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'TO THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS AND SISTERS' - THE LIFE OF VENERABLE JEROME LEJEUNE

Venerable Jerome Lejeune, To the Least of These my Brothers & Sisters, documents the importance of French geneticist Jerome Lejeune's discovery of Trisomy 21, the chromosomal anomaly that results in Down Syndrome, and his lifelong defense of the dignity of the human person. Although the results of his research should have helped medicine to advance towards a cure, they are often used to identify children carrying these conditions as early as possible, usually with the aim of terminating pregnancy. This is the situation now in Ireland where over 90% of unborn children diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome, are now aborted.

Only last week, the European Parliament paved the way for the sale of human embryos and foetuses when, by an overwhelming majority, it passed a regulation called “Substance of Human Origin”. A ‘substance of human origin’ can mean human blood cells or tissue, but in the eyes of the regulation, the term includes embryos and foetuses which are, of course, not mere ‘substances of human origin’, but actual human beings.

Moreover, the proposed regulation approves the destruction of embryos with genetic anomalies, such as Down Syndrome.

Jerome Lejeune was propelled to the forefront of advocating for the protection of the unborn with Down syndrome after the findings of his work were lading increasingly to the destruction of the human life he championed to save. He gave hundreds of conferences and interviews across the globe in defense of life. He died of cancer on the 3rd of April 1994, Easter morning, 33 days after his appointment as president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.


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