Eugenics in New Zealand to be Discussed at Seminar

Life itself is a basic human right that is deserving of all humanity. But sadly in our country eugenics is denying that right to a group of individuals based on their genetic difference. Mr Mike Sullivan, spokesperson for Saving Downs says “The situation is so serious here that the International Criminal Court is now carrying out a preliminary examination into our genetic screening practices. These practices are discriminatory and eugenic in nature, as they prevent the births of children because of their biological differences.”

The term eugenics was coined by Sir Francis Galton in 1883. Under Galton’s vision of eugenics, negative eugenics includes decreasing the occurrence of so-called ‘undesirable’ genes. Eugenics is one dynamic that influences the judgment of people’s abilities and the disabling consequences. In New Zealand genetic screening is decreasing the natural occurrence of people with conditions such as Down Syndrome and reinforcing discrimination against our community.

To raise awareness around this issue, and as part of an ongoing social justice campaign, Saving Downs and Family Life International NZ, are joining together to hold a one day seminar on Saturday 4 August in Ponsonby, Auckland. Loving Every Child: Defying Eugenics is being held to educate the public and discuss the ramifications of eugenics and what the International Criminal Court case means for the disabled. Topics include: a personal testimony of a young man with Down syndrome; by what right are they not human beings?; a history of eugenics; current practice and how it links with eugenics; advocating for Down syndrome in the room and in the womb; and a Spina Bifida perspective.

Mike Sullivan who laid the complaint with the International Criminal Court says, “This seminar is vital for informing the public of a eugenic program which is being thrust upon the vulnerable in our community and our response to secure social justice for them.”

Mrs Colleen Bayer, director of Family Life International NZ says “Genetic screening practices devalue the lives of people with disabilities and endangers them, as the history of the use of genetic selection shows”.

“We encourage media participation in facilitating public debate around this issue. Our seminar presents an excellent opportunity to learn more about the case under examination by the International Criminal Court, and the eugenic nature of genetic screening programmes.” Mr Sullivan says.

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