‘A Wonderful Life’: Meet the woman with Down syndrome speaking at March for Life
Pro-life advocate Katie Shaw / Courtesy of March for Life
By Katie Yoder
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 21, 2022 / 02:00 am (CNA).
Katie Shaw is many things: a champion for the unborn, an advocate for those with disabilities, a faithful Catholic, and, now, a March for Life speaker. She also happens to have Down syndrome.
Her message to the world, she says, is Psalm 139:14.
“The main reason I became a national pro-life speaker is because of God calling me to tell everyone Psalm 139:14: ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made,’” she told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly in 2020.
On Friday, the 37-year-old pro-life advocate will witness to this message when she speaks to the tens of thousands of marchers expected at the Washington, D.C., March for Life, the largest pro-life event in the country that condemns abortion and celebrates life.
Shaw serves on the board of Down Syndrome Indiana, meets with politicans such as then-president Donald Trump, and lobbies for pro-life legislation, particularly legislation prohibiting the discrimination of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Estimates suggest that nearly 70% of these babies are aborted in the United States.
But Shaw’s story begins in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“My dad and mom found out I had Down syndrome when mom was pregnant with me,” she said at Rehumanize Conference 2018. “My mom’s doctors never mentioned abortion. My parents feared the unknown and were sad that I was going to have surgery as soon as I was born, but the doctors started helping my parents plan what would help me have a wonderful life.”
She grew up in a Catholic family, she said, and was baptized the day after she was born. She later received First Holy Communion and confirmation.
“My Catholic faith keeps me strong and knowing God is behind me,” she told EWTN.
While Shaw progressed through school, she picked up hobbies such as violin and softball. She earned her GED, the equivalency of a high-school diploma.
As an adult, she worked in child care and retail. Now, she also dedicates her life to the unborn.
“My parents have always been pro-life, so they have always taught me that every life is a gift, that every life is wonderful, but the older I get, the more I realize not everyone sees that,” she said during the Rehumanize conference. “Ableism is not just seen in the medical field. As we all know, many people would prefer to end the pregnancy if there even might be a problem and they might ‘try again.’”
“That is why,” she added, “I want to help unborn babies, and their moms, and everyone see what a wonderful life we can all have.” You can watch Katie’s interview with EWTN in the video below.
According to Shaw, “people with Down syndrome are just like everyone else.”
“I play sports, I’m in a book club, I like hanging out with my friends and family, and I do the mini marathons, and I volunteer at my parish and Down Syndrome Indiana,” she told EWTN.
While she admitted “we have ups and downs like everyone,” she added that “I always say I have a wonderful life.”
During an interview with Life Issues Institute in 2020, Shaw emphasized the beauty of every life, regardless of disability.
“Even though babies — the most defenseless — have a disability or not, you should not just kill them,” she said. Because we have wonderful lives and all lives should be about celebrating anybody and people with disabilities too.”
Speaking with EWTN, she shared advice for moms and dads who might be expecting a baby prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“I want them to know that the child is a gift from God and to cherish every moment with them,” she said. “Their child is beautifully and wonderfully made too, and who knows what God has chosen them to be.”
She concluded, “Help your baby’s life be wonderful and your life will be wonderful.”