Dr. Mark Rollo's Testimony

As a Family Physician of more than 35 years, the majority of which has been in the Commonwealth, I have had occasion to care for many individuals with Down syndrome.  I speak in support of H.2409 which would protect these people from genetic discrimination.

Down Syndrome is associated with developmental delays and other birth defects.  Nevertheless, almost 90% live beyond age 20 and many live into their 60s and 70s.  They are generally very happy and affectionate people who lead fulfilling lives but half of them are killed before birth in Massachusetts.

The people with Down syndrome who I have cared for are among the most lovable and innocent individuals that I have known.  We can learn a lot from them.  A study from 2011 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99% of people with Down syndrome are happy with their lives.  99% of parents said that they love their child with Down syndrome and 97% of brothers and sisters ages 9-11 said they loved their sibling.

As human beings; as a society; we must seriously reflect on what kind of people we are if we allow people to be destroyed simply because of a genetic handicap.  We also need to ask ourselves who has the greater defect; a person with an extra chromosome or the person who believes that such individual should be allowed to be killed.


Mark J Rollo, MD