their mothers’ wombs. Talk about a killing field!

Elsewhere in Europe, things are not much better. According to Lifesite News, in Denmark in 2016, only four mothers whose pre-natal babies were found to have Down Syndrome decided not to abort.

We need to personalize this battle for life.

Making the Battle Personal

Talk about an endangered people group. Only four born by choice in Denmark in 2016. Virtually none born in Iceland. We’re talking about near extermination.

That’s one reason that, here in America, a legal battle is being waged, with several states passing bills banning abortion on babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the womb.

But seeking to drive home a point by sharing numbers can only go so far. We need to see a face. We need to personalize this battle for life, this struggle to protect perhaps the most vulnerable humans of all. How do we do it?

When William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect fought with such courage against slavery and the slave trade in the British Empire, slaves were viewed as virtually sub-human. So they knew they had to personalize the battle.

For that reason Josiah Wedgwood crafted the “image of an enslaved African, kneeling, manacled hands outstretched.” Its caption read, “Am I not a man and a brother?”

The image was clear and the message compelling. It proved more effective than all the statistics combined.

A Face Could Turn the Tide

It’s the same with the Holocaust. It is devastating to hear about 6 million Jews systematically slaughtered, roughly a quarter of them babies and children. It’s almost mind-numbing to hear such numbers. But isn’t that similar to trying to grasp the thought of more than 60 million (!) babies killed through abortion in America since Roe v. Wade?

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You will get a deeper emotional response to the horrors of the concentration camps if you tell the story of Anne Frank or relate other personal anecdotes.

In the same way, seeing the joyful, smiling face of baby Lucas reminds us of these precious children’s humanity. It helps us realize their zeal for life, the joy they feel and the joy they bring. And for a mother agonizing over the question of whether to abort her Down Syndrome baby, Lucas’s smiling face might literally turn the tide.

Kudos to Gerber for honoring little Lucas, and kudos to every parent who said “No” when the doctor recommended abortion.

Positive Experiences

And perhaps, after seeing smiling Lucas, that mother (and/or the baby’s father) will appreciate reports like this from the Chicago Tribune in 2016.

Families of children with Down syndrome face challenges, but by and large their experiences are positive ones, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that, in 87 percent of families they surveyed, everyone — parents and siblings — said they loved their family member who had Down syndrome, and almost as many families said they felt pride for the child.

Few families expressed any regret about having a child with Down syndrome, the researchers reported in the April issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A.”

Why, then, the urgent need to wipe these children out before they can see the light of day? Why must they be destroyed?

Several families in our church have children with Down Syndrome. While they are candid about the many struggles and challenges they have had to walk through together (they do not say it’s been easy), they could not imagine life without these precious little ones.

So, kudos to Gerber for honoring little Lucas, and kudos to every parent who said “No” when the doctor recommended abortion.

And kudos to every child and adult who perseveres despite difficult challenges and even severe handicaps. You are an example to us all, and now you have a face – an adorable, joyful, wonderful face.

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