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Category Archives: Eugenics
Untold history: How Rufus von KleinSmid supported the eugenics movement at USC – Daily Trojan Online
Posted: August 25, 2017 at 4:11 am
The Von KleinSmid Center for International Relations stands tall with its distinct globed tower high above campus. Under the structures grand arches, more than 100 international flags drape over its walkways, representing the home countries of international students at the University.
The image of the building emblematic of the University itself is one of diversity and inclusion, but the Von KleinSmid Center is named after a president who carries a highly acclaimed, yet controversial legacy regarding just that. During his term as a University administrator, Von KleinSmid involved himself in the field of eugenics, a growing social science movement popularized in the early 20th century that encouraged reproduction of desirable traits, generally among whites, while discouraging reproduction in people with negative traits, particularly the poor, ethnic minorities and those deemed intellectually inferior.
Von KleinSmid accomplished much that is familiar to the Trojan legacy, such as creating significant scholarship programs, expanding campus land and increasing the Universitys population.
His presidency, which spanned from 1921 to 1947, occurred during a period of great political, social and technological change throughout the Great Depression and World War II.
When the eugenics movement began taking root in the 1920s, USC was not exempt from the elite educational institutions that supported it.
[The field] was mainstream enough to be embraced by a wide array of scientists and experts and reformers who saw it as a way to solve social problems, like immigration and industrialization, that was shaping modern America, said Alexandra Stern, a professor at the University of Michigan whose research specializes in the history of eugenics, society and justice.
Von KleinSmids scholarship went hand-in-hand with those of other senior-level administrators from schools like the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and UCLA, according to Stern. Von KleinSmid published Eugenics and the State, and the publication was presented to the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine in 1913 eight years before the start of his term as USCs president. It called for states to preserve their society through segregation of inferior groups and forced sterilization.
A third method of handling the problem is suggested, namely, sterilization, Von KleinSmid wrote. We must all agree that those who, in the nature of the case, can do little else than pass on to their offsprings the defects which make themselves burdens to society, have no ethical right to parenthood.
Von KleinSmid was a proponent of sterilization as an aspect of the eugenics movement since its inception.
Clearly, [Von KleinSmid] was [involved] since the emergence of the eugenics movement, specifically with the push for sterilization, Stern said.
While serving as president, Von KleinSmid, alongside other USC administrators and professors, donated to or were members of regional and national eugenic groups. These groups invested in research and education to influence sterilization policies in California, since the states first law which allowed sterilization in 1909.
Its safe to say that USC leaders played an active role in the eugenics movement, Stern said of the period during Von KleinSmids presidency.
Stern also acknowledged that eugenics was especially popular among upper intellectual circles, as it transitioned from a fringe scientific movement to a mainstream field.
During his presidency, Von KleinSmid co-founded the Human Betterment Foundation in 1928, a Pasadena-based think thank that promoted compulsory sterilization internationally as a mechanism for improving civilization. According to Kirsten Spicer in A Nation of Imbeciles, a 2015 paper published in the Chapman Historical Review, members of the HBF influenced Nazi Germanys eugenics-based ideology through connections with top German intellectuals and officials.
However, Von KleinSmids ties to the HBF were not the only USC-related connection to eugenics. According to documents from the Human Betterment Foundation, two USC sociology professors, Emory Bogardus and Kingsley Davis, were registered members, while other staff members and administrators were linked to the American Eugenics Society, a national eugenics group.
According to Stern, some sociology and social work students at USC were also trained with a eugenics-inspired framework in their curriculum, which was popularized in the 1920s to 1940s as the national movement grew.
USC trained people in social work programs to conduct studies thatoperated in the eugenics framework with inferior and superior demographics, Stern said. She also said the faculty who supported this curriculum were interested in social issues of the time, like immigration and the creation of a healthier, fitter society.
When asked for comment, USC Provost Michael Quick responded by emphasizing the Universitys need to continually press on toward a more inclusive environment and to engage in thoughtful discussion on these issues.
However, the movement and the HBFs popularity among intellectuals declined in the 1930s with increased opposition to Germanys racist and religious policies, according to Spicer.
Still president during this tumultuous, historical time, Von KleinSmid denounced Germanys policies upon returning from a trip to Europe.
