In her speech on Wednesday night, the Republican nominee for Vice President, Sarah Palin, referred to her 5-month old baby as, “perfectly beautiful.” Just about every parent of an infant would say that, but what makes her statement extraordinary is that Trig has Down syndrome.
Abortion is an epidemic and smear on our culture, but the reality is even worse among pre-born children diagnosed with physical and mental disorders. With the advent of prenatal testing for pregnant women of all ages, 90% of children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. We are deciding what “normal” people look like and the kinds of kids we want to raise, and we are disposing of the rest.
What makes this form of abortion especially abhorrent is that it is not only murder, it is murder in the name of eugenics. Eugenics is the act of deciding what kinds of people are superior to others, who deserve to live, and marginalizing the rest. The most blatant form of eugenics is the legacy of the Nazi regime, which underwent a bloody policy of genocide and medical experimentation. Not only did the Nazis try to rid the world of Jews and Gypsies, they rounded up the mentally and physically handicapped, experimented on them, took them out of the normal stream of society, and exterminated thousands.
In the same morally audacious category is the current trend of aborting the same kinds of people the Nazis tried to rid the world of. In the article cited above, the accompanying video quotes the couple as worrying about the world in which their child will grow up. If there are fewer and fewer of her type around in the near future, they worry the world will be less accepting and loving of her. And I think their fear is well-founded. If we are this intolerant of these pre-born infants, how long will it be before we are that intolerant of them after they are born?
The nebulous and propagandistic slogan, “choice,” is a really bad way to justify eugenic murder. Part of what makes morality a discipline is that sometimes the right choices are hard. Families who chose to give birth to and raise a special needs child make some very hard choices, but often tell stories of unbounded and surprising love. “Choice” is lesser moral good than life, even when that life is different than ours.