Human Beings With Down Syndrome and Disabilities Have Value

International   |   Paul Stark   |   Dec 3, 2021   |   3:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Today, Dec .3, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities as designated by the United Nations—a time to remember the importance of those who live with disabilities.

“Human rights belong to all human beings regardless of ability or disability,” says Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO). “Yet too often the lives of people with disabilities are devalued. Too often young human beings are subjected to the destruction of abortion or infanticide after an adverse diagnosis. Too often older persons are subjected to euthanasia when dealing with the challenges of illness and disability.”

U.N. instruments provide support for protecting the human rights—including the right to life—of all human beings. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities considers “discrimination against any person on the basis of disability … a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.” It also states that “every human being has the inherent right to life” and calls on nations to “take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.”

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U.N. officials estimate that a billion people around the world carry on their daily lives with disabilities. An estimated 46 percent of people 60 years and older have disabilities. One in every 10 children has a disability.

“There are no exceptions to human rights based on disability, or age, or illness, or location inside or outside the womb,” says Fischbach. “All human beings—disabled or not, healthy or sick, born or unborn—must be included and protected from threats such as abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.”