CBS recently aired a short ten-minute documentary exploring the view that Iceland “is on the verge of eliminating Down syndrome.” Typically, a headline such as this might lead one to believe that there has been a new medical breakthrough–that researchers have found a cure, or, perhaps a vaccine, of which widespread use has eradicated a disease, such as Polio, for example.
But that is not the case in Iceland. Iceland is not on the verge of eliminating Down syndrome. No, it is systematically eliminating the people who have Down syndrome.
How and why? The “how” is through the combined practice of prenatal testing and abortion. Having identified in advance babies who have Down syndrome, it makes possible the systematic, near universal “eradication” of all these innocent babies.
This is no exaggeration. As a consequence of prenatal screening over the past decade, 100 percent of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome have been aborted. There may be a few who escape the proverbial net, because of inaccurate results, or because a small percentage of mothers decline testing. But essentially no babies with Down syndrome are being born in that country. This is an outrage.
The “why” comes in the form of the comments from those interviewed in this documentary. The reasons are as disturbing as they are numerous.
For example, there is the genetic counselor who believes abortion is ending a “possible life,” while showing the journalist a “prayer card” with the stamped imprint of the tiny feet of an aborted baby who had Down syndrome. (Excuse me, but “possible life” does not have footprints!)
There is the same counselor who, in a different scene, essentially says that, sure, they are cute when they are little, but then they grow up and can have so many other problems, while the camera pans to a young man with Down syndrome who also has Autism.
There is so much more that can be written critiquing the documentary but the main point I want to make is this. Reports such as this documentary, and even many advocates who decry the results of these search-and-destroy missions. place the blame on “widespread use of genetic testing.”
This is, at best, a half-truth. Genetic testing doesn’t take lives. Abortion ends these unborn lives.
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Genetic testing is just a tool. That information gathered by this tool can be used to save lives, or it can be used to end lives. Just as a spotlight or infrared technology can be used to save lives in search and rescue missions, they could also easily be used by a tyrannical government to hunt down innocent citizens in hiding, to be imprisoned, or killed. The spotlight or the detection technology is not the problem. It’s the use of the technology to kill. And so it is with abortion.
Iceland, of course, is not alone in this practice of eradicating babies with Down syndrome; other countries, including the United States, also have widespread use of the lethal combination of prenatal testing and abortion. Iceland, perhaps because of its low population of 350,000 and its secular culture, happens to be an extreme example. This is what happens when a country accepts abortion and no longer sees the humanity of the unborn child, but instead sees her as “potential life.”
The U.S. is estimated to have an abortion rate for Down syndrome of about 67%. But this statistic is from before 2011 when more advanced non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT) were introduced. When newer statistics become available, we could be experiencing much higher estimates.
As stated in the documentary by a female bishop of the Church of Iceland, there is a “very small” group of Icelanders who actively oppose abortion. Perhaps this is another reason why the U.S. has not quite reached the high threshold that Iceland has. We have a much more active pro-life base who keeps the humanity of the unborn child in the public eye.
We must continue to do this. And we must continue to keep the focus on abortion, not genetic testing, as the true culprit of the shocking eradication of babies with Down syndrome.
Sadly, it is the mothers who ultimately are making the decisions to take the lives of their babies. They will never know the gifts they have rejected. They will never know the special joy their children with Down syndrome would have brought them; yes, even when they are 18 and older.
In Iceland, they are snuffing out all the sunshine. The Land of Fire and Ice could use a lot more of that sunshine.
LifeNews Note: Eileen Haupt’s article originally appeared at NRL News Today.