A teenager with Down syndrome put German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the spot Monday when she asked about the country’s discriminatory abortion laws.
Natalie Dedreux, 18, of Cologne, Germany, participated in a town hall-type TV program with the German leader on Monday, according to The Local Germany. Dedreux, who has Down syndrome, is an advocate for people with disabilities and an editor of a magazine for people with Down syndrome.
Abortions are legal for any reason up to 12 weeks in Germany. However, abortions are allowed later if there is a physical or mental health risk to the mother or if an unborn baby is diagnosed with a disability, such as Down syndrome.
And like many countries, Germany has seen unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities targeted for abortion at extremely high rates.
On live TV, Dedreux asked Merkel why babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities can be aborted up to birth.
“Nine out of ten babies with Down Syndrome in Germany aren’t born,” Dedreux told Merkel. “A baby with Down Syndrome can be aborted days before the birth, in what is called late-stage abortion. My colleagues and I want to know what your opinion on late-stage abortion is, Mrs Merkel. Why can babies with Down Syndrome be aborted shortly before birth?
“I don’t want to be aborted, I want to be born,” she concluded.
Merkel responded by dancing around the issue. She said she supports a “woman’s right to choose” to abort her unborn baby, but she also has advocated for informed consent prior to an abortion and better support for people with disabilities.
“Everyone has so much potential and every one can do something for society,” Merkel said.
Here’s more from the report:
Merkel argued that her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), had fought for years to make sure that parents received compulsory consultation before they went through with an abortion.
“It was unbelievably difficult to win a majority for that,” she added, saying that the emphasis in political debate was on the mother’s right to choose.
She attributed the fact that so many parents opt for abortion to people being unaware of the support that is on offer to them if their child is born with a handicap.
Dedreux thanked Merkel for supporting born people with disabilities and said she was a “big fan.”
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Informed consent and government support are important ways to help prevent discriminatory abortions, but they are not enough. While the government continues to condone abortions through its laws, they will continue to happen.
Awareness about eugenic abortions of babies with disabilities has grown in the past few weeks after CBS News ran a report on Iceland’s nearly 100-percent abortion rate for unborn babies with Down syndrome.
Just a handful of children with Down syndrome have been born in Iceland in the past decade. Two are born each year, on average, but the rest are killed in the womb. The abortion rate for unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome is almost 100 percent, CBS News reported in August.
This deadly discrimination is a problem across the world. In 2014, the Danish government reported 98 percent of unborn babies who tested positive for Down syndrome were aborted. CBS reports the rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011. Some put the rate even higher in the United States, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because the U.S. government does not keep detailed statistics about abortion.