Iceland has embraced eugenics to develop an icy “cure” for Down syndrome: abortion. Armed with state funded prenatal screening and the goal “to educate,” for nearly a decade, Iceland has facilitated the death of “every single…fetus with Down syndrome…”
According to a recent series of reports from CBS News, Iceland is leading the way to “eradicate” Down syndrome through a lethal combination of pervasive prenatal screening and abortion on demand. The state mandates that all expectant mothers be informed of the option for state funded prenatal screening. They claim to present this option “as neutral counseling,” but “more than 4 out of 5 pregnant women” counseled opt for the test, and, upon a positive diagnosis, all of them choose to abort.
These practices go well beyond the desire for a healthy and prosperous child. While abortion is never justified, with modern medical technology, there is simply no reason to abort a child with Down syndrome. Children born with this challenge can live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives in the care of loving families.
Instead, this desire to curate humanity dates back to the horrific pseudo-science of eugenics popular at the turn of century. In line with Iceland’s apparently innocuous goal of educating expectant mothers, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, believed “information” about contraception and abortion was the “greatest step toward racial betterment.”
Proponents of these measures in Iceland treat those children found to have Down syndrome like damaged produce. One “counselor” declared, “We don’t look at abortion as murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.” Those children who escape detection and are born in Iceland with Down syndrome are treated as a failure by the national health system: “we didn’t find them in our screening.”
Tragically, Iceland’s program is not unique. In Denmark, 98 percent of all children suspected of Down syndrome are terminated. In France, the number reaches 77 percent, and even in the United States, 67 percent are killed before they even have a chance.
More horrifying still, these tests are not even completely accurate. Medical professionals tell expectant mothers that their child is at risk of being born with a life changing illness based on a test that is only 85 percent accurate. How many mothers under the terrible weight of this decision, backed by a false confidence in medical science, choose to terminate the life of their completely healthy unborn child? How many more will be placed in this horrific position?
At the ACLJ, we say enough is enough. No mother should have to contemplate the mortality of their unborn child or be complicit in its death. Iceland and the rest of the developed world must recognize the inherent dignity of the human person, from conception to death, before the medical profession “eradicates” another innocent group of children.
At the ACLJ, and through our European affiliate, the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), we have not let this violation of human rights go unnoticed. We have defended the rights of physicians to not screen the unborn for challenges which might encourage their termination. We have chastised the United Nations for failing to condemn eugenics practiced through screening and the abortion of children with Down syndrome. We denounced the Council of Europe for dehumanizing the unborn. Still today, we continue to fight in the European Court of Human Rights against France’s unlawful censure of a pro-life message of love and hope for people with Down syndrome.
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