A Genetic Death Sentence
edited: Sunday, May 27, 2001
By Jenna Glatzer
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2001
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Why are people with Down Syndrome categorically denied life-saving heart transplants?
When the U.S. Supreme Court intervened recently in the case of Johnny Paul Penry, a condemned killer said to have the intellect of a 7-year-old, it looked for all the world like the issue of whether it is legal to execute the mentally retarded might finally get a fair hearing.
The court's move merely indicates that criminals with low I.Q.s may be spared the death penalty. Innocent people with low I.Q.s, in particular those who have Down syndrome, may still be sentenced to death on a regular basis -- in this country and around the world.
Fifty percent of the estimated 250,000 people in the United States with Down syndrome suffer from heart defects, the most common being an atrioventricular canal defect, which means that their hearts and lungs must work harder to compensate for a hole in the septum in the "four corners spot" where the atria and ventricles meet.
Read on at the link below.