It seems that Iceland has discovered a cure for chromosomal abnormalities.
Or at least what would have passed for a cure in Nazi Germany.
“Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion,” tweeted CBS News last month while promoting a story the network was about to air.
That odd choice of words fueled an immediate tweetstorm from the prolife community and families of those with the syndrome. Thousands responded, but it was actress Patricia Heaton who put it best.
“Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome,” she wrote. “They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
A big difference, indeed.
My three-inch thick American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language may be a few decades old but that protects it from all the silly euphemisms that have arisen in our politically-correct culture. I checked, and it says that the “study of hereditary improvement, especially of human improvement by genetic control” is something called “eugenics.”
Eugenics, as in the Action T4 mass murder program, and CBS News promotes the story like Iceland has discovered some new method of curing sick babies.
Nope. They’re just getting better at an old-fashioned way of killing them. That’s all.
“Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women – close to 100-percent – who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy,” the CBS News report noted.
“While the tests are optional, the government states that all expectant mothers must be informed about the availability of screening tests, which reveal the likelihood of a child being born with Down syndrome,” the report continued, adding that about 85-percent of all Icelandic women choose to take the test.
Think it doesn’t happen here? Think again.
Studies published in the journal Prenatal Diagnosis have estimated the percentage of abortions in the United States following a Down syndrome diagnoses are anywhere between 67-percent and 92-percent. There are also many anecdotal stories of women aborting their children after learning they had the syndrome. Some regret it, others don’t.
About one in every 700 babies born in the United States will have Down syndrome, adding up to about 6,000 individuals every year. These children and their families will certainly face very difficult challenges, from the physical to the emotional to the financial, but their lives are certainly worth living.
“People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, have meaningful relationships, vote, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways,” says the National Down Syndrome Society. “All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.”
One of those strengths is unconditional love. I recall Coach Gene Stallings once saying of his late son John Mark, a gentle soul who had the syndrome, “How many fathers get to hear their son say ‘I love you, dad’ every single day?”
But the emails coming into my inbox after this is published are all too predictable.
Pro-choice reader: “Are you going to force onto someone the burden of raising such a child?”
Me: “Funny you should ask, because the Nazis said they were a burden, too. One poster promoting their official euthanasia program showed two disabled men resting on a yoke that’s stretched across a healthy man’s shoulders. The message? Allowing these people to live is too much of a burden.”
Pro-choice reader: “Well, who’s going to pay for them?”
Me: “Nice to see a liberal suddenly worried about the cost of government-provided healthcare, but I digress. The Nazis were worried about costs, too. One particularly disgusting poster from that era pictured a disabled man beside these words: ‘This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Fellow German, that is your money, too.’ The message? Allowing disabled people to live is too expensive for the rest of us.”
That appalling program had an equally appalling slogan: “Lebensunwertes Leben,” or “Life Unworthy of Life.”
And here I thought our grandparents fought a world war to end all that.
Sadly, it appears not.