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A “Search and Destroy” Mission Against Down Syndrome Babies

“What did Jon Will and the more than 350,000 American citizens like him do to tick off the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists? It seems to want to help eliminate from America almost all of a category of citizens, a category that includes Jon.”

Those are the opening words of George F. Will’s powerful column published in the January 29, 2007 issue of Newsweek. Will writes with unusual passion — as well he should. He writes not only as an influential columnist, but as Jon Will’s father. Jon Will has Down syndrome.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is now calling for all pregnant women to be tested for Down syndrome. Here is a section of the ACOG’s press release:

All pregnant women, regardless of their age, should be offered screening for Down syndrome, according to a new Practice Bulletin issued today by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Previously, women were automatically offered genetic counseling and diagnostic testing for Down syndrome by amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) if they were 35 years and older.

The new ACOG guidelines recommend that all pregnant women consider less invasive screening options for assessing their risk for Down syndrome, a common disorder that is caused by an extra chromosome and can result in congenital heart defects and mental retardation. Screening for Down syndrome should occur before the 20th week of pregnancy.

Here is how Will sees it:

The ACOG guidelines are formally neutral concerning what decisions parents should make on the basis of the information offered. But what is antiseptically called “screening” for Down syndrome is, much more often than not, a search-and-destroy mission: At least 85 percent of pregnancies in which Down syndrome is diagnosed are ended by abortions.

Will is precisely right. This is a “search and destroy mission” aimed at the elimination of Down syndrome births. The screening is not value-neutral. America has seen a radical drop in Down syndrome births — not because the syndrome has disappeared, but because the babies are being aborted

The pattern grows more clear when women who are told that their babies are likely to have Down syndrome are just not seen again by their obstetrician. The next stop is the abortionist.

Some even suggest that parents advised of this diagnosis have a “duty to abort” the baby, so that they do not inflict the world with another individual marked by Down syndrome. As George Neumayr commented in 2005, “Each year in America fewer and fewer disabled infants are born. The reason is eugenic abortion. Doctors and their patients use prenatal technology to screen unborn children for disabilities, then they use that information to abort a high percentage of them. Without much scrutiny or debate, a eugenics designed to weed out the disabled has become commonplace.”

The world would be a poorer place without Jon Will and other Americans with Down syndrome. Many eventually lead independent lives and all deserve our love, respect, protection, and care.

Who else would we eliminate by prenatal testing and abortion? Which category of human beings is targeted for the next genetic “search and destroy mission?”