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Eugenics and Equality Can’t Mix

pic-post_9-20-16From the perspective of the disabled and their advocates, we are living in a schizophrenic culture. On the one hand, we are striving to eliminate discrimination and create a society that is welcoming, understanding and inclusive of the largest minority group in the country – a society where having a special need is not a cause for shame and isolation. On the other, we are also a society that goes to great lengths to prevent the birth of the disabled themselves, sharply discriminating against them at their most vulnerable stage.

I am referring, of course, to pre-natal diagnosis with the intent to abort.

Fetal ultrasound has opened a window into the mysteries of early human development and has revolutionized the way we think and feel about pregnancy. “Meeting” one’s little girl or boy through the grainy images of the sonogram has become a delightful rite in almost every pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is also a moment when a problem may become apparent: signs of Down’s Syndrome, Dwarfism, Cleft Palate or a limb discrepancy. Many times, the presence of a disability or physical defect, or even the possibility of one, drives the parents to “select” against the child. In other words, they abort and “try again.”

The number of babies born with disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome has dwindled in America, due to what can fairly be called eugenic abortion. Eugenics is a strong term, and we normally associate it with the depredations of the Nazis, who envisioned the creation of a race of strong and healthy people with no genetic defects. We know what that led them to inflict on humanity. Eugenics is the creation or selection of offspring with “desirable” traits, and the elimination of those that are deemed “deficient.” Aborting a child with Dwarfism or Down’s would certainly qualify as eugenic.

In this country the practice is widespread and widely accepted. While it is done quietly every day, encouraged by obstetricians scared of a “wrongful life” suit, prominent ethicists are not ashamed of promoting eugenic abortion openly. Peter Singer, ethics professor at Princeton once said, “It does not seem quite wise to increase further drainage of limited resources by increasing the number of children with impairments.” The scientist who produced the first successful in-vitro baby, Bob Edwards, predicted “soon it will be a sin of parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.” This kind of thinking is infecting our culture as prenatal diagnosis becomes ever more effective. Parents of disabled children may feel that they must justify their acceptance of a child who is differently “abled,” in an environment where aborting the children is rapidly becoming a duty, not a right.

Read more about it here: http://bit.ly/2cBriY7

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