On World Down Syndrome Day, noting a Down’s holocaust

Iceland (MNN) — Today is World Down Syndrome Day, and people are celebrating friends and family with Down Syndrome and the joy they bring. Meanwhile, there is a Down Syndrome holocaust taking place in abortion facilities across the globe.

Earlier this year, Dr. Peter McParland spoke at the Citizens Assembly in Ireland advocating for a new, non-invasive prenatal blood test (NIPT). In his presentation, Dr. McParland praised prenatal screening in Iceland that has led to the abortion of 100 percent of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome over five years.

That statistic comes from Iceland’s reports given from 2008-2012. But if the trend has continued since 2012, that would come to nearly a decade of all prenatally diagnosed Down Syndrome babies being aborted in Iceland.

There is a margin of error with prenatal screening leading to a very small number of undiagnosed Down Syndrome babies being born, and some being aborted that may not have had Downs. But Iceland is the first country to boast total eradication of Down Syndrome children with mothers who opted for the screening.

In the rest of the UK, around 90 percent of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. According to the BBC, about a third of pregnant women in the UK opt out of prenatal screening — especially since it is invasive and there is a risk of miscarriage. The new non-invasive prenatal blood test is being developed in the UK by Lyn Chitty at Great Ormond Street Hospital. After studying women’s responses to being offered NIPT, Chitty believes an additional 195 Down’s babies could be prenatally diagnosed yearly in England and Wales.

But Tom Lothamer with Life Matters Worldwide has this to say: “We know that many Down Syndrome children, in fact most, are an absolute delight to their families. They have much to offer our cultures and much to offer our communities and neighborhoods, and just to arbitrarily do that (abort them) is just unconscionable, it’s just unthinkable…. What they have done in Iceland is taken, what we might even call in a worldly sense, an easy way out.”

Those who support Down Syndrome screening and abortion cite Down Syndrome’s cost to society. The advocacy group Down Pride shared these reports that are reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”:
‘A child with Down syndrome costs 1 to 2 million Euros’ a Dutch newspaper reported last month…. Patrick Willems, pediatrician and CEO of a Belgian lab (Gendia) that offers the Harmony Nip-test for Down syndrome on the internet [said,] “Preventing the birth of 50 babies with Down syndrome will offset the costs of fully implementing the Nipt into Dutch public healthcare.”
Other supporters of this practice argue that parents must consider the quality of life for the child. In 2014, famous scientist Richard Dawkins said on Twitter that parents are morally obligated to ‘abort and try again’ if they are expecting a baby with Down Syndrome.

Lothamer says this thinking is the result of a culture that has turned away from God. The natural slippery-slope question we have to ask: where does abortive screening end?

“We believe that every person — no matter their physical, emotional, or mental condition — are created in the image of God. For us to make light of that is a tremendous offense to God, and the problem with the people like in this case, they don’t particularly care about God or they don’t even recognize God or whatever the case might be. And then to just arbitrarily say we’re going to take care of the hard situation of Down Syndrome by just killing them is just a tremendous offense.”

Lothamer says, as for the “quality of life” argument, “I know that many of us have had opportunities to really communicate with Down Syndrome children and adults, and they’re absolutely delightful. Quality of life? They have a great quality of life! Do they have all the access to growing in an occupation and all that kind of thing? No, but they provide so much care and concern and love to everyone around them. If they want to talk about quality of life, I would rather say it’s those who are, for an example, a slave to their job, a slave to things, they have way less quality of life than any Downs child or adult. That’s just a smokescreen to me.”

So what can you do as the Body of Christ? “We can say as the Church that you are part of our family, especially if they are members of their church, and we’re going to surround you with love and care and support. We’re going to, as it were, have your backs. We’re going to assist you when there’s time of assistance such as childcare and other things. It’s the Church’s responsibility.”

Please also be in fervent prayer for the Down Syndrome community. Pray for those with Down Syndrome to know they are cherished by a Heavenly Father who loves them unconditionally.