The edicts against the Jews in Germany are as terrible as they can be, Von KleinSmid said in a memo sent from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. This non-Aryan persecution affects even the higher institutions of learning and the program is rigorous almost beyond expression. The memo noted that his statement was surprising, due to the HBFs ties with German officials.
However, the eugenicist agenda lingered until 1979, when California repealed its sterilization law. From 1909 until 1979, California performed approximately 20,000 forced sterilizations on its citizens. Madrigal v. Quilligan, a controversial lawsuit, arose out of 10 sterilizations of Latina women at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Hospital in the early 1970s.
Although administrative officials did not play a part in the doctoral decisions that unwillfully sterilized the Latina women represented, these events harken back to the ideologies of the time. The Madrigal case ruled in favor of the doctors at the hospital.
Von KleinSmids contributions to the Universitys history is multifaceted and complex: It is one full of accomplishments, but also of controversial ideologies that conflict with USCs present message of diversity and inclusion.
Under Von KleinSmid, there was a lot of growth, which included the establishment of additional professional schools and colleges and the expansion of the student body and the physical campus that is USC today, said Claude Zachary, the University Archivist.
According to documents from the University archives, during Von KleinSmids administration, USC expanded from eight colleges to 26, with the creation of a school for international relations and development of the first cinematic arts school in the U.S.
The University became nationally accredited and expanded its international outreach, with international students comprising 10 percent of the student body. Von KleinSmid also developed a scholarship program for foreign students who were to return to their homes after their studies and implement their skills to better their countries.
Despite his accomplishments as an internationalist, there was historical evidence of Von KleinSmids hostility toward Japanese Americans. In a book titled From Concentration Camp to Campus: Japanese American Students and World War II, Von KleinSmid was described as openly hostile to Japanese American students and denied their requested transcripts in the aftermath of the war.
In 1946, Von KleinSmid stepped down as president to become chancellor of USC, a role that he would take on until his death in 1955. Two decades later, the Von KleinSmid Center for International and Public Affairs was constructed and dedicated to the former president.
Von KleinSmid was a prominent intellectual figure who held a variety of viewpoints across his lifetime. Von KleinSmids leadership helped shape USCs present-day image through various educational and structural developments, and while he is remembered as an internationalist and an influential educator, his history as a eugenicist and a co-founder of the Human Betterment Foundation still exists to reflect contentious ideologies.
With every generation, there is a need to recommit to the ideals of what it means to live in a democracy, what it means to enact equality and what it means to be an engaged citizen, Quick said in an email to the Daily Trojan. Such actions bring us a little closer to the ideals we all envision, as the standards for what is acceptable and what is no longer tolerable evolve USC must grapple with these issues as well, but we should do so in a way that all universities should with an examination of the facts, with thoughtful reflection and with rigorous debate. And, most importantly, with a commitment to fundamental values we stand against hate and racism; we stand for inclusion, respect and the appreciation of differences.
Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:20 pm
Recently, a CBS news crew traveled to Iceland, producing a report titled Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. As much as it sounds like it, the headline is not clickbait or hyperbole: In Iceland, nearly every women who undergoes prenatal testing and whose fetus receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome decides to end her pregnancy. Each year, according to their sources, only a child or two is born with Down syndrome in Iceland.
Up to 85% of pregnant women in Iceland choose to take prenatal testing. The specific test in question, which CBS calls the combination test, takes into account ultrasound images, a blood draw, and a mothers age to determine the likelihood that a fetus has Down syndrome. (Older mothers are more likely to have babies with Down syndrome because chromosomal errors are more likely as women age.)
In essence, pregnant women in Icelandand presumably their partnersare saying that life with disability is not worth living. It is one thing to decide that a child who will never walk, talk, feed herself, or engage with caregivers may not have a good quality of life. But children with Down syndrome do not fit this description. If a woman doesnt want to have a child with Down syndrome, their bar for what qualifies as a life worth living is set quite high. Are babies who are born deaf destined to lead a worthwhile life? What about babies with cleft palates, which can be corrected but leave a visible scar?
