The pope's special intention for the month of February was to pray for an increased respect for the mentally handicapped. This prompted me to look into the care we, in the first world, give to those with "defects." While things have vastly improved since the days of Awakenings, there remains a deep-seated fear of life with the different. The statistic that most shocked me was this: Of women who discover (via ultrasound, amniocentesis, or other tests) they are carrying a Trisomy 21 fetus (Down syndrome), 85% will abort.
I could go on and on about the dignity of the human person and perhaps even demonstrate the evils of aborting the mentally ill. But I have no experience of these children. So, here is a rocking reflection by the mother of a 26-month-old Down syndrome girl named Penny.
Be not afraid!