Patricia Heaton: Abortion Doesn’t “Eliminate” Down Syndrome, “It’s Just Killing Everybody That Has It”

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 7, 2017   |   7:11PM   |   Washington, DC

Emmy award winning actress Patricia Heaton also happens to be a passionate pro-life advocate

Known for starring in “The Middle” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Heaton recently wrote a column for America Magazine about the discriminatory targeting of unborn babies with Down syndrome for abortion.

Heaton, who is active on Twitter, said the impetus for her writing was a CBS News tweet in August about Iceland nearly eliminating Down syndrome.

“I was taken aback when I read the CBS News tweet that stated, ‘Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion,’” she remembered. “But as I tweeted on Aug. 14, the country was not, in fact, eliminating Down syndrome. They were just killing everyone who has it.”

That report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory abortion trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. 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, according to CBS. Some put the rate as high as 90 percent 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.

Heaton pointed to several factors that are contributing to this massive, deadly discrimination. One is biased counseling. Parents whose unborn babies have Down syndrome or other disabilities frequently report feeling pressure to abort them.

As an example, Heaton brought up the story of Mark Lawrence Schrad, a professor at Villanova University who describes himself as pro-choice on abortion. He and his wife said they felt pressured to abort their unborn baby while waiting on tests to confirm whether she had Down syndrome.

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Another factor Heaton brought up is the expense of caring for a person with disabilities. She wrote:

While countries like Iceland are praised for their state-funded health care, the struggle to keep costs down creates an environment in which those who choose to give birth to a Down syndrome child may be considered selfish for using up precious resources. More recently, the Dutch Ministry of Health published a list of the 10 most expensive diseases, with Down syndrome at the top.

In 2014, the Danish government reported 98 percent of unborn babies who tested positive for Down syndrome were aborted.

Personally, Heaton said her conviction to help children with disabilities comes from her Christian beliefs that every human life is valuable.

“In a world where we are daily conditioned to expect an environment that caters to our every need and desire, we must remind ourselves that the value of our lives and the lives of others is based not on material wealth or accomplishments but on the intrinsic worth we all possess as human beings created by God and in his image,” Heaton wrote.

She concluded with a sign of hope. After tweeting about Iceland, Heaton said she received an explosive response. People encouraged and thanked her for speaking out, and many families sent her photos of their children with Down syndrome to show how much they love and enjoy life.

“It was a deeply hopeful display of true humanity—the loving spirit of inclusivity that regards all lives as precious incarnations of our Creator, worthy of love and entitled to life,” Heaton wrote.