This past week, continuing the legacy of her late husband Dr. Jerome Lejeune, Madame Jerome “Birthe” Lejeune paid a visit to the United States to participate in various speaking engagements. Her first stop, was at an event at the Hilton Dulles Hotel in Fairfax, Virginia, hosted by the Divine Mercy Care of Tepeyac OB/GYN, a pro-life clinic located in Fairfax.
The keynote speaker, Madame Lejeune talked about her husband’s work caring for those with Down syndrome through research and advocacy. She specifically emphasized how the Jerome Lejeune Foundation’s work with those with Down syndrome is a pro-life cause. Dr. Lejeune’s discovery of the genetic cause of Down syndrome has been used through prenatal testing to result in abortions for many who discover that their baby has a genetic disorder.
“He was so sad when he saw his discovery used against his patients,” Madame Lejeune shared last week. “[The doctors] said it was wonderful because now we can tell them and end the life of the sick baby by abortion.
Parents of children with Down syndrome in France were encouraged to hide their children, but Lejeune said her husband worked to convince parents to be proud of them.
“He was really anxious to know who would continue to defend and find a cure for these children,” she said of her husband. He died in 1994.”
Dr. John Bruchalski, who was recently awarded the ONE OF US European award for his work for the pro-life movement, spoke in agreement with Madame, stating:
“This is why Down syndrome is a pro-life cause and this is why we are here tonight,” he said. “This is why we try to have these educational conversations at Divine Mercy Care and Tepeyac OB/GYN.”
Many of her listeners were touched by what they heard, saying that it changed the way they saw Down syndrome. When interviewed by the Catholic Herald, one woman explained:
“The thing that this talk has done for me is it has shifted the perspective of how you look at people with Down syndrome, not just from a position of being pro-life but of them being a person and how they should be able to live their lives,” she said.