Following furor over a report that Iceland is “on pace to virtually eliminate Down Syndrome through abortion,” a Baptist pastor inside the secular country is speaking out in defense of “biblical truth.”
Gunnar Ingi Gunnarsson, who lives in Reykjavík, Iceland, and is the pastor of Loftstofan Baptistakirkja, wrote an op-ed this week for Christianity Today in which he explained his pro-life stance, lamented the uphill battle Christians face in Iceland and encouraged the church to boldly speak out.
Gunnarsson, who has one child currently facing a battle with leukemia and another baby born with a rare genetic mutation in his X chromosome, said that a recent CBS News report about Down syndrome being eradicated actually points to a tragic reality inside his country.
“What sounded like an impressive medical achievement was quickly revealed to be a spin on our heartbreaking reality,” he wrote. “Only two to three children a year are born with Down syndrome since nearly 100 percent of mothers whose tests show a high likelihood of the condition end up choosing abortion.”
Gunnarsson continued, “Those of us who value life in the womb see Iceland is not eliminating Down syndrome, but terminating babies who have it (or could have it) before they are even born.”
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) August 15, 2017
And the pastor wasn’t done there. He appealed to his own story of having a son with severe autism and of having a baby with an X chromosome abnormality to question how those who now cheer him and his family on would have reacted had there been a test in utero to detect either condition. Gunnarsson wrote:
It’s been a surreal moment for our family following the birth of our youngest son, whose prenatal tests did not indicate any abnormalities related to his genetic mutation (it’s rare enough that it’s not on a doctor’s radar). People have cheered us on, hoping for the best for our son and us as we seek to live with whatever the future may hold. I find myself wondering, though, if there was a test for diagnosing his condition, how many of those now cheering for him would’ve decided to end his life in the womb? What about my oldest son, who has severe autism?
Given how dramatic the abortion rate, near-universal prenatal testing, and Iceland’s approach to Down syndrome, we have reason to be afraid of modern eugenics—what I see as a direct result of our society no longer being anchored to a moral standard.
Throughout the rest of the piece, Gunnarsson discussed how abortions have skyrocketed in Iceland in recent decades and said that many churches have, unfortunately, abandoned biblical truth, making him and his church’s stance on life, sexuality and other issues quite countercultural.
As for the Down syndrome issue, the pastor didn’t mince words, speaking out against pregnancy termination and proclaiming that he believes the gospel is the best way to counter the abortion narrative. Gunnarsson prayed that Christians would stand up and pray for the church in Iceland not to be silent.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 15, 2017
“Ultimately abortions are antithetical to the gospel message the church proclaims, as we marvel over the fact that Jesus says to undeserving sinners: ‘I will lay my life down for my sheep,’ and so he did, taking on our sin and shame, and the debt that stood against us and nailing it to the cross,” he wrote. “Abortion instead demands of an innocent life, ‘You will lay your life down for me.'”
Read the powerful op-ed in its entirety here.