Its been a rough day for many who follow bioethics news. Our vice-President made us all proud by ‘fully understanding’ and ‘not second-guessing’ China’s disturbingly violent and anti-woman one-child policy. After a long and intense battle, the UK may be on the verge of finally legalizing the killing of some of the most vulnerable their culture. Oh, and then there is the horrible story of Denmark attempting to be a “Down syndrome-free perfect society.” Check out the commentary of Margaret Somerville (HT: Elizabeth Schiltz at MOJ):
At least the Danes are raising this issue. In North America, it’s estimated that more than 90 per cent of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted….Widespread, publicly endorsed and paid for prenatal screening to eliminate people with Down syndrome implicates values of respect for both individual human life and human life in general, and respect for disabled people. Collectively, these decisions implement negative eugenics regarding disabled people. It’s a “search and destroy” mission to wipe them out.
What kind of society might result from endorsing a belief that a society without disabled people is “perfect?” The use of science in the search for human perfection has been at the root of some of the greatest atrocities.
Offering routine prenatal screening sends a message that a woman is conditionally pregnant, until she’s told there’s “nothing wrong” with the baby – the fetus is certified as “normal” – or, even, is the “right sex.” This contravenes the value that parental love is unconditional – we love our children just because they’re our children.
And love is the key the point here, isn’t it? We are refusing to love the most vulnerable and are instead abandoning them in the most dramatic way possible. When, as Somerville points out, a bioethicst describes the possibility of aborting 100% of all babies with Down Sydrome as a “fantastic achievement”, we have indeed reached ‘the end of love’:
Many people get many different kinds of things from this haunting song, but the feeling I have when listening to it is the inexorable march away from love and toward death. Kind of like the feeling I get when following modern trends in bioethics.