Unborn babies with Down Syndrome deserve legal protections, because allowing them to be systematically eliminated in the womb is barbaric and puts other “genetically undesirable” people groups at risk.
In a recent Washington Post column, Ruth Marcus argues that laws in Ohio, North Dakota, and Louisiana — where a woman cannot abort her baby solely because he or she has Down Syndrome — might usher in an era where doctors and legislators thought-police women and force them to carry and bear children like in the award-winning Hulu show “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on a novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood.
Marcus argues a woman ought to be able to access an abortion for any reason she chooses because allowing the state to choose what reasons justify an abortion is constitutionally questionable. While I agree that lawmakers should invade a woman’s brain, protecting a class of people from being systematically aborted is necessary in a country where the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not dependent upon one’s genetic makeup.
The uncomfortable reality is that the abortion industry and the pro-choice movement in America have a history steeped in eugenics. Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a favorite of the Klu Klux Klan and an open supporter of Nazi sterilization laws. In 1934, she went as far as to write a federal law that would regulate who was legally allowed to bear children. Here’s an excerpt of that law:
Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable disease, and others found biologically unfit by authorities qualified judge should be sterilized or, in cases of doubt, should be so isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.
Sanger’s understanding of “biologically unfit” included children of color.
“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she wrote in a letter in 1939. “The minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
If you take a look at the abortion numbers today, Sanger’s vision of an America where fewer children of color exist has come true. African-American and Hispanic women accounted for a combined 64 percent of patients who underwent an induced abortion in 2014, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s most recent factsheet. According to the most recent data from the Census Bureau, African-Americans and Hispanic Americans totaled an estimated 31.1 percent of the U.S. population. In other words, a disproportionate number of babies from ethnic minorities are being aborted, which raises questions about the abortion industry’s business model.
Sanger envisioned an America where one’s right to life is based on her own arbitrary preferences. And it’s not just Sanger: abortion advocates have long since abandoned their call for abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.” All throughout the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton maintained a woman ought to be able to terminate a pregnancy for any reason whatsoever up until the moment before birth. She was applauded for this stance by pro-abortionists.
Allowing women unfettered access to abortion makes it easier for women to justify aborting their children solely based on those children’s genetic information. We must recognize and guard against the pro-choice movement’s uncomfortable history with eliminating people who are viewed as undesirable and set up barriers — legal and otherwise — to protect those who find themselves on the chopping block.
In parts of the world, baby girls are considered less desirable than baby boys and being eliminated in the womb in huge numbers. In India, an estimated 63 million girls are missing from the country’s population and another 21 million are left “unwanted” by their parents, according to a recent government report. As a result, nearly 50 million Indians don’t have a bride.
While China and India get most of the attention on to this issue, the practice is prevalent in a number of other countries. Armenia loses about 1,400 baby girls every year due to sex-selective abortions. In parts of the country, doctors are prohibited from telling mothers the sex of their babies at the 12-week ultrasound in order to protect these girls in the womb — although it’s common practice for doctors to sneakily break the news with non-verbal cues.
As an outsider looking into countries where baby girls are viewed as disposable, it’s plain to see that the practice of sex-selective abortion is not just barbaric, but has serious sociological ramifications for societies where it is practiced. This same principle applies to babies with intellectual disabilities.
If we accept the practice of aborting children with a chromosomal abnormality, what’s to stop us from aborting ones who possess 22 pairs of X chromosomes? Women, and men who think of themselves as allies of the fairer sex, must stand against eliminating a group of people whom some perceive as less than desirable, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it opens the door for harming other people.