As we’ve been discussing on BreakPoint, 75 years ago the Nazis targeted the disabled and the weak for extermination.
Most of us now recognize as evil the idea that some people are less worthy of life than others. But, tragically, eugenics never seems to go away completely. It keeps coming back with a new name—such as “medical breakthrough.”
Exhibit “A” is an article on the ABC News website entitled, “New Down Syndrome Test Could Cut Healthy Baby Deaths.” Lynn Harris describes how, pregnant in her late 30s, she underwent a test at twelve weeks to learn if her baby had Down syndrome. The baby was perfectly healthy—but the test—called Chorionic Villus Sampling—ended up killing him.
But now there’s a blood test that can be performed in the first trimester--one that does not carry the risk of more invasive testing. It can detect Down syndrome with 100 percent accuracy, and can do so, according to one geneticist, “without any risk to the pregnancy.”
Of course, that’s assuming the mother wants to keep a child with Down syndrome. If she doesn’t—which is the reason most women take the test—the test will dramatically increase the danger to the child.
Another ominous point: Because this maternal blood test is so much safer than amniocentesis, more mothers will likely seek them out than in the past. More Down syndrome babies will be identified. And more of them will be aborted—in part because medical professional paint such a negative picture of what life will be like with a Down syndrome child.
It’s one thing to encourage parents to undergo prenatal testing if the purpose is to prepare them for what lies ahead, or if there’s something that can be done about a medical problem. It’s quite another matter to use testing as a search-and-destroy mission, identifying problems that cannot be solved—and then pressuring patients to abort and try again for a less “defective” child.
Here, once again, we see the importance of understanding worldview.
Medical tests that separate “acceptable” children from the “unacceptable,” teach us to view our offspring as consumer items. If they aren’t good enough, if they’re flawed in some way, we should simply abort them and try again. It’s the biological equivalent of taking them back to the store.
This is the culture of death made manifest. And once we assign a lesser value to some children, we end up hiking down the same path the Nazis did 70 years ago.
We need to remind ourselves and our neighbors that in the eyes of God, every single child is of great value, and should be accepted, protected, and loved from conception until natural death. The child with Down syndrome bears God’s image no less than you or I.
Maybe someone should introduce some of those medical researchers to families with Down syndrome children—including families who eagerly adopt them. They’re wonderfully happy kids! Perhaps then they would be more likely to encourage parents to have their so-called “defective” babies, or place them in adoptive homes, instead of aborting them.
The last thing we need is to go back to the bad, old days of eugenics—deciding which children are “fit” to live, and which are not.