Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Killing Fields

I've never been sadder to be close to the mark then when reading this Seattle Post-Intelligencer article about eugenics and abortion (hat tip to Amy Welborn):

Each year in America fewer and fewer disabled infants are born. The reason is eugenic abortion. Doctors and their patients use prenatal technology to screen unborn children for disabilities, then they use that information to abort a high percentage of them. Without much scrutiny or debate, a eugenics designed to weed out the disabled has become commonplace.

Not wishing to publicize a practice most doctors prefer to keep secret, the medical community releases only sketchy information on the frequency of eugenic abortion against the disabled. But to the extent that the numbers are known, they indicate that the vast majority of unborn children prenatally diagnosed as disabled are killed.

Medical researchers estimate that 80 percent or more of babies now prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. (They estimate that since 1989, 70 percent of Down syndrome fetuses have been aborted.) A high percentage of fetuses with cystic fibrosis are aborted, as evident in Kaiser Permanente's admission to The New York Times that 95 percent of its patients in Northern California choose abortion after they find out through prenatal screening that their fetus will have the disease.

The frequent use of eugenic abortion also can be measured in dwindling populations with certain disabilities. Since the '60s, the number of Americans with anencephaly and spina bifida has markedly declined. This dropping trend line corresponds to the rise of prenatal screening. Owing to prenatal technology and eugenic abortion, some rare conditions, such as the genetic disorder Tay-Sachs, are even vanishing in America, according to doctors....

The impulse behind prenatal screening in the '70s was eugenic. After the Roe v. Wade decision, which pumped energy into the eugenics movement, doctors scrambled to advance prenatal technology in response to consumer demand, mainly from parents who didn't want the burdens of raising children with Down syndrome. Now prenatal screening can identify hundreds of conditions. This has made it possible for doctors to abort children not only with chronic disabilities but common disabilities and minor ones. Among the aborted are children screened for deafness, blindness, dwarfism, cleft palates and defective limbs.

In some cases, the aborted children aren't disabled at all but are mere carriers of a disease or stand a chance of getting one later in life. Prenatal screening has made it possible to abort children on guesses and probabilities. The law and its indulgence of every conceivable form of litigation have also advanced the new eugenics against the disabled. Working under "liability alerts" from their companies, doctors feel pressure to provide extensive prenatal screening for every disability, lest parents or even disabled children hit them with "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life" suits....

It's a long article and well worth reading the whole thing.

I don't know what kind of brave new world our country (and the West in general) is slouching towards, but it's going to be a pretty disturbing place.

5 comments:

strivingforholiness said...

Several years ago a friend of mine was pregnant with her 5th child and in her 8th month had a ultrasound done because of problems she was having. They could tell by obvious problems the baby had, that she had Down's Syndrome..a doctor at this supposedly Catholic hospital encouraged her to have an abortion... made us all sick. I'm sure plenty of other people have similar stories..makes you wonder.

MrsDarwin said...

How's the family now? I assume that your friend refused the abortion? I have a 12-year-old cousin with DS; a feisty girl, to be sure, but she's taught her family more about patience than they could have learned anywhere else. My mom used to work with children with DS and other disabilities and said that they have such a capacity to love.

strivingforholiness said...

I should have clarified that...no, she didn't have an abortion...she was so angry that her doctor would even suggest it. He had known her a long time and should have known how she would feel. Of course, he was just "covering" himself...wanted to make sure he wouldn't get sued. That's the part that made us sick...She had to have lots of surgery, and go through alot but she is a joy to her family...

mr. felderhoff said...

Absolutely chilling...

CincyDarwin said...

And just who is the truly disabled one in this picture? The innocent child or those who are so immersed in science that they can't even recall what they pledged in the Hippocratic oath?! May Jesus have mercy on those who would take His place as the God over life.