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Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Down Syndrome-Free Country

Did the blog post title get your attention? Yeah, it got mine too. How about this for a headline: Plans to Make Denmark a Down Syndrome-Free Perfect Society.

Forget for a moment the Down syndrome-free part; but perfect? Please. There is no such thing as a perfect society. There just isn't. And even if there are no people with Down syndrome in a particular country, it still won't make it 'perfect.' What about criminals? What about those with any other kind of disability? Why is Down syndrome always singled out as being expendable?

Back to the original point. This headline hurt. Like a punch in the gut. I know there is all this research to 'improve' prenatal testing for an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Down syndrome (presumably so more abortions could happen), but for a country to come right out and basically admit they want, or are trying to have, a society free of individuals with Down syndrome? Wow. Just wow. Like a slap in the face.

The article doesn't say exactly how they plan on achieving this, just that they have "put their foot on the ground to promote increase abortions of fetuses suspected of having Down syndrome." Suspected of having Ds? Are they even going to confirm through an amnio or CVS?  

The article goes on to say that if "progress continues at this rate, the last case to be born with this illness will be the year 2030." Huh? How can you predict something like that? You can't prevent Down syndrome from happening since it happens at conception. And surely there are some Danish women who will either decline prenatal testing, or decline an abortion. I would hope they couldn't actually make women have an abortion because their baby was prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Apparently Denmark started to "control the number of children with Down syndrome born in Denmark" since 2004 (how in the world did they do this? Just highly encourage and persuade women to get abortions?). Whatever they are doing has worked though because the number of cases of Down syndrome births has fallen by 13% annually. 

I even took Kayla to Denmark a few months before her 2nd birthday. I have cousins over there (who happen to adore her; and I know you can't judge a whole country's citizens on what the government/medical establishment is doing. I know not every single Dane feels this way.) Joe and I had been talking about going to Denmark next year. He's never been and again, I have cousins over there we would like to visit. But reading this article sure did make me pause and reconsider if I really want to take my daughter to a country where they are actively trying to eliminate people like her. Although, maybe a whole bunch of families should take their loved one with Down syndrome over to Denmark and flaunt them around ... show them it isn't such a terrible thing. Show them they fit in just fine with their society. Show them they are living and loving life, thankyouverymuch.

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15 comments:

laurahlj said...

I am shocked and disgusted by this article. Down syndrome is a blessing not a curse!

Mom24 said...

It gives me goose bumps. Truly. Shades of Hitler.

starrlife said...

Wow.wow. I'm stunned. Eugenics is a Nazi heritage. To have personal feelings about this is one thing, individual choice is another, government policy is a whole other ball game. I'll go to Denmark with you!

Our Family said...

holy crap...i say the next Ds conference is in Denmark! :)

Roo's Mom said...

Here's what I wrote in the comments section on the article.
"What next? Do we face a future of terminating all fetuses deemed "imperfect?" Where do we draw the line? I'd take every person with Down syndrome I have met, and there are many, over any person who feels they do not belong in society. Denmark wants to be a "Down syndrome free perfect society?" They will become a heartless, soul-less society in doing so." Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

mommasmurf said...

Amazing what people can think! I am saddened to say it is a common thought here in Germany as well (and you'd think they would have learned their lesson!) Families often have only one child, and the baby just isn't thought of as a person before it is born. I think that same thinking happens in the States though. So wrong and sad!!

Bonita said...

Sickening! I shudder to think of what other ways this might be implemented other than what was mentioned in the article. Sounds like Hitler!

Bailey's Leaf said...

I have to pause a moment to form words. Hold please . . .

I'm wondering if they are running some TV thing stating all of these horrible things about folks with Down Syndrome, if they have some book that they give to people at their first prenatal appointment or how exactly it is that they are encouraging abortion of Down Syndrome babies. I'm literally shaking my head in disbelief.

You know, this whole thing takes be back to the woman in Italy (I believe) who was to have twins, one was aborted because of Down Syndrome and they aborted the "wrong" one. I agree with Mom24 with the statement of "Shades of Hitler."

People are idiots. (That's a lot more polite than what I could have sad.)

AZ Chapman said...

this is messed up on soo many levels I have friends with DS I can not igmane life without them I hope u do not take this the wrong way but i am so happy that CP can not be tested for prnadily

Sunny said...

A few years before I got pregnant with Antalya I had a Danish friend that was living over here in the states. She got pregnant with her first child and through prenatal testing found out the child had Ds. She battled over keeping the baby or not for several days before ultimately deciding to abort it due to family pressures from back home and because as she told me, there are just no children like that in Denmark and she wouldn't know what to do. I didn't agree with her decision. I thought she must be exaggerating, but maybe it really is true, that she had never before even seen a child with Ds in Denmark.
Once my daughter was born and she saw just how beautiful and "normal" she was, she really regretted her decision. It makes me so sad for all the women that are pressured into abortions not realizing what they are giving up.

Joel said...

Great post! Thanks for the rhetorical battle you are waging. My wife and I try to do the same at our blog.

Treasures Evermore said...

I'm assuming abortion to make the "perfect"...sickening..disgusting.

Takes me back to the concentration camps my in-laws use to tell me about.

Oh one day this will come back and it will be horrible. It will bite them forever.

So very sad, sad, sad.

Cindy said...

Wow. I don't even know what to say. They must be uneducated... they don't understand who they are trying to eliminate. Are they afraid? So sad.

Ima Stounded said...

That is a lousy article. Yes, there is some truth in it, but it is not entirely true. The screening is being OFFERED, not mandated, and termination is optional, not required. They have been doing this since 2004. See this article, it's a bit more accurate:

http://www.cphpost.dk/component/content/51921.html?task=view

Please take the time to cut/paste this link from the Copenhagen newspaper--you will see that not everyone thinks this is a good idea and that there continues to be a vibrant ethical discussion about the process. That article you cited was a vanity piece that isn't telling the whole story but making it appear that the Danes are a bunch of eugenic-loving freaks.

Nova Scotia Dad said...

I can not believe some of the comments I have been reading in response to this article. There seems to be an uwful lot of support for the article in the cyber world. I am saddened more then ever today with the state of humanity. My daughter is a blessing to all those that have ever come in contact with her. DS is not a life sentence of life long care for the severely disabled like I have read far too many times today. I am afraid of where we are headed on this planet.