“I am a man with Down Syndrome and my life is worth living”. American actor and athlete, John Franklin Stephens who has Down syndrome, addressed the UN on 15 March 2018. He spoke during a conference organised jointly by Poland, the Philippines, Argentina, Lithuania, Panama and the Sovereign Order of Malta, in support of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation: “Think of me as a man, not as a birth defect or syndrome. I don’t have to be terminated. I don’t need to be cured. I need to be loved, valued, educated and, sometimes, helped. (…) life with Down syndrome can be as full and exciting as any other”.
Last October, he spoke to the American Congress (see Franck Stephens with Down Syndrome, addresses the American Congress) : “To those who question the value of life for people with Down syndrome, I would like to say 3 things. Firstly, we are a medical gift to society, a blueprint for medical research into cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and immune system disorders. Secondly, we are an inexhaustible source of happiness: a Harvard study has shown that people with Down syndrome and their families are happier than society at large. Finally, we are giving the world a chance to think about the ethics of choosing which humans have the right to live and those who don’t”. On 15 March, he urged the UN: “Let us decide from this day forward to include, not exclude, educate, not isolate and celebrate, not terminate.”
Valeurs actuelles, Charlotte d’Ornellas (20/03/2018)