Recently Richard Boock has been blogging about abortion and more specifically about pre-natal testing for Down Syndrome and the subsequent abortions that occur.
In his rants, Richard has spread a lot of opinion as fact and in the process has been insulting to pro-lifers and to those who have Down Syndrome and their families. He has two articles: A Woman’s Right to Choose and Defending Your Right to an Opinion.
All the usual comments, assumptions and untruths have been made. Below are some of them and my responses.
Pre-natal testing and the subsequent killing of the “high risk for Down Syndrome” child is not eugenics. If the constant barrage on pregnant women to terminate their pregnancy with a positive Down Syndrome diagnosis after pre-natal testing is not eugenics, then someone got the definition wrong, for not to many babies with Down Syndrome are being born these days – in fact one could say those who make it to birth are “endangered”.
Eugenics is the “applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population”, usually referring to human populations. (“Eugenics”, Unified Medical Language System (Psychological Index Terms) National Library of Medicine, 26 Sep. 2010.)
Women who have a positive pre-natal diagnosis (for DS) are not coerced, persuaded or encouraged to have an abortion. The point of all the prenatal testing in early pregnancy is to find any “defective” babies and destroy them. Pressure is most definitely put on women to abort their babies when it is discovered that they have a high chance of having a child with Down Syndrome. (Interestingly, a great number of so-called normal babies have been misdiagnosed as having Down Syndrome and been aborted too.)
Society would prefer to have a world where we who are “normal” don’t need to feel uncomfortable or unsure of what to say or do around people who are “different”. So that makes it okay to get “rid” of everyone who doesn’t make the mark before they are born (it’s much less confronting that way, as no one has to look the person in the eye whom they wish to eliminate from this earth).
It’s a woman’s right to choose. Except that abortion effects two people – a woman and a baby. The woman gets hurt (psychologically and sometimes physically). She has more chance of breast cancer and in subsequent pregnancies may miscarry more easily, give birth prematurely and has a greater risk of placenta previa (a potentially life-threatening condition). Does the woman choose this? I think not. The baby does not get a choice – the baby gets killed. No one has a right to kill another human being.
Pro-lifer’s don’t care about people with Down Syndrome at all, we just want to make “women carry unwanted babies to full term”. Interesting that Boock acknowledges that the whole issue of abortion is about babies. But this argument is just a scape-goat. Of course we care about people with Down Syndrome. They are people and pro-lifer’s care about people – from the moment of conception (when a person comes into being) to the moment of natural death. If we don’t care about people with Down Syndrome, why would we bother to give life to these children or foster them, adopt them, be friends with them?
Babies with Down Syndrome are not unwanted. Oh, they may be unwanted by the mother who is carrying them, but there are plenty of couples who want that child and will love them. And as for forcing a woman to carry to term – we are just asking them to be who they are – a mother. The role of a mother is to love, protect and nurture her children – whether they be born or unborn.
All pro-lifer’s are bat crazy! This is a silly comment, which some will find offensive. Yes, we possibly are “bat crazy”, not in the derrogatory way intended, but in a good way. We “bat crazy pro-lifer’s” are willing to put our lives on the line for the life of another human being. Even if it means personal humiliation. Even if it means to literally die. There is nothing greater that a human being can do than to protect, and speak up for those who have no voice.
So we will stand for the defenseless. We will speak out for those with Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, heart defects and the numerous other medical conditions that our medical profession search out for in order to destroy. And even in the face of great opposition, we will continue to spread the good news that every human being is unique, unrepeatable and infinitely valuable.
You can read Saving Down Syndrome’s response to Richard Boock’s blog here.
Thanks for the article Michelle. Savingdowns will continue to advocate strongly for those with Down syndrome. Richard was particulary offensive, which has only strengthened our cause, so for the later, we can be pleased. Most people will find attacking a disability advocacy group and supporting eugenics as particulary distasteful.
Thanks for the comment Mike. At FLI we will continue to do all we can to support you in your endeavours.
A Rebuttal of Richard Boock’s Articles by Ken Orr, Right to Life NZ
The premise of your article is based on the claim that abortion is a “woman’s right to choose.” You claim that woman should have the right to choose whenever, wherever and for whatever reason.
This claim is patently false, it has no more validity than the claim of slave owners in the United States in the 19th century who claimed that it was their right to choose to own slaves. It is always wrong to kill the innocent and nobody has the right to kill another person. Abortion entails stopping a beating heart and the killing of an innocent and defenceless member of the human family. The law in New Zealand does not recognise a woman’s right to kill her own child. The The premise of your article is based on the claim that abortion is a “woman’s right to choose.” You claim that woman should have the right to choose whenever, wherever and for whatever reason.
This claim is patently false, it has no more validity than the claim of slave owners in the United States in the 19th century who claimed that it was their right to choose to own slaves. It is always wrong to kill the innocent and nobody has the right to kill another person. Abortion entails stopping a beating heart and the killing of an innocent and defenceless member of the human family. The law in New Zealand does not recognise a woman’s right to kill her own child. The Crimes Act 1961, section 182 Killing unborn child, states that everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who causes the death of any child in utero. Abortion is permitted and excused under section 187A for serious and rare grounds.
The claim that it was a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion was invented by Dr Bernard Nathanson, a co founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League [NARAL] in the United States in the 1970s. Dr Nathanson was an abortionist who was the director of the Centre for Reproductive and Sexual Health, at that time the largest abortion facility in the United States.
Dr Nathanson, after seeing an ultra sound scan of an abortion, became convinced of the humanity of the unborn child, stopped performing abortions and became actively involved in the pro-life movement. He stated that the claim that abortion was a woman’s right to choose was a monstrous lie and that “abortion was the most atrocious holocaust in the United States.”