Does Down syndrome justify abortion? | The Tylt
According to a CBS News report, Down syndrome has nearly disappeared in Iceland due to a combination of rigorous screenings for pregnant women and a culture that doesn't stigmatize abortion. It's a deeply personal decision. Some families choose to abort fetuses with chromosomal abnormalities because that's not the life they want for their children. Others think it's wrong to abort, period, let alone abort because of Down syndrome. What do you think?
Does Down syndrome justify abortion?
Pro-life supporters argue Down syndrome is not something to be eliminated. First and foremost, we're talking about people. There's nothing inferior or worse about them—they're just people. The drive to prevent suffering is noble but aborting babies with birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities is absolutely the wrong decision.
Jerome Lejeune, the French geneticist who discovered the chromosomal basis for Down syndrome, once offered this perspective: 'It cannot be denied that the price of these diseases is high — in suffering for the individual and in burdens for society. Not to mention what parents suffer! But we can assign a value to that price: It is precisely what a society must pay to remain fully human.'
Parents who choose to terminate pregnancies because of chromosomal abnormalities say they're doing so to prevent their child from enduring a life of suffering. There are plenty of stories where people with Down syndrome do well. These are the stories highlighted by abortion opponents and activists. But there are also stories of parents who deeply struggle with providing and caring for their child. Will the pro-life activists help these parents with the cost of physical therapy, treatments, and specialized long-term care?
It's a personal decision and should be left that way. Don't judge what families do—whatever they choose. Here's how social worker Helga Sol Olafsdottir puts it:
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.