Congresswoman Martha Roby

Representing the 2nd District of Alabama

Roby Introduces Dothan Constituents, Defends Life at Down Syndrome Hearing

October 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) today spoke out against the practice of eradicating Down Syndrome through abortions and received assurances that American medical research would never lead to such horrific eugenics policies. At an appropriations hearing on the advances in research for Down Syndrome, Roby said she was troubled by reports that the medical communities in Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea are encouraging expectant parents to abort unborn children who show signs of Down Syndrome.

“Every baby should be treated like the miracle they are created to be,” Roby said. “As we talk about growing our research capabilities, including through funding from this subcommittee, how can you assure us that the medical community won’t slide down the slippery slope toward eugenics, however indirect the practice might be?”

Dr. Joaquin M. Espinosa, Executive Director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, assured Roby that the American medical community would not come close to supporting eugenics practices.

“We do not fund any research that could tangentially lead to the eugenics path that you recognized,” Espinosa said. “Our mission is to improve the lives of people with Down Syndrome, including through pre-natal treatments. You can have assurance from the Linda Crnic Institute that no research would even be tangentially tied to selective terminations.”

During the hearing, Roby introduced special guests from Dothan, Alabama: Melinda McClendon and her two sons Buck and Charlie. Buck McClendon has Down Syndrome and is visiting Washington with his family as part of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s advocacy efforts.

“Melinda and her two sons Buck and Charlie are my constituents from Dothan, Alabama. I’m so proud to have you here as advocates from my community to share your personal story. I had the opportunity to take Buck down to the House floor during votes and we all got to see firsthand Buck’s infectious personality and love for life. Thank you for sharing your day with me. I’m so grateful that you are all here.”