CHARLESTON, S.C. — When Chloe Kondrich was born in 2003, the doctor told her father, Kurt, that his daughter had characteristics of Down syndrome.
“I didn’t know much about it at the time, but I asked if I could hold her,” he said. “The doctor looked at me surprised and said, ‘Oh, you want to hold her?’”
One of the defining moments was when he introduced her to their then 5-year-old son, Nolan. “He was thrilled and so happy,” Kondrich recalled. “That made me realize that she was here for a reason.”
Kondrich told his family’s story at the National Right to Life Convention July 5-6 in Charleston, S.C. Participants also focused on learning strategies and best practices to continue defending that right in all its forms.
Kondrich explained that his wife didn’t receive prenatal test in 2003, even though they were approaching 40 and considered “high risk.” At the time, the tests were quite involved and “rather invasive,” and not something that he and his wife were comfortable undergoing. “Now it is a blood test and it can tell you all sorts of things, but especially if your child has Down syndrome,” he told the audience.
Now, Kondrich said, Down syndrome babies are being identified, targeted and terminated in the form of prenatal genocide due to prenatal testing.
“If your test shows a presence of Down syndrome, it is like you failed the test and it is, therefore, a death sentence for the child. It is like they are saying, ‘You aren’t going to meet the cultural mandate that we have set for our society so you can’t be born,’” he said.
Kondrich, a former police officer, realized after Chloe was born that God had a new path for him: educating the country on Down syndrome and prenatal testing.
“We need to empower people so that they are armed with the knowledge of what to do with the results of their prenatal test, rather than listening to a doctor that tells them just to terminate,” he said.
In July 2014, Pennsylvania passed Chloe’s Law, which requires the state’s health department to provide expectant parents with “up-to-date, evidence-based information about Down syndrome that has been reviewed by medical experts and national Down syndrome organizations.” The information includes treatment options, support services, relevant resource centers, and national and local Down syndrome organizations. Since Chloe’s Law was passed, eight other states have followed suit with similar mandates.
Kondrich calls himself a “dad-vocate” for Down syndrome children and encourages others to join the cause. He thinks about his children and the special relationship they have.
“There are so many kids out there that are missing siblings because of these frightening prenatal tests,” he said. “I know why God put me on this earth and it’s to fight for the lives of children like Chloe.”