Congrats, Iceland! Hitler Would Be Proud.

On August 15th, CBS news published this article showing how Iceland has all but eradicated Down syndrome. They average two babies per year born with this syndrome. How? They abort all babies who have it.

Before I continue, I need to say that I know this is a painful topic for many. I have walked with women in my church wrestling with all the emotions that come both before and after abortion. Some of them helped me with this article. I’m not looking to pile shame on them or anyone else.

This article is about Iceland.

Their choice to abort babies with Down syndrome is riddled with inconsistencies. I’ll go quote by quote.

“We don’t see it as murder”

For most of human history murder has been defined as the unnecessary killing of a human. There have always been exceptions.  Many see self defense, a just war or even capital punishment as justification for taking another person’s life. But an exception for someone – a baby in this case – who is not threatening another person’s life in any way? That’s murder.

“[It] prevented suffering for the child”

This is logical lunacy for three reasons. First, all people suffer. Children of every genetic code will suffer. No suffering has been prevented by this practice in Iceland.

Second, if suffering as a child is justification for killing, what about a 2 year old with the onset of autism? What if your teenager is paralyzed in a car wreck? Is killing then permissible to prevent their suffering?

Third, children with Down syndrome are statistically happier than the normal population. Scott Sauls says this in his article:

According to The American Journal of Medical Genetics, 99 percent of those living with Down syndrome say they’re happy; 97 percent say they like who they are; and 99 percent agree with the statement, “I love my family.”

According to one writer, these statistics identify those living with Down syndrome as “the happiest people in the world.”

So, what abnormal suffering is Iceland preventing?

‘Prevented suffering…for the family”

Ahh! Here we get closer to the truth. It’s the parents’ quality of life at stake. According to the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 96% of parents who chose to keep a baby with Down syndrome do not regret it. Overwhelmingly, parents and siblings of children with Down syndrome are glad the child is in the family.

Having a baby with Down syndrome certainly presents unique challenges. Most families in that situation though would say they come with equal blessings. Again, what abnormal suffering are you referring to?

“Life isn’t black and white, it’s grey”

The classic catch it all argument when you have nothing left. True, much of life is gray (I’ll use the American spelling), but much is black and white. As science learns that babies in the womb feel, hear, recoil from pain, suck their thumbs and even dream, the argument becomes more black and white. When we call black and white gray, we get confusion and chaos.

This is why we have fetal homicide laws in 38 states. In 38 states the mother has the right to kill the baby inside her, but if the mother is hit by a drunk driver and the baby dies as a result, it’s murder. In one case the baby is a life with value, in the other case it is not. What determines if life has value? The mother. That’s the confusion and chaos you get when you make black and white gray.

But doesn’t the mother get to do whatever she wants with her body? No. She can’t prostitute herself. She can’t drive around naked. I can’t do whatever I want with my body. I can’t sell my organs. There are limits to what we all can do. On top of that, we aren’t talking about the mother’s body. We are talking about the baby’s body. It just happens to be inside the mother. The argument dies twice.

“You have the right to choose how your life will look like.” 

Wouldn’t that be nice. Here is what is really happening.

‘Humanness’ is being decided by the strong while the weak suffer. The strong in the United States 200 years ago decided that humanness meant white and African-Americans were enslaved. Nazi Germany decided that humanness meant ethnic Germans and Jews were slaughtered. Now Iceland has decided that to qualify as a human, you can’t have Down syndrome. This madness is spreading and this year alone more than 40,000,000 babies will be killed globally.

A person’s value is not attached to the color of his or her skin, an ethnicity or a genetic code. All humans have value because we are made in the image of God…all of us.

We are not killing Down syndrome, we are killing the people who have it. We have to call this by its technical name: genocide. The calculated elimination of people with Down syndrome.

Congrats, Iceland! Hitler would be proud.

3 thoughts on “Congrats, Iceland! Hitler Would Be Proud.

  1. I agree with more or less everything in your helpful post, but it might help to add three important points of context:

    * Iceland has a small population; it’s less than twice the size of Jackson, Mississippi. Given the rarity of Down’s syndrome, a handful of parents’ decisions can result in zero DS births. Oxford, MS, probably has years with zero births too, given the demographics.

    * These murders are happening by parental choice, not government fiat. That doesn’t fit well with most understandings of genocide. Who should be prosecuted for this crime?

    * Don’t just read the article, friends: try to track down Elaine Quijano’s moving report for CBSN. There *are* people with Down’s syndrome in Iceland and Ms Quijano wisely allowed them to give their own testimony, which is more convincing than anything you or I can say.


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