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Iceland’s Down Syndrome Numbers Are Down Due to Abortion

Iceland’s Down Syndrome Numbers Are Down Due to Abortion

“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.”

The majority of females in Iceland choose to murder their unborn child if the down syndrome prenatal test comes back positive, which has led to almost no one left on the island with Down syndrome. Key thing to remember: The people on the island are NOT eliminating Down syndrome. They are murdering people with Down syndrome.

In 2009, Thordis Ingadottir became pregnant with her third child when she was 40. The test showed that her child had a slim chance of having Down syndrome, but Agusta was born with it. Only three children born in 2009 in Iceland had Down Syndrome.

From CBS News:

According to Ingadottir, three babies born with Down syndrome is “quite more than usual. Normally there are two, in the last few years.” Since the birth of her daughter, Ingadottir has become an activist for the rights of people with Down syndrome.

As Agusta grows up, “I will hope that she will be fully integrated on her own terms in this society. That’s my dream,” Ingadottir said. “Isn’t that the basic needs of life? What kind of society do you want to live in?”

CBS News sent correspondent Elaine Quijano to Iceland to investigate. Iceland uses this test:

Using an ultrasound, blood test and the mother’s age, the test, called the Combination Test, determines whether the fetus will have a chromosome abnormality, the most common of which results in Down syndrome. Children born with this genetic disorder have distinctive facial issues and a range of developmental issues. Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years.

I don’t know about you, but the people I’ve met with Down syndrome have been the most pleasant and happiest people. Full of life and joy that I wish I could achieve.

Geneticist Kary Stefansson founded deCODE Genetics, which “has studied nearly the entire Icelandic population’s genomes.” Quijano asked Stefansson about the 100% stat Iceland has almost achieved:

“It reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling,” he said. “And I don’t think that heavy-handed genetic counseling is desirable. … You’re having impact on decisions that are not medical, in a way.”

Stefansson noted, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with aspiring to have healthy children, but how far we should go in seeking those goals is a fairly complicated decision.”

Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women at Landspitali University Hospital who face the decision of having a child with Down Syndrome. She told Quijano that she tells them, “This is your life – you have the right to choose how your life will look like.”

CBS News continued:

She showed Quijano a prayer card inscribed with the date and tiny footprints of a fetus that was terminated.

Quijano noted, “In America, I think some people would be confused about people calling this ‘our child,’ saying a prayer or saying goodbye or having a priest come in — because to them abortion is murder.”

Olafsdottir responded, “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”

Not murder? Yeah. I don’t think so.

Other Countries

CBS News also pointed out the other countries that witness a high number of Down syndrome related abortions: United States at 67%, France at 77%, and Denmark at 98%.

Yes, Denmark is at 98%. From VICE (emphasis mine):

You may immediately think this astounding rate is indicative of a country that fiercely values female empowerment and independence—and according to Øjvind Lidegaard, Chairman Professor in Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the University of Copenhagen, that may very well be the case if you consider the stance taken by medical professionals. “I think that Danish women are less sentimental about aborting malformed foetuses partly because that view is supported by professional medical staff,” he tells me. “Recommending abortions isn’t an obligation but we give very realistic prognoses. 80 percent of children with malformations end up in an institution and the majority of their families go through many problems. We give parents realistic expectations about future problems and generally, women carrying foetuses with severe malformations are recommended to terminate the pregnancy.”

The author of the piece, Polina Bachlakova, admits she believes a woman should have the right to choose, but she also understands the path decisions based on Down syndrome could have:

Yet I can’t help but wonder if this particular abortion rate would still be as high if the medical path a pregnant woman in Denmark undergoes was just a tiny bit different. Because if anything, it’s a noticeable juxtaposition: professionals are telling women general presumptions about the quality of life their child could have, and using systematically-driven statistics as validation—but a pregnancy is hardly general or systematic. A pregnancy is very much an individual experience that’s largely emotionally driven. Addressing that individual and the emotional with the general and the systematic may fill some gaps, but perhaps it opens up even more for error—whether through lack of empathy, understanding or both.



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OK, Mary, abortion IS homicide. It is NOT “murder”.

“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.”

“We”? And “thing”? Those are both very scary statements when we’re talking about society and a person.

Every family I’ve known with a Down’s Syndrome member has counted that life as a great blessing. Every. One.