Heres the interesting thing: Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21 as it is also called, is actually one of the less severe chromosomal conditions. Unlike many other trisomies (genetic conditions in which a person has three copies of a chromosome instead of the standard two), its compatible with life.
People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of their 21st chromosome, which causes intellectual delays and readily identifiable facial features such as almond-shaped eyes. But the way that Down syndrome expresses itself in an individual can be highly variable. About half of babies born with Down syndrome have heart defects that require surgical correction. Some children with Down syndrome grow up to be adults who go to college and get married; others never live independently.
Can she live a full life without without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? Im pretty sure she can.I have interviewed Amy Julia Becker many times over the years. Becker wrote a book about her daughter, Penny, who has Down syndrome. In A Good and Perfect Gift, Becker, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton, chronicles her shift in thinking about intelligence. Pre-Penny, she had assumed that being smart is a prerequisite for being happy and fulfilled. Post-Penny, she changed her mind. Can she live a full life without without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? Im pretty sure she can. Can I live a full life without learning to cherish and welcome those in this world who are different from me? Im pretty sure I cant.
Deciding what sorts of lives are worth living brings us disturbingly close to the bygone era of eugenics, when only the right sorts of people were supposed to procreate.
In 1927, a US Supreme Court decision upheld the right of the state of Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, whose daughter, Vivian, was deemed to be feeble-minded. Paul Lombardo, a professor of law at Georgia State University who is an expert on eugenics, believes that Vivian was in fact of normal intelligence. Eventuallyand fortunatelyeugenics fell out of favor, and several US states have issued apologies to people who were forcibly sterilized over the years. Yet the bias against people with disabilities is still very much evident.
When I interviewed Lombardo for my book, The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have KidsAnd the Kids We Have, he noted that theres a long list of physical and mental disabilities that people find discomfiting. At the top of that list? Intellectual disabilities.In other words, Down syndrome and other similar conditions that result in people not being able to pursue a PhD or do quantum physics are often seen as bigger impediments to a life worth living than physical impairments. But is that our choice to make for them?
Deciding that people with Down syndrome dont live worthwhile lives can snowball into a groupthink situation. It will become less and less acceptable to raise a child with Down syndrome, and that will translate into fewer support services available to parents who decide to buck the trend. The lack of support will further encourage women to terminate their pregnancies, leading to even fewer babies born with the condition in the future. If we continue to follow this path, the disappearance of Down syndrome will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And to what end?
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Posted: at 6:20 pm
Brian Mark Weber Aug. 18, 2017
In the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, readers are presented with a dystopian vision of the future in which the whole process of conception and birth is delegated to the scientific community. Parents have no emotional connection to their children, and motherhood itself is considered embarrassing and obscene.
The novel, written in 1931, seemed far-fetched at the time. Yet it wasnt long after Huxley penned his dark and frightening tale that science and politics began to consider the implications, and the possibilities, of playing God with human reproduction in order to bring about desired results.
Columnist David Harsanyi writes, [Negative selection eugenics] was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill, poor, and minorities here in America. It is why real-life Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome. And the first humans they gassed were children under three years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.
But why wait? Aborting unborn children with Down syndrome is gaining acceptance once again, and the latest wave of news is from Iceland. Yet the childs suffering or the elimination of a human life doesnt seem to be part of the conversation, nor does the post-abortion health of the mother.
Whats interesting is that, according to Kevin Burke in the Washington Examiner, About 80 percent of parents facing the same diagnosis, who were provided with the option of perinatal hospice care for the child and family, chose to carry their disabled child to term. Apparently, most parents planning to abort their children dont receive this advice.
Burke adds, Those who advocate for routine screening to detect fetal disabilities also fail to advise parents of the potential for serious post-abortion reactions. The fallout from this loss can place a tremendous strain on couples as they struggle with the shock and pain that can follow the abortion. Some abortion advocates may concede that some women suffer symptoms of depression and grief immediately after termination of disabled babies, but they see this as a short-term condition. Research, however, confirms that women often suffer symptoms of emotional trauma and complicated grief years after such procedures.
Sadly, and just like the people in Brave New World, Icelanders no longer seem to value human life. Parents who fail to think of their unborn child as human are less likely to keep their child when the options are presented to them.
