One would think the head of the ACLU Disability Rights Project would be concerned about the lives of people with disabilities. Right? Wrong.
In a new opinion column, Susan Mizner, who supposedly is the spokeswoman for the pro-abortion group on disability issues, defend killing babies with Down syndrome in abortions. Her editorial bashes state legislatures that have voted to ban such abortions in order to protect people with Down syndrome from discrimination.
Mizner claims it’s okay to kill such babies because we still live in a society where life is difficult for disabled people and they still face some discrimination. But what could be more discriminating than killing someone simply because of their disability?
She claims the bans on aborting babies with Down syndrome are a waste of time because they don’t actually improve the lives of disabled people. Yet the mere right of being able to live is a vast improvement over death.
“It does not ensure that pregnant people are given information, resources, and support to raise their children — including children with Down syndrome (or any other disability) — with dignity,” Mizner writes. “It does not expand access to necessary services and opportunities or protect any person with disabilities from discrimination in education, housing, employment, medical care, or any other area of life. It does not make it easier for people with disabilities to have — and keep — their children. And it does not protect people with disabilities from violence and abuse, such as coerced sexual and reproductive health decisions, sterilization abuse, and police violence.”
Shockingly, Mizner writes that somehow stopping the killing of babies with Down syndrome in abortion makes their lives worse.
There is no question that stigma, prejudice, and misconceptions about people with disabilities are widespread. But forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term against their will does nothing to tackle underlying and systemic ableism and discrimination against people with disabilities.
On the contrary, forced pregnancy threatens a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as the stability and wellbeing of their family, including existing children.
But people with Down syndrome strongly disagree.
In a powerful speech, Special Olympian Frank Stevens testifies before Congress about the importance of protecting individuals with special needs – both in and outside the womb.
Stevens, who has Down syndrome himself, told lawmakers: “Whatever you learn today, please remember this: I am a man with Down Syndrome and my life is worth living. Sadly, across the world, a notion is being sold that maybe we don’t need research concerning Down Syndrome.
“Some people say prenatal screens will identify Down Syndrome in the womb and those pregnancies will just be terminated,” he continued. “It’s hard for me to sit here and say those words.”
Stevens lamented how abortion is being used to eliminate children with disabilities.
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The rate of abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is about 67 percent in the U.S., according to CBS News. Some put the rate as high as 90 percent, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because the U.S. does not keep detailed statistics about abortion. In some countries, like Iceland, though, it’s 100 percent.
“I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist,” Stevens said. “That final view is deeply prejudice by an outdated idea of life with Down syndrome. Seriously, I have a great life!”