    KEYoder in reply to Ragspierre. | August 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I’m assuming you mean that strictly in a legal sense? But I’m not a lawyer, so I think the term would fit my “common understanding” of the word. Abortion fits all the requirements for murder except for the “no legal excuse or authority” part. ( And since I happen to think that laws legalizing abortion immorally violate one’s inalienable right to life given by our Creator, I think passing a law saying that abortion is NOT murder doesn’t make it so, anymore than passing a law saying that henceforth “salt” must be called “pepper” doesn’t make it true.

      Ragspierre in reply to KEYoder. | August 15, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Well, I do take exception to any use of the term “murder” as applied to abortion.

      The key reason is that sometimes there really is a sound medical reason to abort a pregnancy. It is rare, but exists.

      Another reason is that it is simply stupid to refer to abortions as “murder”. If you want…as I do…to see legislation that affords all humans at least an advocate in deciding who lives and who dies, you don’t use loaded terms like “murder” in our presentation.


        Arminius in reply to Ragspierre. | August 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm

        If you’re aware of any sound medical reason to end a pregnancy via abortion then please let us know. Because I’m not. This article is about a Catholic nun whose Bishop confirmed her excommunication for participating in a completed abortion. If my wording seems awkward it’s intentionally worded; per Catholic doctrine she excommunicated herself by participating in the abortion (but the ban doesn’t have to remain permanent if she truly repents).

        “…Bishop Olmsted said that Sister McBride was “automatically excommunicated” by concurring in the hospital ethics committee’s decision to abort the child. A diocesan statement said that Sister McBride “held a position of authority at the hospital and was frequently consulted on ethical matters.”

        “She gave her consent that the abortion was a morally good and allowable act according to Church teaching,” the statement continued.

        …The mother, who has not been identified, was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that the hospital said carried a near-certain risk of death for her if the pregnancy continued.”

        This article is poorly written. It’s true that the condition carries a near-certain risk of death for the mother if she continues her pregnancy to term. But according to experienced Catholic doctors/bioethicists the infant will reach viability before it becomes large enough to threaten the mother’s life. Until then the mother’s symptoms can be managed, and once the infant is viable it can be removed via C-section and placed in the premature infant ward along with the others who arrived there naturally.

        As one Catholic doctor with four decades of experience as an OB/GYN put it, after caveating his statement that he wasn’t the attending physician, he couldn’t imagine any medical need to abort an 11 week-old fetus to treat the mother’s condition. The only reason to do an abortion is that at 11 weeks it’s it’s much more convenient for the doctor.

        Catholic hospitals will not perform direct abortions. That is where the intent is kill the fetus. They will however give life-saving care (such as chemotherapy to treat cancer) to the mother that will almost certainly end the the pregnancy under the principle of “double effect.” Probably the best way to illustrate how that principle works is when using deadly force in defense of self or others. The point is to stop the unjust attack, not kill the attacker. Once you put the attacker down you don’t let him die or worse execute him. If you can you render aid and keep him alive so he can stand trial. Many people who’ve been shot do survive. If he dies he dies, but your intent wasn’t to kill him.

        The point being is that if abortions were in fact “Health care” then Catholic hospitals would have a higher maternal mortality rate then hospitals that do perform abortions. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. If it were the ACLU would be all over it. They keep filing lawsuits to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. And the courts keep throwing these suits as unwarranted.

        This particular case was interesting because it involved the hospitals and staff members refusal to abort the fetus after the amniotic sack had burst and there was no longer any amniotic fluid around the fetus. This always ends in the fetus’ death. In other words, a miscarriage had started. The irreparable harm the ACLU was alleging to the stress the mother was experiencing because the Catholic health care network refused to intervene to hurry things along instead of letting nature run its course. Not even the ACLU was alleging the woman’s lifer or physical health was in danger. If they could plausible allege the latter they would gleefully sue over it. But even the ACLU hasn’t been able to establish any case where an abortion is a medical necessity.

        But as I said, if you can think of a condition that can only be treated by ending the pregnancy through abortion, fill us in. And I’m not being sarcastic. I’d like to know.

        Milwaukee in reply to Ragspierre. | August 15, 2017 at 10:17 pm

        I will take exception to your taking exception. You are word parsing here. If a pregnancy is termed because the mother did not want to have a Down’s Syndrome baby that is premeditated Murder.

        If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg is in the Fallopian tube, chances are very good neither will survive. Removing that part of the Fallopian tube will kill the baby, but will allow the mother to live. The death of the fetus is unintended. Would that be called an “abortion”? Perhaps, but not murder or homicide.

        The word “murder” is charged, but just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes abortion is just plain and simple murder. Failing to call it a murder may help the feelings of some, but doesn’t lessen the evil of the act. Healing for the mother and father can come through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spiritual healing. Failing to acknowledge the enormity of what was done will interfere with the healing process. Denying it was murder blunts the need for Reconciliation.

