Sex Selection Abortions Shock Us, but Abortion of the Disabled Still Justified

In a recent, now famous editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, interim editor-in-chief Rajendra Kale called abortion of female babies “discrimination against women in its most extreme form.” He called for the withholding of information regarding the sex of any unborn baby until 30 weeks gestation in order to stop the female feticide that he reports to be occurring mainly in certain ethnic groups.

While abortion advocates are in an uproar over a woman’s right to choose to abort a female baby because she wants a boy instead, others are calling for the education of these ethnic groups against sexist rationale. But what if this debate was instead about the unborn child with cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome?

I believe most of us would agree that sex selective abortions are an act of discrimination. And I believe most of us would agree that this discrimination must end. But if the same ultrasound technology which revels the sex of a baby also revels the existence of a disability and that baby is then aborted because of that disability, is that not discrimination against the disabled at its worst? Why isn’t society standing up for these babies? Why aren’t doctors fighting to stop this practice of eugenics? Why is discrimination against females viewed as abhorrent, while discrimination against the disabled is considered justifiable and compassionate?

For those with disabilities, and for myself and other parents of a child with a condition able to be diagnosed prenatally, the idea of disability selective abortions is just as disconcerting as that of sex selective abortions. Prenatal testing exists in order to detect fetal abnormalities. In fact, new technologies that allow for easier, earlier testing of Down syndrome have been boasted as the way to eliminate the condition. But the only way to eliminate Down syndrome is through abortion.

Doctors advise expectant parents of a child facing a diagnosis that it is more compassionate to abort the child than allow her to live. Many people agree that aborting a disabled baby is the right thing to do so that the child won’t have to grow up suffering in any way. In fact, some parents have brought a wrongful birth lawsuit against their doctor when the doctor failed to diagnosis a disability in their unborn child. But is it really about compassion or is it about convenience? Can we really decide for someone else whether or not her life is worth living? And are these parents being educated about their child’s condition like Canadian parents should be educated about the joys of raising a daughter instead of a son?

The fact is that aborting a baby based on a disability is the same as aborting a child based on sex or race.  It’s discrimination and it sends the message that people with disabilities are less than human and don’t deserve a chance at life. Unfortunately, doctors can’t withhold information regarding a prenatal diagnosis without the risk of being sued. So until society is educated on the realities of living with a disability, this discrimination will continue.

Unless people come forward for disabled children like Kale did for female babies, a prenatal diagnosis won’t be used to inform and educate parents, but instead will continue to be the reason many unborn children never see the light of day.

  • Christy

    I am a disabled woman and my life has value. Yes, I live in pain many days and that is okay with me. By choosing joy and choosing to focus on the many ways that God has blessed me, that pain is tolerable. Nobody else has the right to tell me that I would be better off dead. But that is the premise of aborting disabled babies – better to die than to find so many ways to draw closer to God through the pain. My disabilities were not diagnosed during the one ultrasound my mom had but they existed at the time. God chose to put me together this way for a reason. Even though I have to do things slightly differently, I am worthy of life. Aborting because of disability is just an extension of the prevalent viewpoint around the world, that disabilities are a hassle to everybody else. Perhaps the way to change hearts regarding this topic is to start by loving your disabled neighbor as you love yourself. If we find value every single disabled person we meet, perhaps others will start to do the same thing. 

  • http://twitter.com/FreedomRed1 Freedom Red

    BRILLIANT!!!!! 

  • guest

    I disagree that wanting to abort because of a disability opposed to gender choice. Having a disabled child can be a HUGE, life-long burden–destroy any chance of ever having any kind of freedom. I’ve known families that completely fell apart because they had severely disabled children. I am not saying people SHOULD abort disabled children–I’m just saying it’s not the same as aborting because of gender preference, which is just that —a preference.

    • Christy

      It all depends on how you define freedom. My sense of freedom, and my family’s freedom, is not dependent on physical circumstances. Our freedom comes from knowing the Lord and trusting that He has everything in control of everything in life. Our freedom comes from knowing the ultimate outcome, an eternal life in heaven with God, because of the salvation offered through the sacrifice of His Son. 

