A terrifying trend is developing across many European nations: the attempted eradication of all Down syndrome children. In Denmark, just four babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb were born during 2016.
Despite this shocking statistic, the government insists that is not trying to wipe out a generation of Down syndrome children. However, the facts and the law beg to differ.
Abortion legislation in Denmark is relatively by-the-book in comparison to other European nations. The procedure is legal as long as the woman’s pregnancy has not exceeded its twelfth week. Late-term abortions are allowed if the woman’s life or health is in danger.
The most shocking stat, though, is in the level of public support. There is little to no pro-life campaign base. Indeed, a 2007 poll indicated that 95% of Danes support a woman’s right to a legal and safe abortion.
Despite the vast amount of Down syndrome babies being aborted, Danish officials insist that they are not attempting to wipe out a segment of their population. In a support letter to the Oireachtas committee that is debating the legalization of abortion in Ireland, Danish Ambassador to Ireland Carsten Søndergaard explained his thinking:
“In 2016, there were four children born in Denmark with Down’s syndrome after prenatal diagnosis and there were 20 children born with Down’s syndrome diagnosed after birth. In general, it should be noted that it is not the policy of the Danish health authorities to eradicate Down’s syndrome, but it is their duty to provide the pregnant woman with the best possible basis for her to make her own decision about her pregnancy.”
The Ambassador’s careful assurances were not enough for Irish pro-life campaigner Liz McDermott, who insists that the Nordic country is seeking “to eradicate Down Syndrome by abortion by 2030,” reported The Irish Times. Many in the anti-abortion community believe that Denmark is on the same path as Iceland when it comes to sky-high rates of termination. A recent CBS report examined Iceland’s abortion policy toward babies with disabilities, and the results were shocking:
“Few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland,” the report begins. “Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women — close to 100 percent — who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.”
Want to understand the thinking behind this? In many ways, it comes down to a complete lack of recognition for the developed personhood of an unborn child. This is not a life, it is a future inconvenience. Just read the words of Iceland hospital counselor Helga Sol Olafsdottir:
“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”
Penny Nace, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, takes a very different view:
“This is eugenics and barbarianism at best,” Nace said. “These individuals have no less worth than anyone else. What is the next headline going to be? That a certain country has eradicated all females. Oh wait, China has already been down that road. There is no limit to this train of thought of devaluing human life.”
There is no doubt that the recent statistics coming out of Denmark are horrendous, shocking, and deeply disturbing. But this is no a standalone anomaly when it comes to the wider global view of aborting Down Syndrom babies.
Indeed, CBS reports that the rate of Down Syndrome abortions in France was 77 percent in 2015. In the UK? Even higher at 90 percent. In the US, the figure sits at 67 percent between 1995 and 2011. Some put the rate even higher in America, however it is difficult to determine the exact number as the U.S. government fails to keep detailed statistics about rates of abortion.
This “pick and choose” mentality to the expulsion of life in the womb won’t stop at one disability, argues Down Syndrome advocacy group Down Pride. “The system of utilitarianism will not stop at Down syndrome,” the organization wrote in a letter to the UN, addressing the issue of abortion amongst those with Down Syndrome. “Within the not too distant future other groups will be identified: risk for autism, schizophrenia, low IQ? Children with these conditions also easily cost 1 to 2 million euros.”
The damning letter continues:
“The extermination of ‘unwanted’ persons from society happens sooner and is slickly marketed as ‘individual choice’. The effect on society is the same. Decisions are made by a handful of ‘experts’ behind closed doors with dubious (financial) agendas. People who –on the bases of their expertise- reinforce the incorrect assumption that Down syndrome is a ‘grave’ condition causing suffering.”
“Human rights law, designed to protect humanity from atrocities such as the deliberate and systematic extermination of a group of people who share distinct physical and genetic traits, is left out of the decision-making process.”
Irony sits heavy on the United Nations. Once heralded as a beacon of post-war unity and civil progress, it is painful to watch as they attempt to enshrine abortion as a human right. The very organization that promotes human flourishing and sustained world peace is legislating to exclude the unborn from the international protections and rights we all so readily enjoy.
In a recent draft commentary on Article 6 of the treaty on the right to life, it unequivocally denied the unborn from being granted basic human rights with this wide-ranging statement on lawful termination:
“States parties must provide safe access to abortion to protect the life and health of pregnant women, and in situations when carrying a pregnancy to term would cause a woman substantial pain or suffering, most notably when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when the fetus suffers from fatal impairment.”
And yet, in Article 3 of its lofty document “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the UN declares:
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”
What about Article 5?
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Learn anything about commonly-used abortion techniques and you will see that developed, thinking-and -feeling babies are being subjected to a brutal abuse of their fundamental human rights. No wonder the UN wants to remove the unborn from underneath the protection of their hallowed treaties. The parameters are becoming increasingly blurred, and as things are going, Iceland is just the start. It won’t be long before nations spanning the globe are stripping the unborn of any right to life, be it on the grounds of disability, preference, or simple inconvenience.