Speaking Out Against Iceland’s Down Syndrome Birthrates


Prenatal testing has developed more and more throughout the years. It can tell expectant mothers if they are carrying a child with down syndrome – and in Iceland – nearly 100% of those pregnancies are terminated. One Bismarck non-profit doesn’t agree with this practice.

 “We think good, up-to-date, accurate medical information is important. On the other hand, we’re really concerned that a condition like Down syndrome that could potentially be something targeted for elimination,” said Roxane Romanick, executive director for Designer Genes.

Designer Genes works closely with families and individuals with down syndrome. Roxane says with proper preparation and counseling, there’s no need to terminate those pregnancies.

She added, “The Down syndrome community in the United States has worked to try to come up with accurate and up-to-date and balanced information that’s pretty realistic about what life is like with Down syndrome.”

And for Roxane – it’s also personal – her 18-year-old daughter Elizabeth has Down syndrome. She was able to prepare for life with Elizabeth because of prenatal testing. 

 “I think it’s interesting that they don’t have any kids there who has a disability. They’re just normal kids. And you should have a mixture of people,” said Elizabeth Romanick.

Elizabeth is a senior at Century High School. She was once a cheerleader and is still actively involved in both her school and church. And she doesn’t let her disability get in the way of being successful.

She says, “You’re just you and you need to get out there and show the world who you are.”

Once a Down Syndrome diagnosis is made, Designer Genes works closely with local clinics and birthing centers to give out correct information to expecting mothers.

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