“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.
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) August 15, 2017
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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