In a CBS broadcast and article of last Monday, August 14, 2017, the network extolled the near “disappearance” of Down syndrome babies in Iceland. While this may seem like a laudable feat, the method used to achieve it is truly chilling. In Iceland, they abort virtually every Down syndrome baby.
They are not ‘eliminating’ Down syndrome, they are eliminating joy
The powers that be in Iceland are not really ‘eliminating’ Down syndrome. They are just ‘eliminating’ the babies who might have it. The law is not mandatory, but it doesn’t yet have to be. However, the counseling about the abortion law regarding Down syndrome is mandatory and abortion is officially encouraged.
Iceland has, by making it so easy to abort, and making it seem so right, put a sunny disposition on what should horrify the populace. However, most people don’t see it. More’s the pity because for the so-called “normal” among us, they don’t understand what they are missing:
They have taken the most beautiful children and beautiful people that I honestly have ever met. I have met spiritual leaders, big spiritual leaders. “Uh-huh. Right. Okay. Well, I’ll listen to you on the pulpit, maybe, for about five minutes. You’re a fraud.” And then I’ve met people like Billy Graham, who is absolutely the real deal. But every Down syndrome child or person that I’ve ever met is a spiritual giant.
If there was a way for one person to give a million “likes” to this statement, I would. My own work on a full-time basis has been with developmentally disabled adults for the past 11 years. Some have passed on to glory, including some with Down syndrome. I still work with many who have Down syndrome today. These people are indeed “spiritual giants.”
Truly Authentic and Precious Lives Are Being Destroyed
Anyone who has worked with Down syndrome afflicted people for any real length of time is in awe of them. Why? Because these people, young and old, lead the most truly authentic lives of any among the human race. In that way, they are what most of us only aspire to become.
These wonderful creations of God show their real humanity openly. They do not hide their emotions. They do not show you one false face and hide the true one. When they are angry, believe me you will know about it. Yet, when they are joyous, you and everyone around them will know it too!
All caregivers of disabled people, whether parents or people like me, will tell you it is not a job for the faint-hearted. Yet all of these will also tell you that there is no task more rewarding, and very few that will change you as much as this. I know this because though I am tasked with both helping and teaching them, my “guys” always help and teach me even more. I end up being the grateful student of their joyful wisdom.
This Horror Is Gaining Ground
According to geneticist Kari Stefansson:
Iceland’s high termination rate reflects a “relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling …I don’t think there’s anything wrong with aspiring to have healthy children, but how far we go in seeking those goals is a fairly complicated decision.
At least Ms. Stefansson is willing to pause a bit and have people think about it. That is more than a lot of nations have been doing. Denmark, the U.K. and France have all joined this effort to eliminate Down syndrome people. Why does this horror seem to be gaining ground? Sadly, it might just boil down to money:
After a Dutch newspaper reported that “a child with Down syndrome costs 1 to 2 million Euros,” …”preventing the birth of 50 babies with Down syndrome will offset the costs of fully implementing the Nipt [non-invasive prenatal testing] into Dutch public healthcare.”
That’s right folks, killing Down syndrome babies in the womb after 16 weeks of pregnancy is justified to fund “public healthcare.” Eventually, this is what happens with publicly-run healthcare. Economic “rationing” will take place, and the first to be rationed- out will be these truly helpless ones.
Some Are Pushing Back
Some in Iceland are objecting to this. Icelandic photographer Sigga Ella is one example. She is pushing back against this terrible trend in her home country. She has posted on her website a photo project “First and Foremost I Am”
This page feature the photos of 21 people who have Down syndrome. They are adults, children and babies all posing for the photos in the same chair. They are incredible photos where Ella allows them to pick their own pose or position. She said that the reason for having 21 people:
is because the trisomy of the 21st chromosome causes Down syndrome. She chose to photograph people of all ages and both genders… to show that each of these individuals is a person… and should not be judged by one extra chromosome.
Ella has personal experience with an aunt of hers who has Down syndrome. This fuels her efforts to show others what a joy these truly amazing people are. Like Ella, all of us need to understand that the destruction of babies with Down syndrome is robbing the human race of a critical part of our humanity.
God’s Mercy Must Lead the Way Forward
The right to life is first among rights in our Declaration of Independence on purpose. Without that, no other rights matter. This most precious of rights is being taken from those who do not have their own voice to object. This is the most egregious of rights violations. And a most serious violation of God’s Law.
The way through this insane destruction of the helpless is the way of mercy. Mercy from God who showed us the greatest mercy through Christ. He declared, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” [Mark 10:14, ESV]
I believe people with Down syndrome, and similar afflictions, belong to Kingdom in the same manner as children, with a certain innocence built-in. Let us not try to “hinder them” by depriving them of life. Let us show them mercy for God’s sake and ours.
Opinion By D.T. Osborn
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Wikimedia by Jennifer1982 – Creative Commons License