As a writer, Frank Stephens has made regular appearances on well-known publications like The Huffington Post, London Daily Mail and The New York Times; as an actor, he’s has made guest appearances on Emmy award-winning shows.
He is a respected member of theater group Artstream, where he has had the opportunity to act in multiple original plays over the last decade, and he recently signed with a Hollywood talent agency that landed him a feature role in the movie Touched by Grace.
Frank is a Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award winner, and he has made two trips to the White House.
He has led a FULL and meaningful life.
He also has Down Syndrome.
And as his track record chock-full of accomplishments and meaningful contributions to society can attest, that does not make his life worth ANY less.
“Whatever you learn today, please remember this: I am a man with Down Syndrome and my life is worth living,” said Stephens in a powerful speech before Congress on Wednesday.
Amidst an era that aims to eradicate Down Syndrome once and for all, the Quincy Jones Advocate for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation boldly defended his right to life:
“Some people say prenatal screens will identify Down Syndrome in the womb, and those pregnancies will just be terminated. It’s hard for me to sit here and say those words. I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist… But to those who question the value of people with Down Syndrome, I would make three points: First, we are a medical gift to society, a blueprint for medical research into cancer, Alzheimer’s, and immune system disorders.”
Stephens elaborated, on a more personal note, that he is deeply pained by the effect that Alzheimer’s will likely have on his own life and the life of his mother.
“It’s likely that one day this thief will steal my memories, my very life from me,” he said. “This is very hard for me to say, but it has already begun to steal my mom from me.”
Stephens challenged attendees to “think about all those people you love the way I love my mom,” citing that we should be a country in pursuit of answers that restore—not eradicate humanity.
In contrast to countries like Iceland that boast a 100 percent abortion rate for Down Syndrome babies, Stephens pleas that we be the exception:
“Help us make this difference, if not for me and my mom, then for you and the ones you love. Fund this research. Let’s be America, not Iceland or Denmark. Let’s pursue answers, not final solutions. Let’s be America. Let’s make our goal to be Alzheimer’s free, not Down Syndrome free.”
Watch his poignant speech in full below, and visit the Global Down Syndrome Foundation to learn more about how you can advocate for life for people like Frank.