As Helga Sol Olafsdottir, a counselor at Landspitali University Hospital, helpfully explains, We dont look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication preventing suffering for the child and for the family.
A thing? If children are considered things, then it cant be long before countries like Iceland start passing their own version of Nazi Germanys Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.
How far away is it when people like Princeton University professor Elizabeth Harman say, Some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. Thats something that doesnt have a future as a person and it doesnt have moral status.
While those on the Left may rush to defend a program that frees parents from the burden of raising a disabled child, they should seriously think about the implications of going down this path.
The situation is not much better in the United States, where nearly two-thirds of American women whose prenatal screening tests reveal Down syndrome choose to have an abortion. Fortunately, theres still some resistance at the political level.
Harsanyi notes, A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex, or ethnicity of a fetus. Such a U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences, like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs.
And what if science develops to the point where we can identify other traits in humanity that parents may find undesirable: a genetic heart condition or a low IQ or, where it would really hit home for leftists, homosexuality? Gender-based abortions of girls are already the norm in Communist China. When society reaches the point where only desirable children are allowed to enter this world, are we still a civilization? And if a free society lacks the moral compass to speak out against this practice, how can we oppose another government that one day might decide that Jews, Africans or Christians are a problem?
These are the questions that should be asked before science allows us to discover even more undesirable traits in unborn children, and before the political class yields to social and cultural decay. Lets face it: Were living in a Brave New World today. But unlike the society in Huxleys novel, we must summon the courage and decency to end the ghastly practice of eugenics.
Read the rest here:
Report: Nearly All Women in Iceland Who Receive Down Syndrome Diagnosis Obtain Abortion – Christian News Network
Posted: at 6:20 pm
REYKJAVIK A new report by CBS is raising concern as it highlights the fact that nearly all women in the Nordic nation of Iceland who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis obtain an abortionto the point that children with Down syndrome have been nearly eradicated.
We dont look at abortion as a murder, Helga Sol Olafsdottir of Landspitali University Hospital in Ryekjavik told the outlet. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication preventing suffering for the child and for the family.
And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder. Thats so black and white. Life isnt black and white. Life is grey, she asserted.
In Iceland, an estimated 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women choose to take theCombination Test, which is able todetermine whether or not a child in the womb has an extra chromosome or similar abnormality. The number of Down syndrome babies born each year has therefore decreased to only two or three,since the vast majority of preborn children with the conditionare aborted.
When asked if some women experience guilt for killing their child,Olafsdottir replied, Of course, but advised that she tells the mothers, This is your life. You have the right to choose how your life will look like.
While Iceland has a nearly 100 percent abortion rate surrounding Downs diagnoses, other nations are not far behind. In Denmark, the rate is 98 percent, and in France, 77 percent of Down syndrome babies never get to have birthday. Areported 67 percent of American women also choose an abortion due to a Down syndrome diagnosis.
View the full report below.
The CBS report has been startling for a number of viewers, includingKurt Kondrich ofHuman Coalition Pittsburgh, whose 14-year-old daughter Chloe has Down syndrome.
This represents the ultimate, extreme form of eugenics, he told Christian News Network, and there should be an international outcry to end this genocide against beautiful people who fill the world with unconditional love and genuine purity.
As previously reported, Chloewas the inspiration behind a Pennsylvania bill, signed into law in 2014, thataims to help save the lives of Down syndrome babies who would otherwise be aborted. She also visited the UN this past year to speak against the murder of children like herself, and met with Vice President Mike Pence as well to be a voice forlife.
In 1928, capital punishment was abolished in Iceland, Kondrich noted, but now this country is systematically executing a group of citizens prenatally who have committed no crimes, hurt and offended no one, and who do not deserve prenatal capital punishment when they are completely innocent.
The culture of Iceland and many other countries are truly disabled by allowing this prenatal slaughter of diverse, beautiful people who have many abilities and commit no horrific acts of hate, violence, prejudice or racism in a world filled with evil, helamented.
Kondrich said that he believes that prenatal testing, such as the Combination Test, is a slippery slope that can result in other forms of eugenics in order to weed out those society finds to be imperfect or undesirable.
