Media Release 20th March 2018
Tomorrow the 21st March we celebrate Down syndrome Day where we recognise the unique contribution that Down people make to our families and communities.
As we celebrate these remarkable persons, as a nation, we must ask ourselves some very searching questions. Why does the government not protect the lives of disabled children? Why is the government still engaged in a shameful search and destroy mission to eliminate children with Down syndrome from our nation?
The Ministry of Health introduced in February 2010, a non -invasive prenatal screening program to identify babies with Down syndrome or another disability. The program is promoted as being a service to women. Dr Jane O’Halloran National Screening Director stated in 2014, that screening is optional and was offered to provide women with more information on pregnancy and to offer them the option of abortion. This is simply eugenics, uncontestable, where only the fit may live. It is discrimination against the disabled and is in fact genocide which seeks to eliminate a specific group of human beings.
Every child is a unique and unrepeatable miracle of God’s creation endowed with an inalienable right to life. A child does not forfeit its right to life because it has Down syndrome.
In 2010 the government ceased recording how many babies were being killed before they were born, on the grounds of having Down syndrome or another disability. Right to Life believes that the government wanted to hide its program for the extermination of babies with Down syndrome.
There is a concerted international campaign to eliminate children with Down syndrome. In Iceland nearly 100 per cent of children are violently murdered before they are born, in the USA it 67 per cent and in the UK it is 90 per cent. This is genocide, a crime against humanity and the world community watches in a cowardly silence.
The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has publicly pledged to decriminalise abortion and remove it from the Crimes Act 1961. She has committed to make the killing of the unborn a health issue. Should we follow Victoria and Canada, the law will allow the killing of the unborn including the disabled and those with Down syndrome up to birth. The decriminalisation of abortion will escalate the war against children with Down syndrome or another disability.
Right to Life believes that unborn children with Down syndrome are being killed unlawfully. The Crimes Act allows the abortion of children up to 20 weeks gestation if there is risk that the child has a severe disability. The World Health Organisation classifies Down syndrome as a mild to moderate disability, not a severe disability. Why then are clinicians offering and indeed encouraging women to have their child killed illegally when it has been revealed in screening, that it has Down syndrome?
UN committee opposes abortion based on disabilities. Right to Life asks the Prime Minister what action she will take to ensure that the right to life of disabled children in the womb in New Zealand are protected in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
Right to Life
the following article is a transcript from the Albertmohler.com website on 8th March 2018 and concerns Down Syndrome. It makes interesting reading.
Why America’s double-mindedness is glaringly apparent at the intersection of Down syndrome and abortion
America’s double mindedness in moral terms has become glaring apparent. But perhaps on one issue more than any other. This one issue, the intersection of Down syndrome and abortion, demonstrates perhaps more graphically than any other issue or intersection exactly what’s at stake in our current moral confusion.
Ariana Eunjung Cha reporting for the Washington Post this week tells us that babies with Down syndrome are put on center stage in the US abortion fight. She goes on to explain that several states have passed or are considering laws that would outlaw abortion for the sole reason of the diagnosis of Down syndrome. States already adopting such legislation include North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana. And as the report states these states have put quote, “Down syndrome front and center in the abortion debate when the condition is becoming more widely understood and accepted in the United States.”
She goes on to report this, quote, “In many neighborhoods today, children with Down syndrome participate in mainstream classrooms and on sports team. Companies, include Safeway, Walgreens, and Home Depot have created programs to train and employ adults with the condition, along with adults with other disabilities. This year, Gerber, the maker of baby food, lit up social media with expressions of delight when it announced that it has chosen Lucas Warren, who has Down syndrome as the company’s newest spokesbaby,” end quote.
But even as Americans delight in these children with Down syndrome, we continue to be a culture which, according to the latest, most accurate account, aborts at least 67% of all unborn children diagnosed with a propensity to Down syndrome in the womb.
But, as Ariana Eunjung Cha reports for the Washington Post, there is tremendous opposition, even to these bills outlawing abortion for the sole reason of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The story quotes Karrie Galloway, identified as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. She said, quote, “Many parents find that having a child with Down syndrome is the right decision for them, but this does not mean that their experience should lead to a law that forces other families into the same situation,” end quote. Here, notice you’re talking about a unborn human being, made in the image of God, and a Planned Parenthood leader has the audacity to say that other families shouldn’t be put quote, “into the same situation,” end quote. Human dignity is simply here denied. The entire context here reduced to a situation.
The Washington Post suggests that the big legal and political background here is the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision and efforts by various state legislatures since then to limit abortion, even in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision. And that’s profoundly true. The Down syndrome bills, however, are dismissed by so many simply because they’re going to support abortion rights and will oppose any restriction, any restriction whatsoever on abortion rights. This would include not only Planned Parenthood but the entire national Democratic party as the Democratic party speaks through its national platform. These days as we’ve seen, even in yesterday’s edition of The Briefing, a Democratic candidate, even for Congress, who holds any kind of pro-life convictions, is likely to face primary opposition. We’re seeing the issue now so divisive in America. We’re seeing that tremendous moral divide, not only on abortion and the sanctity of human life, but now on the specific question of the moral and ontological status. That means, the status of being of children with Down syndrome and unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome.
