On February 1, Down syndrome activist Frank Stephens appeared on "Fox & Friends" to discuss his viral congressional testimony from 2017, which has recently gained new life online.
After playing several clips from Stephens’ viral testimony, host Ainsley Earhardt asked: "So Frank, why do you do that? Why do you want to speak out? Why do you want to speak to Congress? I know you speak to schools and you are an ambassador for this wonderful organization."
I speak to schools because people ... don't know who we are, but when they get a chance to get to know us, they basically get a chance to like us.
Stephens’ testimony once again become the focus of media attention after actor Ashton Kutcher posted it to his Facebook wall on January 25. Above the video, which has been viewed more than 18 million times as of publication, Kutcher wrote: "Everyone’s life is valuable."
"I'd like to thank my friend Ashton Kutcher for bringing back my testimony. It's like The Walking Dead because it just won't stay down," Stephens said.
Earhardt asked Stephens about the recent discourse in the media about late-term abortion:
We've talked a lot in the media over the last week or two about the value of life ... there have been some politicians that are advocates of abortion all the way up until the third trimester, through the third trimester. What would you say to moms out there that have just found out that they have complications, and their child might not make it full-term or their child might be born with Down syndrome?
Stephens offered a powerful reply:
About abortion – I don't want to make it illegal, I want to make it unthinkable. Politicians change laws, I want to change people's hearts. ... I want to change people's hearts by changing people's minds and hearts together.
He later noted that he had spoken to "a young mother in Tanzania, Africa, about the hopes of what her son can accomplish in her own country."
Finally, Earhardt asked Stephens why his life is worth living, to which he responded:
My life is worth living because it is fantastic. I got to travel all over the world; I get to workshop a play in New York; I'm gonna be in two documentaries which will be on next month; and I have a lovely girlfriend, friends, and a wonderful family.
All over the world, women are choosing to abort their children with Down syndrome rather than give birth.
In the United States, it’s estimated that approximately 67% of infants that are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. The numbers for other developed nations are even higher — Iceland (nearly 100%), Denmark (98%), England (90%), France (77%).
After allegedly receiving backlash for posting Stephens’ video, Kutcher, who appears to be pro-choice, posted the following to Facebook:
It seems my posting of Frank Stephen’s moving testimony has turned into a partisan recruiting campaign. Stop! Let’s make it a thinking campaign.
I don’t see the issue of embryonic screening as a simple pro-life vs. pro-choice issue. In fact, I really don’t see abortion as a simple black and white issue. There are nuances to both arguments, and as with most things, in this bipartisan political and media landscape – we like to over-simplify complicated issues into 2 base arguments and pick sides. Then we recruit people to our side that we celebrate or we publicly troll those who oppose.
We are genetically diverse as a species by design, for generational survival, and should think very carefully about how we regulate these sciences. This idea of non-dominant outcomes being inferior and non-desirable traits being negative, and then selected - is a very slippery slope that looks a lot like embryonic eugenics and that scares me.
To be clear, I am generally against the government regulating a woman’s medical choices. The Government is not church. There is a reason why this topic has had decades of political debate. It’s because it’s not black and white, or red and blue. It’s grey, it’s nuanced, it’s complicated, and because of science, it’s changing. So let’s stops recruiting captains for our teams and start unpacking the complications to make the best choices for our future.