          Milwaukee in reply to Milwaukee. | August 15, 2017 at 10:22 pm

          Not “termed”. “…terminated.” Sorry.

          Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | August 15, 2017 at 11:57 pm

          Milwaukee, my (perhaps flawed) understanding of the RC Church’s position is that a woman with an ectopic pregnancy can have surgery to remove the bit of tube the baby is attached to, even though that will inevitably kill the baby. And if the tube is ruptured then the baby is already dying so saving the mother is the only priority.

          Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | August 15, 2017 at 11:59 pm

          Oops. I missed the main point, which is that Catholics would not call that an abortion. Nothing is being done to the baby; the surgery is entirely to the mother, and the baby is merely collateral damage.

          Arminius in reply to Milwaukee. | August 16, 2017 at 4:07 am

          You’re doing pretty good, Milhouse. The elements to be considered when applying the principle of double effect in general are:

          1. The act itself is good.
          2. The intended effect is good.
          3. The unintended or evil effect is not out of proportion to the intended good effect.

          In the case of pregnancy the Catholic doctor always understands that he or she has two patients, and both lives are equally valuable. Somehow a malicious rumor has grown that Catholics will sacrifice the mother to save the baby. That isn’t true. It’s against Catholic theology to sacrifice one human being to preserve the life of another. In the case of ectopic pregnancy (ectopic merely means “out of place” and ninety five percent are in the fallopian tube it can be any extrauterine pregnancy including, say, in the abdomen) I understand it’s possible to use drugs or surgery to detach the embryo from the fallopian tube but that’s never morally acceptable. Because that constitutes a direct abortion which is intrinsically evil. So the act itself is not good.

          Removing all or part of the fallopian tube is called salpingectomy. If the ectopic pregnancy doesn’t resolve itself naturally via an early miscarriage then removing all or part of the fallopian tube, called salpingectomy, is the only morally acceptable way to resolve the situation. Because now you’re not directly attacking the child but compromised or infected tissue. Fallopian tube damage is one of the most common causes of an ectopic pregnancy, although sometimes ectopic pregnancies occur for no apparent reason. Even if there was no tissue damage before the ectopic pregrnancy there is now and it gets worse the longer it goes on. One of the primary risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy is a prior ectopic pregnancy.

          Intent is really the deciding factor. If you intended to bring about the good effect of saving the mother’s life by intentionally terminating the life of the child then that’s an abortion. If you intended to save the mother’s life by removing damaged tissue then that isn’t an abortion, even though it does mean the child will die.

        KEYoder in reply to Ragspierre. | August 15, 2017 at 11:10 pm

        Perhaps I over-generalized a bit. Let me modify my statement to say that I consider the deliberate termination of any pregnancy which would in the normal course of events result in the successful delivery of a living child to be murder. The embryo in an ectopic pregnancy would never survive long enough to be born, even if no one intervened. And indeed doing nothing would endanger the life of the mother. Termination of such a pregnancy is not murder IMO. (But in my quick, limited survey of websites discussing this problem, I could find none who referred to such a termination as an abortion.)

        Is using this terminology “loaded” or “accurate”? I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that one. I do see your point, and perhaps it may be more pragmatic to use other terms, but eventually using polite, fancy language can become just a way of lying to ourselves or others to cover up something unpleasant. You can call it a “honey wagon” if you want to, it doesn’t change the fact that that vehicle is hauling human waste.

          Milwaukee in reply to KEYoder. | August 15, 2017 at 11:30 pm

          Pretending to be polite, and not referring to abortion as murder excuses all those who have participated in abortion. Who, having aborted their child, wants to admit that was murder, and make themselves culpable. But in order to be healed they must admit to what they have done. If we pretend it isn’t murder then the perpetrators don’t need to be sorrowful, or remorseful, or guilty and in need of repentance. In short, that would be dishonest.

        Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | August 15, 2017 at 11:45 pm

        The key reason is that sometimes there really is a sound medical reason to abort a pregnancy. It is rare, but exists.

        If the reason is sound enough that it would justify killing an already-born person then it justifies killing a not-yet-born person too.

    Mary Chastain in reply to Ragspierre. | August 15, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Read the article. The subheadline comes from a quote from an Icelandic counselor. NOT ME.

      Ragspierre in reply to Mary Chastain. | August 15, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      “The majority of females in Iceland choose to murder their unborn child if the down syndrome prenatal test comes back positive…”

      But that’s all you. Or am I mistaken?

