America magazine has an article on the Holy See’s testimony before the United Nations on the practice of aborting children with Down Syndrome and other birth defects. The Holy See calls this practice, “the greatest hate crime of this generation.” The fact is, some European nations, such as Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, have nearly eliminated the population of persons with Down Syndrome by the practice of aborting fetuses diagnosed in utero. There has not been a child with Down Syndrome intentionally born in the Netherlands in almost a decade. Needless to day, fewer children born with Down Syndrome means fewer services available to those who buck the trend and choose to have their child in spite of the diagnosis. Basically, these societies are saying that couples certainly have the “choice” to have their child diagnosed with Down Syndrome, all the while making it as difficult as possible for them to exercise that choice. Given that Christianity in these nations is on the wane, and has been for several decades, the Church’s commitment to life and the intrinsic dignity of the human person has little influence on the population.
I wrote about this issue last May.
Here in the United States, the situation is not near as dire, but still more than 60% of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome in utero are aborted. The stereotype that Down people are helpless and worthless holds strong in the minds of many. This is more than a shame. It is a horror, especially given the potential for meaningful lives Down people have, and the joy they often bring to families and to their social networks. Progress has been made in making even more worthwhile the lives of these precious ones by increased understanding and effective programs improving their ability to take part in society in meaningful and productive ways.
How is it that a society like ours that gives so much lip service to protecting minorities and the disadvantaged, that condemns any sort of discrimination and pats itself on the back for its care and respect for those who are “different” has so little regard for those who are truly the most vulnerable among us? Maybe that’s proof positive that all this talk about equality, rights, respecting minorities and those who don’t fit in is just that: all talk and no action.
God is not mocked. We will have to answer for this.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.