- - Tuesday, October 19, 2021

In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Buck v. Bell to uphold the state of Virginia’s “right” to forcibly sterilize Carrie Buck, a victim of sexual abuse and exploitation whom the state had deemed too “feebleminded” to deserve to reproduce. After this ruling, states across the country went on to forcibly sterilize over 70,000 Americans with disabilities. 

Today, Americans look back on this dark history of eugenics and discrimination with shame and regret. We rightly abhor the obvious coercion on display and the hatred and disrespect of people with disabilities that it presumes. 

But hateful and deadly discrimination against people with differing abilities persists today, and the abortion industry fuels it. Today, America doesn’t sterilize the disabled; instead, America kills them in the womb. 

Every year, there are approximately 6,000 babies born in the U.S. with Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal abnormality. But what many people don’t realize is that these 6,000 babies are rare survivors. 

We must understand why. While Down syndrome can, in some cases, lead to fatal complications later in life, most children born with Down syndrome can grow up to live long, happy and beautiful lives; 99% of people with Down syndrome say they are happy with their lives and love their families.

The problem is that the abortion industry doesn’t want these lives to be lived. In the United States, roughly 67% of all preborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome while in the womb are aborted. While these statistics are shocking enough, the most disturbing part isn’t the number of lives lost; it’s how this discriminatory violence is encouraged and celebrated by our culture. 

When Texas passed S.B. 8, its Heartbeat Act, there was uproar from the abortion industry and the pro-choice lobby. Protecting preborn lives doesn’t sit right with a business that is rooted in and continues to perpetuate today the principles of the eugenics movement. 

But as the father of a daughter with Down syndrome, what was most shocking to me was the voices decrying how S.B. 8 might lead to an increase in the number of babies born with Down syndrome. 

Our culture’s dehumanizing disdain for children with Down syndrome is starkly reflected in the way we talk about Down syndrome, too. The media runs articles discussing how “successful” countries like Iceland are at “eliminating Down Syndrome.” 

All of this is a grim and, frankly, unconscionable euphemism. 

Down syndrome is not a disease, like polio or measles, that can be eliminated through medical interventions, vaccines or treatments. When people talk euphemistically about “reducing,” “eliminating,” or even “eradicating” Down syndrome, what they are talking about is the targeted, discriminatory and intentional killing of people with Down syndrome. We might as well talk about “eliminating” shortness, blue eyes, or a certain skin color. 

Our culture of death tries to hide this eugenicist, discriminatory campaign against human life behind a facade of compassion and care for the “hardships” children born with Down syndrome might face later in life. 

But it’s all based on lies. My daughter Josie will surely face hardships as she grows up with Down syndrome. But the biggest hardship of all will come, not from her diagnosis, but from confronting a culture that falsely tells her, we would have been better off if she was killed in the womb. 

October is Down syndrome awareness month. And while there’s a lot that people need to know about what it is like to live with Down syndrome – including the joy and the goodness of loving and parenting children with Down syndrome – what our culture most needs is a wake-up call. 

Right now, a diagnosis of Down syndrome is a death sentence for 67% of the babies who have this relatively common condition. That has to change. Every human being, regardless of their ability or disability, deserves the right to live. The abortion industry wants to make money off of denying this basic fact of human dignity. We can’t allow that to continue.

• Jason Law is the director of communications for Human Coalition, one of the largest pro-life organizations in the nation, which operates a growing network of Telecare and Brick-and-Mortar Women’s Care Clinics across the nation. 

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