CEC Public Policy Fellow to Speak at UN

Author: Kenneth Hallenius

UN Panel on Down Syndrome Poster

Center for Ethics and Culture Public Policy Fellow Mary O'Callaghan will be a featured speaker at a panel discussion about Down Syndrome hosted by the Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations on March 20. "No Room in Rural Villages, Cities, & Homes for Those with Disabilities? Are Girls & Boys with Down Syndrome Being Left Behind?" will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York City the day before World Down Syndrome Day, 3/21, referring to the Trisomy 21 genetic marker that causes Down Syndrome as discovered by geneticist Dr. Jérôme Lejeune.

Additional panelists at the event include Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Ms. Mikalya Holmgren, first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant and winner of the Spirit of Miss USA Award; and Ms. Chloe Kondrich, namesake of Pennsylvania's "Chloe's Law" which guarantees neutral presentation of genetic testing results in an attempt to address the 90%+ abortion rate for babies diagnosed with Trisomy 21 in utero.

The panel discussion will be streamed live via the UN's WebTV channel.

O'Callaghan previewed her presentation in the latest episode (#13) of the Center's podcast, "Ethics and Culture Cast", available at https://ethicscenter.nd.edu/about/podcast/.

In 2017, the Center for Ethics and Culture presented the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal to the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, honoring the organization's decades of care and advocacy for persons with Down Syndrome in imitation of their saintly namesake. The 2018 medal will be presented to Mary Ann Glendon, former US Ambassador to the Holy See, professor of law at Harvard Law School, head of the Holy See's delegation to the 1995 UN Conference on Women, and author of the landmark history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.