      Caring for a disabled person is challenging – nobody is going to argue that point. But when a family approaches the care with self-sacrificial love, blessings abound. My life and every singled disabled person’s life has value simply because we are loved by our Creator. He gave us life and He alone gets to determine when life ends. No doctor or parent gets to determine that life should end before birth out of fear of challenges.Contrary to popular belief, pain, suffering and limitations are not a crime. The crime occurs when another person determines that his or her own personal comfort (what you might call freedom) is far more important than another’s life. If I had the choice of being born with a perfect body, I honestly don’t think I would take it. I have learned so much about the depth of God’s love through my physical weaknesses. His grace is more than enough for me. If you know a family raising a disabled child, please go out of your way to help them. Shower them with love and mercy. Their path is rockier than most but it just as rewarding. 

    • Leland Nelson

      Actually, both cases are representative of choosing convenience instead of compassion. Convenience is usually chosen because the “chooser” prefers to not do what is difficult: Choose life. In that light, convenience is basically synonymous with preference because we try to avoid the challenge of doing the right thing.

      Imagine this: You are a lieutenant in Afghanistan. You are leading your company deep behind enemy lines, and you are eventually taken as POWs. The leader of the POW camp orders his men to torture you and your men unless you convey top secret military intelligence. We can agree, I think, that the right thing to do is to refuse giving up military intelligence, but what our preference would be is to do what is convenient: Give up the intel so that you won’t have to endure the torture. Is it justifiable, then, to convey military intel? For that matter, is it justifiable to kill a disabled unborn child (boy or girl) because we prefer to do what is convenient?

      That last question, however, relies on the question, “What is the unborn?”

    • Ninek

      Doctors told my mother I would not walk, write, or read.  Hello!! I walk just fine today and look at me readin’ and writin’.  It is the same to kill a disabled child as for gender, because abortion doesn’t kill a child less when a parent feels bad doing it.  Parents are rationalizing sex selection, twin reduction, and one abortive mom on the internet admitted changing her mind late in the pregnancy and lying to people that she had a miscarriage.  Abortion needs to be illegal worldwide.

      Besides, there are people willing to adopt special needs children.

    • Anonymous

       Do you realize that the human race is not perfect? Did you know that doctors make mistakes? Has it ever occurred to you that many children diagnosed with poor fetal implications are misdiagnosed?

      Many healthy children are killed because of a doctor’s mistake. It would be better to let someone else raise those children that you don’t want, as there are many, many people looking to adopt disabled children. It’s often argued (by those who have no knowledge at all of the system) that no one adopts those children, but that’s just not true. The waiting list to adopt a disabled child is longer than the list to adopt a baby.  I have friends who are foster parents, and they know plenty of couples who would be willing to adopt a disabled child.

      By the way, those disabled children are a big joy to their families. They know how to love – they often give the biggest hugs ever.
      (It also doesn’t hurt that you get to cut in line at themeparks with a disabled person – just one more perk of having disabled family members)

  • anne

    aborting a baby for what ever reason is murder. Women who abort a baby because it is the wrong sex are murderers and do not deserve to have a baby.

  • AllOurLives

    Why isn’t society standing up for these babies? Because it isn’t listening to people with disabilities in the disability rights movement, and connecting our demands for justice to the issue of preventing disability-related abortions.

    And by the way, disability-related abortions also include abortions that occur when women with disabilities are pressured out of our pregnancies because of the discriminatory belief that we shouldn’t be having sex and that we couldn’t possibly be good mothers.

  • Tom

    Soon disabled will mean an IQ less than 100; height less than 6′;  A super race will emerge as will a sub race.  Science Fiction?  Nope its happening now to the weak, disabled and aged.  Satan and his buddy Hitler could not have asked for better help.
     

  • Ratcityproductions

    Abortions is a Form of KILLING, no matter what.

  • http://twitter.com/CarolynWDC Carolyn

    This is an issue that hits very close to home for me, and doesn’t get nearly enough attention in our convenience-is-king society. The fact is that if genetic testing had been around when I was conceived, it’s possible I may have never been born. By the grace of God I have been blessed with an amazing and fulfilling life, a wonderful husband, and the ability to pursue my passions and have a successful career, despite chronic pain and physical challenges. But my heart so breaks for the millions of children who were never even given a chance at life due to ignorance or selfishness on the part of their parents. A baby is worthy of life by virtue of being human, not because society decides it’s the “right” kind of baby.

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  • Sandy Potter

    For any reason disability occurs but is it really sounds good to abort a child bcoz of indispensability.
    What the parents actually do when the disability of their children
    known after the birth. will they throw their child!! If no, then why it
    happens before birth??

    Sex
    Selection