PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A large rally was held in Harrisburg on Monday, focusing on people living with Down syndrome and new proposed changes to Pennsylvania's abortion law.
Companion bills introduced in the House and the Senate, House Bill 2050 and Senate Bill 1050 would make it illegal to use Down syndrome as a reason for abortion.
Right now, the law in our state allows for abortion prior to 24 weeks for any reason except for gender. This proposed legislation would add Down syndrome to that provision of our current law.
"Down Syndrome: A Life Worth Living" was the theme of the rally in the State Capitol rotunda.
"Every human life is worth living and has dignity. Every human life," said House Speaker Mike Turzai, one of the sponsors of H.B. 2050.
The message in Harrisburg hits home for one local family, as their son, Chris, lives with Down syndrome.
"It's nothing that I would have ever considered," said Lynne Conrad.
When she got the news from her doctor that Chris may be born with Down syndrome, the thought of abortion never crossed her mind.
"He's a child. He's one of my four children. Yes, he may have different abilities, but all my children have different abilities," said Conrad.
Chris is now 26, a high school graduate, a technology whiz, a volunteer at his local food bank and for Meals on Wheels, and so much more.
"Chris will out-do me on electronic stuff any day. They all have their little niche that they can do that other people just can't," said Paul Conrad, Chris' step-father.
The Conrads told KDKA it's not always easy caring for a child with Down syndrome, but they wouldn't trade it for the world. The Conrads hope state lawmakers will pass the proposed bills.
"It's not always been easy, but we take each challenge, we look at other options, and we make the best decisions," said Lynne Conrad.
To anyone considering abortion because of the potential for Down syndrome, the Conrads say kindly to consider this: "Giving that child a life."
"And if they don't want that child, giving that child to someone who will love and nurture that child to give them what they need to be successful in life," said Lynne Conrad.
For Chris has taught them lessons of patience and unconditional love that they cherish every day.
"He's a good kid. I wouldn't have him any other way," said Lynne.
The proposed bills are identical and they do not call for any new restrictions in cases of rape, incest or personal endangerment. Right now, there are four other states who have similar laws on the books: Ohio, Indiana, North Dakota and Louisiana.
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