Monday, March 10, 2014

The man who discovered Trisomy 21 was vehemently anti-abortion

The man who discovered Trisomy 21, the cause for Down Syndrome, warned that this discovery would lead to loss of life, rather than to good medical research. In the years following his discovery, he alienated himself from the scientific community because he believed that science should serve the patient, not eliminate the disease at all costs.

While I had plenty of personal encounters with people with Down Syndrome, I was less familiar with the research side of the diagnosis. I was introduced to the story of Jerome Lejeune by Dr. Ombretta Salvucci, a staff scientist who works in cancer research. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that his legacy is not forgotten.  Salvucci quoted Lejeune saying, “Deep science leads one to discover God, while ‘business science’ leads one far from God.” It was strictly through science, Salvucci explained, that Lejeune came to oppose abortion. He would often say that should the Catholic Church become pro-abortion, he would no longer be Catholic, that his scientific convictions were more deeply-entrenched than his religious convictions.

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