Isis is having similar success eliminating the incidence of Christianity syndrome from their population.

A progressive slope.

The semantics have changed, but the results are the same. [class] diversity denies individual dignity. Pro-Choice/abortion denies lives deemed unworthy, inconvenient, or profitable.

Harkens back to when Iran’s leaders famously boasted that they didn’t have any homosexuals in Iran, even while they actively and quite publicly continued to hang and otherwise kill any homosexuals they found.

nordic_prince | August 15, 2017 at 2:18 pm

I am struck by the Icelandic doctors calling Downs Syndrome a “disease.” It is not a “disease;” it is a condition. These children, while they might have some physical abnormalities that are common and therefore readily treatable, are more or less as healthy as you or I. The whole “quality of life” shtick is nothing but a smokescreen to detract from the real issue: people want to play God by determining who lives and who dies, and they don’t want to tolerate imperfection in their midst.

Today it is the DS baby who is deemed unworthy of life merely because he is “imperfect” and “different.” Who will it be tomorrow? Those who are autistic? Those who are “too old”? Those who are “too intelligent”? Those who “cling to outdated beliefs”? Those who have “incorrect” thoughts about climate change, about homosexuality, about guns, about freedom and privacy, about differences between the sexes? Those who refuse to be “re-educated”?

Once you give in to a taste for blood, that taste is never sated.

    Totally agree… and regarding “quality of life” I have a cousin with DS and have known several other people with DS throughout my life and I’ve found all of them to be among the happiest people I know.

    Mary Chastain in reply to nordic_prince. | August 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Like I said in the article, every single person I have met with Down syndrome have been the happiest and kindest.

      Anonamom in reply to Mary Chastain. | August 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      It is actually a hallmark of the condition. When I was pregnant, I chose to have the AFP test (solely in order to [potentially] flag spina bifida, as there would potentially be in utero treatment available. Abortion would never be an option.) Our daughter was considered to be highly likely to be a Downs child, so I prepared for that. People with Downs are truly Christ’s lambs; the idea that entire nations of people are slaughtering them in the name of convenience is just horrifying.

      Thank you for covering this issue, Ms. Chastain.

    Perhaps the next step will be to stop encouraging women to have an abortion when they are carrying a child with Down Syndrome, and to start arresting and prosecuting women who don’t have an abortion. Since the government regards a Down Syndrome child as unworthy of the privilege of living, any woman who would give birth to such a child must obviously be guilty of child abuse or cruelty to animals or something.

Imagine if they find a genetic marker for conservative thought.

So if you kill everyone who has cancer, does that mean you’ve cured cancer?

    Mary Chastain in reply to HamiltonNJ. | August 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    According to those in Iceland…..yes.

    nordic_prince in reply to HamiltonNJ. | August 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    They would say they’ve “eliminated” it. Of course, unless one deals with the root cause, it is improper to state that it’s “cured” or “eliminated” or whatever.

    Following this logic, you could “eliminate” poverty by giving everyone a million dollars. But of course that doesn’t address the root cause of poverty: the attitude towards money and/or work. How many lottery winners and athletes with beaucoup bucks wind up declaring bankruptcy? I rest my case.

I am confounded by the logic of “preventing suffering for the child…” By killing it? Its not like children with DS live a life filled with pain and agony… Such a disturbing comment.

My wife and I had an encounter with a genetic counselor years ago when she signed up to be part of a trial for a test similar to this. Something turned up such that we were told it would be best if we met with the counselor. She was very grave as she described the test findings and it was quite unsettling (though there was 0 chance we ever would have ended the pregnancy).

Being a math oriented person I ask for the numbers and was told that the odds were something like 1:300 vs the normal 1:900 given my wife’s age. I was stunned that the counselor took such a grave approach to a scenario where the probability of a positive was so low. We immediately felt much better and left but I could see the dark side of genetic counseling described in this piece clearly from the one brief encounter.

This is a very sad day! As was the day and reason, abortion was fought for in America.

So when Grandma develops Alzheimer’s or dementia and can no longer recognize her own family or even be sentient enough to know where she even is, does she become a “thing” that can be ended, especially if her continued existence has no quality of life or is a burden upon the family?

My own mother developed Alzheimer’s. As the disease progressed we watched her sentience degrade, slowly at first until we were left with no choice other than to place her in an Alzheimer’s care facility where she could be watched 24/7.

Towards the end she could no longer recognize me or my sister, or any of the grandchildren whom she doted upon endlessly. A couple days before she passed, I was sitting bedside. She could no longer converse. She couldn’t even respond to sound or motion around her.