As science rapidly increases and genetic codes are unlocked, we should ask who will be targeted next prenatally, he explained. What if the genetic codes for depression, autism, ADHD, baldness, shortness, brown eyes, etc. are unlocked and then used to prenatally eliminate more people our society labels defective? In some cultures, prenatal testing is used to identify and terminate females because women are viewed as inferior; where is the outcry from womens rights groups?
See the original post:
Posted: at 6:20 pm
Summary: A Middle Tennessee jail was offering birth control services to male and female inmates for 30 days off their sentence.
A federal lawsuit alleges that a Tennessee jail traded birth control procedures for 30 days off an inmates sentence. The controversial practice is referred to as a modern day eugenics scheme in the lawsuit filed by advocacy lawyers of a pro bono legal group of a national GPS monitoring company.
President and CEO Mike Donovan of Nexus Services Inc. said, This case is nothing more than a modern day eugenics scheme. Donovan claims that Judge Sam Benningfield, White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, and his staff were playing God.
The lawsuit alleges that Shoupe was trying to sterilize as many inmates as possible by offering up a deal. Inmates could get 30 days taken off their sentence if they went in for a birth control procedure that was in violation of their constitutional rights. A Nexus lawyer explains that 42 men received vasectomies and 35 women got birth control implants.
One inmate, Christel Ward, agreed to get the implant but she never received time off her sentence. Now that she is out of jail, it will cost $250 to have the implant removed. The lawsuit wants the county program declared unconstitutional and Wards implant to be removed at no cost to her.
White County in middle Tennessee is south of Cookeville with a population of 26,000 people. The most common crimes involve theft and drugs with 1,500 cases filed each year. Residents of the area say there isnt a family in town that hasnt been affected by opiates.
Benningfield says he was approached by state health department to present a two-day class on the effects of drugs on fetuses. He started off by giving two days off a sentence for those that agreed to attend the class. To get more inmates interested in the class, he announced a standing offer in May for inmates to get out of jail faster in order to save the judicial economy and the administration of justice. This meant female inmates would get the birth control arm implant Nexplanon for free and men would get a vasectomy for free. He told reporters, Hopefully while theyre staying here we rehabilitate them so they never come back. No male ended up receiving a vasectomy.
The ACLU of Tennessee calls the practice a coercive and unconstitutional program. They said, Offering a so-called choice between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional. The judge in this program imposed an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it.
The program ran for two months before Judge Benningfield rescinded the order, claiming the Tennessee Department of Health would not offer free birth control services any longer.
The lawsuit lists Benningfield, Shoupe, White County, and Donna Daniels, a sheriffs deputy, as defendants. Judge Benningfield only handles misdemeanor crimes with a maximum sentence of just under one year. He justified his order by stating, It occurred to me that many of the same women I had incarcerated were the very same from whom I was having to remove their children in my role as the juvenile judge because they were born addicted to drugs.
Do you think the program is unconstitutional? Tell us in the comments below.
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Posted: August 18, 2017 at 5:18 am
Posted: Aug 18, 2017 12:01 AM
Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests in Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has begun to diminish significantly. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is “eradicating Down syndrome births” quite like Iceland.
Now, the word “eradication” typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. That’s not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive test results for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancy. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year, and this seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results.
It’s just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States, an estimated 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom, it’s 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate.
For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world. If you think that’s overstated, consider that eugenics — the word itself derived from the Greek word meaning “well-born” — is the effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through “positive selection,” as in breeding the “right” kinds of people with each other, or “negative selection,” which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children.
The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of the mentally ill, poor and minorities here in America. It is why Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome, and why the first to be gassed were children under 3 years old with “serious hereditary diseases” like Down syndrome.
Down syndrome usually isn’t hereditary. Most children born with it have moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities, and many live full lives. But for many, these children are considered undesirable — “inconvenient,” really.
If Iceland’s policy “reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling,” as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate and pinpoint other problematic traits? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradication?
One day, a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So here’s the best way to frame eradication policies in terms more people might care about: “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births” or “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births” or “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of those who lean toward obesity” or “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of mixed-race babies.” Feel free to insert the facet of humankind that gets you most upset.
