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Reblogged:Abortion Isn't Genocide, Either

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Over at Commentary magazine, an article by Sohrab Ahmari argues that the near-eradication of Down Syndrome in Iceland is a Bad Thing:

... With new tests that can detect chromosomal abnormalities earlier in the pregnancy and with greater precision, an entire category of human beings faces extermination in societies that claim to prize tolerance and diversity above all.

Well, not if Charlotte "Charlie" Fien has something to say about it.

The 21-year-old from Surrey, England, is fast emerging as one of Europe's most important anti-eradication advocates. Her activism is especially compelling because Fien is living proof against the argument, frequently proffered by those who support systematic prenatal detection and abortion, that people with the disability are miserable.
First of all, let's be clear on something: supporting a woman's individual right to decide what to do with her own body is not the same thing as "systematic prenatal detection and abortion" (whatever that's supposed to mean), so let's set that smear aside and get down to brass tacks: Whatever Charlie Fien's quality of life may be, it is completely irrelevant to the question of whether a woman has the right to decide what to do with her own body or her own life. On this matter, I will defer to Ayn Rand's clear, concise explanation of the issues at stake:
Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a "right to life." A piece of protoplasm has no rights -- and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone's benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.
That said, the author makes it seem as if Iceland mandates termination of pregnancies with positive screens for Down Syndrome. It doesn't, nor should it. In fact, for the government to coerce any aspect of such a personal decision, for or against (including funding or banning it), is an abuse of government power.

It is heartening, for the sake of some who have Down Syndrome, that they can live happy lives. And a pregnant woman who knows about this can certainly take this into consideration, should she receive news that she faces the prospect of raising a child with this syndrome. But that is where such news should begin and end. If "anti-eradication" advocacy consisted merely of an education campaign, I would have no problem with it, but it doesn't end there: Anti-abortion activists are taking advantage of the fact that neither side of the anti-abortion debate understands individual rights by working, sometimes successfully, to ban abortions performed for this reason:
Indiana's new law prevents a person from performing an abortion if he knows the pregnant woman wishes to abort the unborn baby because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other disability. It also prevents abortions due to the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the child.
Notice how this religiously-motivated law is designed to appeal to the shared altruism and collectivism of the left via a laundry list of collectives allegedly injured by abortion. Unlike the authors of this law, let us spare a thought for the forgotten woman: She is pregnant and wants what is best for herself. And, if she is at all responsible, she also wants the best for any child she chooses to bring into the world. It is wrong to meddle with such a decision and appalling to do so while mouthing platitudes about equality.

-- CAV

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