I began speaking to her in her native tongue, a language she had not spoken since she was a small child. We never spoke it at home, it was English only. I learned the language on my own just to preserve my own heritage.

She began to whisper back at me in the same language. Her voice was too weak to really know what she said. She looked at me too weak to cry but tears were streaming down her cheeks. That is the last memory I have of my mother. A memory I would never have if the law deemed her to be no more than a thing.

    DieJustAsHappy in reply to MadisonS. | August 15, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I find your account deeply, deeply moving. Your making every effort to let your mother know that she is loved and not alone. Who knows the depths of a person’s being but the Lord God alone. How can we as mortal beings that we are think we can say with certain?

    Although we may not have a confirmation of understanding, we remain with them in their our of need. I think your mother’s tears was a confirmation of understanding between the two of you.
    Everyone who is under-going such a circumstance as you mother ought to have a person like yourself to be with them in their time of greatest need. God bless you.

    Anonamom in reply to MadisonS. | August 15, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    What a terribly difficult path you walked, MadisonS. Isn’t it amazing how we can learn deep truth in the midst of suffering? I am only very, very sorry that you all went through such pain.

    We lost my much beloved grandmother at 92 to ALS. It was horrific. She first lost her ability to swallow, then her ability to speak, and then her ability to write notes. Her mind remained clear throughout it all. In her pain, however, we would see her continuing to call out to Christ (she was Catholic and prayed posturally, Vatican 2 or no Vatican 2.) It is perhaps an indication of our human condition that we can understand Christ’s sacrifice best through our own suffering.

    Thank you very much for sharing your story. You have blessed many others and it is much appreciated.

      MadisonS in reply to Anonamom. | August 16, 2017 at 2:32 am

      I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and words, and sharing their own stories. Anonamom talks of her own grandmother with ALS.

      If a person with ALS were no more than a “thing to be ended” we would have been deprived of the intellect and wisdom of Stephen Hawking and his contributions to science and mankind in general.

      People with Down’s syndrome, as we see from other posts above can lead full and productive lives, and even make a name for themselves.

      In the 1991 Roberto Benigni movie Johnny Stechino, Dante played by Benigni is a school bus driver for special needs children. He befriends one student, Lilo, played by Alessandro De Santis, who in life has down syndrome. Dante is a body double for a mafia snitch who has a hit contract out on him. Dante and Lilo scheme to foil the mob and protect each other.

      Beningni did not overshadow his costar but let DeSantis’ performance convey emotion and humanity. Overall, the film is a lighthearted comedy. The bond between Dante and Lilo also made it bittersweet. Spoiler alert! The ending is hilarious.

Here in the US, about 85% of the pregnancies where testing has indicated that the child has Down’s Syndrome are terminated so we’re not far behind Iceland.

Here in Katy, there is a young man with Down’s Syndrome who is marketing specialty foods (i.e. hot sauces and I believe Barbeque sauce) he developed through the local HEB grocery stores and they are very popular. For a ‘thing’, he is doing quite well.

I haven’t seen China mentioned yet, where if a child is born with Downs Syndrome it never leaves the delivery room alive. And, of course, isn’t reflected in their official infant death statistics.

This is pretty close to the way Iran “eliminated” homosexuality.

Conservative0317 | August 15, 2017 at 6:33 pm

There is a pizza shop in town* (delicious, authentic New York Sicilian style pizza!) that purposely hires DS teens to teach them job skills, many of whom go on to work at other pizza restaurants. I admire his benevolence!

*Can I name it, to give him a plug?

Conservative0317 | August 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Since it it not the baby’s responsibility for having DS, but the genes of the parents, to “end this thing” shouldn’t we be aborting the parents?

    Ragspierre in reply to Conservative0317. | August 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Well, no, to be precise, there is nothing about the genes of the parents that causes DS. It’s a thing that happens in perfectly normal parents. There is a tendency for it to occur more often in older mothers. But only that.

There’s an ironic connection – the people who want to read down Lee’s statue because Africans were defined as subhuman to justify enslaving them… are the same people who define babies as subhuman to justify killing them.

And oh, since we are all “Nazis now (ie. subhuman) I bet it will be our turn soon. But fear not, I hear the GOP is going to propose a Democrat vs Republican softball exhibition to promote bipartisan unity.

Tear down not read down. Why does stupid smart phone stealth edit words that are spelled correctly? Maybe it’s a harbingef of the Curse of Babylon coming round again.

Or maybe I should read the user manual… nah, that would be like stopping to ask for directions. So, harbinger.