Following atheist Richard Dawkin's controversial assertions that unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome should be aborted, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin issued a Facebook post inviting him to meet her six year old son, Trig, who has Down Syndrome.
Earlier this month, Dawkins tweeted that parents of Down Syndrome babies should "Abort it and try again," adding that "It would be immoral to bring it into the world." His comments were made in response to a woman asking his advice about the moral dilemma of what to do when pregnant with a fetus diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Instantly, the media lit up with criticism for Dawkin's comments, with many calling them "barbaric," "deeply insulting," and a "monstrous."
However, conservative politician Sarah Palin did not criticize Dawkins for what he tweeted, but instead acknowledged his point of view and extended an invitation for Dawkins to come meet her son, assuring him that he would see Trig's "unique kind of beauty."
Palin's Facebook post, which also included several pictures of Trig, reads as follows:
I'd let you meet my son if you promised to open your mind, your eyes, and your heart to a unique kind of absolute beauty.
But, in my request for you to be tolerant, I'd have to warn Trig he must be tolerant, too, because he may superficially look at you as kind of awkward. I'll make sure he's polite, though!
Sarah Palin & family
However, Palin herself admits that she was frightened upon discovering Trig's diagnosis, and relied on God for her strength.
"When I discovered early in my pregnancy that my baby would be born with an extra chromosome, the diagnosis of Down syndrome frightened me so much that I dared not discuss my pregnancy for many months," Palin told Newsweek Magazine. "All I could seem to muster was a calling out to God to prepare my heart for what was ahead."
But today, Palin is able to view Trig as a blessing to herself and her family--and wants the world to know.
"It's a sacrifice every parent and caregiver of a child with special needs sympathizes with," Palin said. "Yes, we face extra fears and challenges, but our children are a blessing, and the rest of the world is missing out in not knowing this."
Dawkins recently apologized for his tweets, arguing that his ideas are "not outlandish but the norm," stating the fact that most Down syndrome fetuses are aborted in the U.S. and Europe. He also advised parents who have received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome that "suffering should be avoided. Cause no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."
"People with Down syndrome are now living longer, fuller, healthier lives than ever before; they can go to college, work, live on their own, get married, and even have families," writes Cassy Fiano, activist with the National Right to Life and the mother of a Down Syndrome boy.
"Choosing to rob someone of life simply because they don't fit into your personal definition of a worthy human being... that is immoral."
And studies verify such assertions; according to a Children's Hospital survey, of adults who have Down syndrome, 99 percent of them were happy with their lives, 97 percent liked who they were and 96 percent liked how they looked. Another survey, which included 2,044 parents of Down Syndrome children, 79 percent of parents of children with Down syndrome claim their outlook on life is "more positive" because of that child.
Sarah Palin concludes:
"My prayers were answered beyond my shallow understanding of what true joy could be," Palin said. "At the end of the day, I wouldn't trade the relative difficulties for any convenience or absence of fear. God knew what he was doing when he blessed us with Trig."