Pro-Life news outlets are reporting on shocking remarks made at the Second Meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly in Ireland. Predictably, you won’t see coverage of the troubling talk in the rest of the media. At the conference earlier this year, Dr. Peter McParland of the National Maternity Hospital spoke about babies diagnosed prenatally with genetic defects and congenital abnormalities. As medicine advances and new interventions are available for babies in the womb, the topic is an important one.
McParland, however, is not concerned with interventions that will save lives. His anti-Life views are most clear when he discusses what he sees as positive developments in other European countries. He says in Iceland “no babies have been born with Down syndrome in the last four to five years.” He explains that a state-sponsored program ensures that all women are offered prenatal screening. McParland speaks glowingly of how in Iceland all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of an abnormality in their preborn sons or daughters opt to end the children’s lives by abortion. Similarly, McParland says, in Denmark over the past three to four years “there have only been a handful of babies with Down syndrome born.”
The anti-Life sentiments are troubling for many reasons. For one, prenatal screenings are unregulated, widely misunderstood, and dangerously misused by the medical community. Parents are not fully informed of the facts when given the results of a prenatal screening. Even if the screening is accurate, parents are often never given information about the possibilities that exist to choose Life. Understanding the dangerous limitations of prenatal screenings highlights the need to use them with caution and give parents complete and accurate information about the screening and possibilities that exist in the event of a future diagnosis.
Too often, parents are pressured to abort a child against their wishes when a doctor decides the child is “incompatible with Life.” Every year, people with Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities achieve feats previously thought impossible. Many parents of children with disabilities speak of the unimaginable joy brought to their lives by their child. Support groups for families facing similar challenges can mitigate the difficulties and help them experience the full joy of choosing Life.
The most troubling aspect of McParland’s remarks is the discrimination he advocates. A disability is not a reason to end someone’s Life. Once we begin to decide who can live based on subjective quality-of-life ethics, no one’s Right to Life is secure. If Dr. McParland were to lose his eyesight later in life, surely no one would advocate for his death since he would have an impaired quality of life. How can we say that children with Down syndrome do not have the same Right to Life as any of us?
Now we know the shocking reality of the anti-Life culture in Iceland, Denmark, and no doubt many other countries close behind. There is then no surprise that such nations ban commercials for no other reason than the fact that the ad features people with Down syndrome smiling. Texas Right to Life is working to prevent the spread of these dangerous anti-Life medical ethics through the Disabled Preborn Justice Act. Send your legislator a message showing your support for the Disabled Preborn Justice Act today.