Wesley Smith writes about how there are fewer people with Down Syndrome (and dwarfism) because about 90% of children diagnosed in utero with Down are aborted, and many parents who do not abort are viewed with contempt for bringing children into the world with such disabilities. We’ve written before about the dangers of expanding genetic screening when there is no treatment or cure for babies diagnosed with various genetic flaws. And editorial we wrote 12 years ago is still (unfortunately) relevant today. Two main points we raised then:
But abortion is not treatment, so we wonder if the goal of the medical profession is not the elimination of people with certain diseases and conditions, a twisted exercise in the “quality control” of human beings. Malcolm Muggeridge commented on this trend more than two decades ago when he said we are entering an age when abortion will be used to eliminate the less than “perfect blooms” – people who are not beautiful, intelligent, skilled.
A further tragedy of this trend is that as fewer people suffer from a particular disease, the impetus to find a cure will be lessened. Genetic research has done wonders to help us understand what causes disease and disability but had done less to discover treatments. For instance, Dr. Anthony Lejeune, the French pro-life physician and researcher, discovered the genetic roots of Down Syndrome almost 50 years ago; we still have no cure today.
If Down Syndrome disappeared because we found a cure, that would be wonderful. If it disappears because we eliminated those who had it, that would be eugenics.
We concluded our editorial noting “Josef Pieper, [Gilbert] Meilaender notes, said love is one way of saying to another ‘It’s good that you exist; it’s good that your are in this world.’ Prenatal screening, as it is routinely practiced today, is in direct conflict with the virtue of love.” Indeed, it feeds eugenic hatred.