The Washington Post report makes clear that one of the technical issues of the background here is the existence of blood tests and genetic tests that indicate the propensity, the likelihood, that the unborn child is marked by the genetic pattern of Down syndrome. And the Post tells us that this blood test is not yet routine in the United States, though many medical authorities are calling for it to me.
But then the Post report goes on with this, and I quote, “In Britain, where the National Health Service offers a screening for the condition in all pregnant women and the abortion rate for pregnancies that test positive is estimated to be as high as 90 percent, the BBC, that’s the British Broadcasting Corporation has explored the idea of, and this put in quotes, ‘A World without Down’s Syndrome.’ In Denmark,” the article continues, “where testing is widespread, the Copenhagen Post has reported that Denmark ‘could be a country without a single citizen with Down’s syndrome in the not too distant future.’ And in China,” the Post continues, “the state-run CCTV has not-so-subtly reminded would-be parents through its social-media channels that,” and these are the words of the Chinese network, “‘current medical science has no effective prevention or treatment measures’ for Down syndrome — but that the issue can be, and these again are the words of the network, “discovered through prenatal screening.”
The Post is absolutely right when it describes this Chinese message as not so subtle. It’s basically a government message calling upon parents to undergo the test and then to abort any baby that would have a Down syndrome indication.
The Port article goes on. I quote again, “The bills making their way through U.S. state legislatures come on the heels of a report that aired on CBS in the summer that Iceland is eradicating Down syndrome. The report as it goes on, created an uproar. Author Bonnie Rochman, writing in Quartz, called the situation in Iceland a disturbing, eugenics-like reality.” The story continues. “The Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton tweeted that ‘Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.’” That is remarkable, even stunning, moral clarity and the statement bears repeating. I quote it again. Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference. Big difference indeed.
I appreciate the fact that the Washington Post article goes on to report that thanks to medical advances and better integration into society, many individuals with Down syndrome are according to the paper, living long, productive, and happy lives. The average life span amongst people with Down Syndrome has more than doubled from 25 years in just 1983 to about 60 years now. The BBC report cited in the Washington Post was dated September 29, 2016. The subhead in that report was this: 90% of people in the UK who know their child will be born with Down syndrome have an abortion.” So there are concerns,” says the BBC, “that a new highly accurate test to identify babies with the condition will lead to even more terminations.”
Now, let’s just remember the math that the BBC has reported. We’re starting with 90% of these babies aborted and the BBC says, “There’s now a concern that that number could increase.” There appears to be no adequate more alarm at the number of 90%, but here’s where Christians have to understand and state clearly that that shocking figure of 90%, or the even more shocking numbers coming from Denmark and Iceland, shouldn’t be shocking to us so much in the raw numbers. They should be shocking to us in the wrong moral reality. In the Christian Biblical reality we understand that every single human, at every point of development from fertilization until natural death, under every state and described by every condition is an individual made in the image of God. Is one of God’s gifts to creation and especially to humanity and, as an image bearer of God, is to be celebrated and welcomed and treasured by the human community. If the Christian Church does not understand this then how can we expect anyone else to understand this?
One of the most important statements made in that BBC report is this. Quote, “I believe Down Syndrome is a life worth saying yes to. Every life matters regardless of the number of chromosomes we have,” referring to the genetic pattern that produces Down Syndrome, that’s particularly powerful. “Every life matters regardless of the number of chromosomes we have.” Indeed, every life does matter. Every life, regardless of the number of chromosomes. That CBS report cited in the Washington Post article cites one medical authority in Iceland. A nation in which it’s declared that Down Syndrome has virtually disappeared, it quoted the authority as saying quote, “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we needed. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication, preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think,” said the doctor, “That is more right than seeing it is murder. That’s a black and white. Life isn’t black and white life is gray.” End quote.
Well, there’s the collapse of human dignity in the secular worldview for everyone to see. “Life isn’t black and white, life is gray. We don’t look at abortion as murder,” she says, “We look at it as a thing that was needed.” Just think about that, “A thing that was needed.” We’re not going to call it murder, simply because we’re going to decide not to call it murder. These are inconvenient human beings and Iceland is going to rid itself of the danger of inconvenient human beings, but here is where we need to know you don’t have to follow a slippery slope theory to understand what just the history of the 20th Century tells us about deciding that some lives are not worthy of life.
[foreign language 00:10:07] was one of the mottos of the Nazi doctors. “Life unworthy of life.” It might start with one group it will quickly extend to others. Once we decide that any human being made in God’s image is, “[foreign language 00:10:21], life unworthy of life.” We turn the entire society into a killing machine. The culture of death clearly bears its teeth in that statement from Planned Parenthood. A statement that says other families shouldn’t be forced into this situation, but we have to understand that the culture of death won’t stop with making this choice, a matter of freedom, or of coercion. It will quickly turn to coercion arguing that there is a moral duty to abort children who are lives unworthy of life taking up too much attention and medical expense.
The doublemindedness of our society, as demonstrated in the fact that so many Americans celebrated that decision made by Gerber, and let’s all celebrate it! But it makes no sense to celebrate that announcement and decision and then rest calmly in our beds at night while at least 97% of all babies with Down Syndrome are aborted in American wombs. There is a deep and deadly moral confusion in the heart of America as this conversation makes clear. But this a moral confusion cannot, must not, mark the Christian church where we must find nothing less than clarity in the midst of this deadly confusion.