Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Personal Asides: Jay Doherty’s Great Mission.


Jay Doherty.

Jay Doherty, president of the City Club of Chicago and probably the most influential Democratic government relations advocate in Illinois, is one of my best friends…and it was to him that I bequeathed the City Club of Chicago when I decided to retire from its presidency after seventeen straight years. Jay insisted I remain active and that I continue as Chairman which I am happy to do given Jay’s marvelous leadership that this venerable civic institution. But it is not of the City Club that I write. Some time ago I wrote about the stunningly courageous and farsighted decision of Jay and his wife to welcome into the world their second child who was born with Down syndrome. One of the most memorable events of Lillian’s and my life was to witness the baptism of the baby and to attend a wonderful christening party at Gibson’s where the crème de crème of city society attended (we would never be included except though Jay’s patronage).

At that event, Mrs. Doherty gave what probably was the most eloquent off-the-cuff sermon on motherhood and parenthood that it was possible to give, saying that every life is truly valuable and that they are indeed blessed to have a child of such beauty and innocence which they were privileged to care for always.

Now there comes via the “New York Times” the news that is truly bad for children with Down syndrome in that it could spur thousands of deaths each year by abortion. Until this year, only pregnant women age 35 and older have been routinely tested to see if their unbo9ren babies have the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome. Many couples were given the diagnosis only at birth. But now under a “humanitarian” recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists says “The Times,” doctors “have begun to offer a new, safer screening procedure to all pregnant women regardless of age.”

“The Times” reports that “about 90% of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion.”

This means a floodtide of deaths of Down syndrome unborn children if the statistics continue. “Convinced that more couples would choose to continue their pregnancies if they better appreciated what it means to raise a child with Down syndrome, a growing number of parents is seeking to insert their own positive perspectives into a decision often dominated by daunting medical statistics and doctors who feel obligated to describe the difficulties of life with a disabled child,” says “The Times.”

Many parents “see expanded testing as a step toward a society where children like theirs would be unwelcome. The Newsweek columnist George F. Will labeled it a `search and destroy mission’ for a category of citizens that includes his adult son, Jon Will.

Not long ago a group of parents of Down syndrome children called a meeting at Henry Ford hospital in Detroit to insert their own positive perspectives into a situation that they confronted—and to encourage other parents to continue with the pregnancy and welcome the children when they come with tenderness and love. Says “The Times”: “They are pressing obstetricians to send them couples who have been given a prenatal diagnosis and inviting prospective parents into their homes to meet their children. In Massachusetts, for example, volunteers in a `first call’ network linking veterasn parents to new ones are now offering support to couples deciding whether to continue a pregnancy.

“We want people who make this decision to know our kids,” said Lucy Talbot, the president of a support group associated with the hospital. “We want them to talk to us.”

Apart from ending the life of an unborn child with Down syndrome, it means that the population, now reaching 350,000 could mean less institutional support and reduced funds for medical research—and a lonelier world for those who survive.

I write this to again congratulate the Dohertys on their decision and to point out to prospective parents of Down syndrome their great example, as well as to cite that there is a support system out there which is eager to show how important it is to continue human life in every contingency.


  1. Sounds crazy, doesn't it but when I read the new "amnesty" bill what I see greatly disturbs me.

    People here ILLEGALLY will with the new immigration bill sponsored by the likes of Lindsey "Gone Nuts" Graham (R) and Teddy "BARE" Kennedy (D) get back Social Security, they will be entitled to Earned Income Tax Credit (gift from the people PAYING taxes) and more. The legal immigration will be DOUBLED. Also G.W.Bush is allowing tens of thounsands of Iraq refugees into the country! Has George the Fool not realized the problem of Europe who have allowed a Muslim influx which includes terrorist elements?

    So it is off to the abortion Dr. to get rid of that Downs Syndrome baby and it off to a third world pit to bring in some one else who will cost the system and provide the Democrats a needed vote.


  2. I gotta go with your first statement Lawrence, "Sounds Crazy".

    I don't think the link is there that you are reaching for. Two separate issues, that can be considered distinctly.


  3. I have heard it mentioned that if all the aborted babies were born which would be in the millions that there would be no need for immigration (no worker shortage)and there would be no problem with funding Social Security and other entitlements. It has been said by some that immigration is need to fund these entitlements.

    So John, the long arm of the effects of abortion can reach into other areas.
    Do your own GOOGLE search on the combined terms of (abortion immigration) and you will find articles like the following:

    "JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Nov. 13 -- A Republican-led legislative panel says in a new report on illegal immigration that abortion is partly to blame because it is causing a shortage of American workers."

  4. Still Sounds Crazy Lawrence,

    In a relatively open market, like the US, there will always be a "worker shortage" driving different skillsets at different prices. Doesn't matter if there are 500 million people here are 50 million...we are nowhere near labor market saturation. Another working person adds to the economy.

    More hardworking people = more jobs regardless of the geographic origin of the people.


  5. Dear Tom:

    Your thoughts on the Doherty's being potential speakers for a pro-life event (availability, stipend etc.). I am on the board of the LaPorte County Right to Life Committe. You mentioned speaking at Lake County's RTL recently.

    Best regards,

    Robert Nazareth