How about “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births”? If your circumstance or inconvenience were a justifiable reason to eradicate a pregnancy, why wouldn’t a sex-selective abortion be OK? Does the act of abortion transform into something less moral if we feel differently about it? Does the act change because it targets a group of people that we feel is being victimized? What is the ethical difference between a sex-selective abortion and plain-old abortion of a female?
One imagines that most women in Iceland who were carrying a baby with a genetic disorder did not opt to have an abortion because they harbor hate or revulsion toward children with Down syndrome. I assume they had other reasons, including the desire to give birth to a healthy child and avoid the complications that the alternative would pose.
A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex or ethnicity of the fetus. One such U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. That’s probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives we’re talking about, not blobs. In America, such talk is still frowned upon.
At one hospital in Iceland, “Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality,” explains the CBS article. She says: “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.” A thing? Using an ambiguous noun is a cowardly way to avoid the set of moral questions that pop up when you have to define that “thing.” And science is making it increasingly difficult to circumvent that debate.
View original post here:
Posted: at 5:18 am
Iceland has nearly achieved a shocking goal the country has eliminated almost 100 percent of children with Down syndrome.
They’ve aborted almost all of them.
CBS News reports it’s due to widespread use of prenatal screening.
Even though most people born with Down syndrome live long, healthy lives, most pregnant women in Iceland choose to abort these babies. Only one or two babies with the disorder slip past the screening process each year.
Other countries are doing the same thing. Denmark has aborted 98 percent and the U.S. has aborted at least 67 percent of babies with this genetic disorder.
Wednesday, Christian evangelist Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic in a wheelchair for 50 years following a diving accident, issued a statement saying, “Over 25 years ago when I served on the National Council on Disability, we responded vehemently against a report from the National Institutes on Health which listed abortion as a ‘disability prevention strategy.’ All 15 bi-partisan council members strongly advised the NIH to remove any reference which used abortion as a tactic in eliminating disability.”
She added,”Each individual, no matter how significantly impaired, is an image-bearer of our Creator God. And people with Down syndrome are arguably some of the most contented and happy people on the planet. From them, we learn unconditional love and joyful acceptance of others who appear different. Now, even that is in jeopardy of being eradicated.”
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America also spoke out against the practice.
“Iceland sounds like they are proud of the fact that they’ve killed nearly all unborn babies that had an in-utero diagnosis of Down syndrome,” Nance said. “This is not a medical advancement. This is eugenics and barbarianism at best.” And Dr. James Dobson wrote, “I have rarely seen a story that so closely resembles Nazi-era eugenics as a recent report about Iceland ‘eradicating’ nearly 100 percent of Down syndrome births through abortion.”
“We should all be deeply sorrowful and outraged. This practice is as equally inhumane as the views of the racist bigots who disgraced our country in Charlottesville this past weekend,” he continued.
Pro-life actress Patricia Heaton is also weighing in.
“Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference,” Heaton tweeted.
This high number of abortions in the U.S. and elsewhere are because of a simple, new blood test that detects Down syndrome. The test is non-invasive and can be performed early in pregnancy. Therefore, many, if not most, women have it.
Before today’s non-invasive blood test, the test to determine whether an unborn child had Down syndrome, by comparison, was rarely performed. Called an amniocentesis, it was invasive and could have damaged, even killed, the baby. It was performed in the later stages of pregnancy and involved inserting a needle into the mother’s placenta to extract amniotic fluid.
Today, the reason so many women choose to abort their Down syndrome babies is because they believe their child’s life is not worth living. However,parents of Down syndrome childrensay that’snot true.
For example, whenCherry Jensengave birth to a Down syndrome baby, she recalls how her doctors vastly underestimated how high her daughter would function. Now Cherry uses her daughter’s story to convince other women to keep their unborn Down syndrome children. There are many stories of people with Down syndrome who are successful inbusiness, sports and other endeavors, evenmodeling.
A coffee shop is Wilimington, North Carolina is giving people with Down Syndrome the chance to work. Check out the story here.
According to astudyof parents of children with Down syndrome:
According to astudyof people with Down syndrome over age 12:
7MYTHSabout people with Down syndrome:
Posted: August 16, 2017 at 6:23 pm
In her book The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics And Feebleminded, poet Molly McCully Brown explores themes of disability, eugenics and faith. Kristin Teston/Persea hide caption
In her book The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics And Feebleminded, poet Molly McCully Brown explores themes of disability, eugenics and faith.
