Over the weekend, word began to spread that an ISIS-affiliated judge ordered the killing of children with Down syndrome and other disabilities and disorders—some of them as young as one week old.
The story, picked up by several news outlets, originated with Mosul Eye, a Facebook page claiming to report from inside Iraq’s second largest city, which is currently under ISIS control.
There’s no way to independently verify these reports. But if true, it wouldn’t be the first time these children were deemed a “waste of resources” by those in power. Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, it was reportedly illegal to provide medical care for kids with Down syndrome. Even if it had been allowed, years of diplomatic sanctions made it difficult or impossible for Iraqi parents to access healthcare and medicine for their Down syndrome children.
Now it seems that Iraq’s most vulnerable children could be targets once again.
To be clear, we don’t know if these latest reports are true, but there’s one thing we do know:
These kids matter.
Almost half of all children with Down syndrome also have congenital heart defects. Their life expectancy plummets without early screenings and surgical care.
When you help provide heart surgeries for kids with Down syndrome, you send a powerful message that they matter. You send a message that they are NOT a “waste of resources.” They are not a burden.
These children are worthy.
They are beautiful.
They are important.
Their world is worth remaking.
No one can deny them their dignity and their value. Not Saddam. Not ISIS. No one.
Not as long as you’re standing with them.
Show the children of Iraq that they matter. Help provide a child with the lifesaving heart surgery they need this Christmas.