Let’s talk about eugenics

A friend of UTSFL sent this post to us. It is definitely worth a read!

What is one of the the number one things that pro-abortion advocates don’t want people thinking about? Maybe that over 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted.

There is a silent eugenics campaign going on against persons with disabilities, in the form of abortion. Advocates for abortion on demand never mention how many babies with disabilities are aborted every year. In the US 80%  to 90% of babies with spinal bifida are aborted. Over 90% of babies with Down Syndrome. Many babies with cystic fibrosis are aborted. Many more babies with rare ailments, mental disabilities, or physical disibilities are aborted every year. Women even choose to abort babies when ultrasounds late in pregnancy reveal birth defects like a cleft palate or a clubfoot.

It’s a not a simple issue issue. There are some cases where the baby would suffer very much if born. Many parents who choose abortion in these cases do it with the best intentions, out of love for their child and a desire not to see that child suffer. Further, raising a child with a disability really is difficult, emotionally and financially, for parents. A person with a disability may never be able to live independantly. He may always depend on support from parents or siblings. He might have a significantly reduced quality of life.

However, does that make the child any less a person? Just because someone looks different or is physically less able, or learns slower than you or me, that doesn’t make them less human. There is a whole gradient of ability amongst the human race. Is someone who got a PhD in physics at age seventeen more human than a barely-literate highschool dropout? Is an olympic athelete more human than someone in a wheelchair?

A disability certainly makes life more difficult, but can we really assume that someone who will have a more difficult life than average wouldn’t want to live or shouldn’t have the right to live?

The life of someone with mental and physical disabilities is not necessarily one of constant, unmitigated pain and suffering. With support from their family and community, many disabled people can live very happy and fulfilling lives. If you look around, you’ll find young adults with Down Syndrome graduating from highschool and taking classes at community college. There are special needs basketball teams, and there are children with special needs playing clarinet in their school bands. You’ll find people who would have been institutionalized 50 years ago who hold down steady jobs. They have friends, they have favourite pop singers, they have hobbies and interests. Yes, a child with serious mental disibilities will never grow up to be Prime Minister, and a child with serious physical disibilities will never grow up to be an NHL player–but, neither will the vast majority of us.

The growing trend of aborting babies with disabilities and congenital birth defects has stark societal consequences. Couples who choose to keep their “abnormal” children are viewed as cruel or crazy for allowing these children to be born, to suffer and to waste our reasources. There are journalists and intellectuals who have called for euthansia of children with disabilities at birth. We’re writing off whole groups of people as having no value or importance to society, just because they look different and they are unable to do some of the things that other people can. Instead of viewing persons with disabilities as human beings, people view them as subhuman creatures that are a drain on society.

Debating with some pro-choice friends about abortion, I brought up the fact that 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted–and someone was quick to reply that it didn’t matter if you aborted a child with Down Syndrome, becuase they were more like monkeys than human beings.

As long as abortion is legal, this issue isn’t going to go away. In fact, as medical sciences advance further and we can test more accurately, earlier, for a broader range of “abnormalities”, it will likely become even more common. A prenatal test for autism is in the works. How many parents would abort their child, knowing he or she had autism?

If you support legalized abortion, this is something you have to take into consideration–is it a good thing that every year we’re aborting thousands of babies who were initially wanted by their parents, until they found out that there was something “wrong” with their child?

On the other hand, if we as pro-lifers say these children have a right to be born and to live, then we have an additional responsibility to offer some measure of help and support to those with disabilities. This is something which should be as much a part of the pro-life cause and pro-life action as running crisis pregnancy centres, or holding prayer vigils outside abortion clinics. Volunteer with a group that runs programs for special needs kids, or patronize businesses that employ people with disabilities, like the Coffee Shed (there’s one in the New College library at U of T), a coffee shop run by people with special needs.

Laila Hulbert

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