Growing up in southwestern Virginia in recent decades, poet Molly McCully Brown often passed by a state institution in Amherst County that was once known as the “Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded.”
Since 1983 the facility, which was founded in 1910, has been called the Central Virginia Training Center, and it is now a residential home for people with various intellectual disabilities. But in the early 20th century, the place Brown now refers to as “the colony” was part of the eugenics movement taking hold in the U.S., and a variety of treatments now considered inhumane were practiced there including forced sterilization. Brown, who has cerebral palsy, notes that had she been born in an earlier era, she might have been sent to live at the institution herself.
“It is impossible to know that for sure,” she says. “I can look at my life and look at my family and look at my parents and think, No, never. That never would have happened. But I also understand that if I had been born 50 years earlier, the climate was very different.”
She hopes to give voice to those early generations of residents, in her book of poetry, The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics And Feebleminded.
For Brown, the themes of disability and poetry have been constant throughout her life: “In my life, there has always been my body in some state of falling apart or disrepair or attempting to be fixed, and there has always been poetry. And I couldn’t untwine those things if I tried.”
On seeing the buildings and grounds of the old facility
It was incredibly moving and incredibly powerful. The place is interesting because it is still an operational facility for adults with really serious disabilities, although it is in the process of closing. But like a lot of things in Virginia, it was initially built on an enormous amount of land. And, so, a really interesting thing happened, which is that as the buildings that were originally part of the colony fell into disrepair, they were largely just moved out of and new buildings were built on accompanying land, but those original buildings were not necessarily torn down. So the place itself is this really strange combination of functioning facility and ghost town of everything that it has been. I’ve never been in a place that felt more acutely haunted in my life.
On how some people assume her physical disability means she also has an intellectual disability
We do have a strange tendency in this country to equate any kind of disability with less intellectual capability and with even a less complete humanity. Certainly as a child and as a teenager and even now as an adult [I] encountered people who assumed that just because I used a wheelchair, maybe I couldn’t even speak to them. I often get questions directed at people I’m with, as opposed to me, and that’s a really interesting phenomenon.
On the connection between poetry and theology
Both poetry and theology for me are about paying attention to the world in a very intentional way, and about admitting a mystery that is bigger than anything that I rationally understand. … I think poetry has always been for me a kind of prayer. So those things feel very linked for me. And, again, poetry does feel like the first and in some ways best language I ever had for mystery and for my sense of what exists beyond the world we’re currently living in.
On how Catholicism has helped her accept her body
One of the things that I find so moving about Catholicism is that it never forgets that to be a person is inherently and inescapably and necessarily to be in a body a body that brings you pain, a body that brings you pleasure, a body that can be a barrier to thinking more completely about your life and your soul but [that it] can also be a vehicle to delivering you into better communion with the world, with other people and to whatever divinity it is that you believe in.
What Catholicism did for me, in part, is give me a framework in which to understand my body as not an accident or a punishment or a mistake, but as the body that I am meant to have and that is constitutive of so much of who I am and what I’ve done and what I hope I will do in the world.
More and more … I’ve come to see my body as a place of pride and potential, and as something that gives me a unique outlook onto the world. And I’d rather that, I guess, than be infuriated by it.
On her twin sister, who died shortly after birth
She lived about 36 hours after we were born. … It’s a phenomenon in my life that I have not a lot of rational explanation for, … but it is true that I miss my sister with a kind of intense specificity that has no rational explanation, and that I feel aware of her presence in this way that I can’t exactly explain or articulate, but which feels undeniable to me. …
I do think that that sort of gave me no other option than to believe in some kind of something beyond this current mortal life that we’re living. Because what is the explanation otherwise for the fact that I feel like I miss and I know this person who only lived a matter of hours? And for the fact as much as I know that she is dead and is gone in a real way, she doesn’t feel “disappeared” to me.
