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Letter: Eradicating Down syndrome is indeed a slippery slope

Eradicating Down syndrome is indeed a slippery slope

I found George Will’s March 15 column regarding the almost fanatical resolve by Iceland, Denmark and other countries to eradicate Down syndrome babies through abortion to be sobering and rather concerning. What are the next categories of unborn babies that will be determined unfit to be born solely because they may not be “desirable” members of society?

We are looking squarely at a slippery slope, which may include any number of disabled persons with ailments such as cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, emotional health problems, etc. Are any such persons less than fully human?

It appears that the main objective of such “forward thinking” is to create a brave new world in which only healthy, perfectly formed infants are welcome.

Taking it a step further, let’s look ahead to a future in which our aging population will be in need of more assisted care facilities and costly medical care. It’s not too much of a stretch to envision the elderly and disabled to be viewed as unfit, nonproductive members of society who should thus be euthanized in order to ease society’s burden.

We must, of course, acknowledge the great challenges that fall on families and society as a whole to care for those with special needs. But we must be very cautious of a mindset in which certain members of this country and this planet are seen to be expendable, or less worthy of an opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential.

And who’s to say that an ideal world does not include people with disabilities and challenges, which we are all obligated to face with determination, kindness and compassion?

Finally, how often do we hear of people with Down syndrome being responsible for violent crimes, or notice them displaying such unflattering qualities as greed, arrogance and boorish behavior? Or is this more characteristic of many “normal,” able-bodied people?

Michael Scully


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