On how her physical disability and her poetry are intertwined
I think the easiest way I have of describing it is I have two [early] memories. … One of them is of sitting on a table in a hospital room in the children’s hospital in St. Louis, choosing the flavor of the anesthetic gas I was going to breathe when they put me under to do my first major surgery. I was picking between cherry and butterscotch and grape. And the second memory that I have is of my father reading a Robert Hayden poem called “Those Winter Sundays.”
Roberta Shorrock and Therese Madden produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Deborah Franklin adapted it for the Web.
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Posted: at 6:23 pm
Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests, the number of babies born with Down syndrome in the Western world has begun to significantly diminish. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is eradicating Down syndrome births quite like the country of Iceland.
Now, the word eradication typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. Not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive tests for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancies. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year, and this seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results.
Its just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States around 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom its around 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate.
For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world.If you think thats overstated, consider that eugenics the word itself derived from Greek, meaning well born is nothing more than an effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through positive selection, as in breeding the right kinds of people with each other, or in negative selection, which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children.
The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill, poor, and minorities here in America. It is why real-life Nazis required doctorsto register all newborns born with Down syndrome. And the first humans they gassed were children under three years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.
Most often Down syndrome isnt hereditary, of course, but for many these children are considered undesirable really, they are considered inconvenient although most are born with moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities and many live full lives.
If Icelands policy reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling, as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits in a video, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate on these tests and pinpoint other problematic traits in people? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradicate?
One day a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So heres the best way to frame the ugliness of these eradication policies in terms more people might care about: Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating births of those who lean towards obesity or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating births of mixed-race babies. Feel free to insert the fact of humankind that gets you most upset.
How about, Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births?
From what I could tell admittedly, this is through social media; I see no polling on the issue most people, many liberals included, reacted to Icelands selective eradication of Down syndrome children negatively. Polling from the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institutehas found that 77 percent believed abortion should be illegal if the sole reason for seeking an abortion was to have a boy or girl.
I dont understand why.If your circumstance or inconvenience is a justifiable reason to eradicate a pregnancy who wants to be punished with a baby, after all? why wouldnt a sex-selective abortion be okay? Does the act of abortion transform into something less moral if we feel differently about it? Does the act change because it targets a group of people that we feel are being victimized? What is the ethical difference between a sex-selective abortion and plain-old abortion of a girl?
One imagines that most women carrying babies with genetic disorders in Iceland did not opt to have abortions because they harbor hate or revulsion towards Down syndrome children. I assume they had other reasons, including the desire to give birth to a healthy child and avoid the complications that the alternative would pose.
A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex, or ethnicity of a fetus. Such a U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences, like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs. In America, such talk is still frowned upon.
Icelanders, apparently, are more honest:
Over at Landspitali University Hospital, Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality. They speak to her when deciding whether to continue or end their pregnancies. Olafsdottir tells women who are wrestling with the decision or feelings of guilt: This is your life you have the right to choose how your life will look like.
Well, not everyone gets to choose what his or her life looks like. Certainly not those who are eradicated because they suffer from genetic disorders.Then again, We dont look at abortion as a murder, Olafsdottir explains later. We look at it as a thing that we ended. A thing? Using an ambiguous noun is a cowardly way to avoid the set of moral questions that pop up when you have to define that thing. And science is making it increasingly difficult to circumvent that debate.
Posted: at 6:23 pm
Last night, CBS News took a break from hyperventilating about the looming Nazi menace to spend a few minutes exploring the benefits of eugenics.
And heres how CBS frames it:
Should the rest of the world follow suit? I thought we answered that question in 1945.
As a lot of people have pointed out, this isnt eliminating Down Syndrome. Its killing people who have an unpreventable genetic abnormality. Its eugenics.
If youre an abortion enthusiast oh, sorry, if you support abortion rights you have no problem with this. You believe that some lives matter more than others. You believe that the difference between a fetus and a baby is up to the mother. You might even believe that its okay to kill a baby because it doesnt have a future because youre killing it.
You believe that a person with problems you dont have, and that youd rather not deal with, isnt really a person.
So why not? After all, youre only ending a pregnancy with an abnormality. Its not as if were talking about a human being.
If you want more liberty and lower taxes and the freedom to say so, youre a Nazi. But not if you want to wipe out the untermenschen to bring about a glorious, genetically perfect future. Thats where we are now.