Last week, the BBC aired a documentary ‘A World Without Downs’ in which Sally Phillips explores the issues surrounding a new prenatal test for Downs Syndrome. This new test provides 99% accuracy in determining the likelihood of a Downs baby and she expresses concern that this will cause a dramatic increase in the number of babies who are aborted – there are even fears that we could soon be in the same position as countries like Iceland where virtually every single baby identified as having Downs Syndrome is aborted – a Downs-free country. This is a shameful indictment on a society that increasingly places much less value on the disabled and vulnerable. It is even more sad when you consider that there is evidence that those with Downs are the happiest people in the world! We appear to have completely lost our moral bearings as a nation when we are prepared to select the value or the right to live of a child based on a disability – perversely, we are even reaching a point where it considered immoral to let a Downs baby live – we are being encouraged to remove the problem of disability from society by using eugenics in a way not dis-similar to Nazi Germany.
There is also another dimension to this – if we are going to increasingly go down the road of determining a ‘right to life’ based on disability, what will be next? What other ‘disabilities’ will be considered a death sentence for the unborn child? Furthermore, it is not a huge conceptual leap to select ‘right to life’ based on intelligence levels, athleticism or other characteristics that are deemed to add value to the individual.
Following on from this, Glen Scrivener (a preacher in Eastbourne) has put together a blog where he lists Six Disturbing Assumptions Uncovered in a World Without Downs. One of the most powerful points he makes (assumption #3) is that society seems to be shifting from a culture that values and cares for the weak and vulnerable to the polar opposite where it is, “not just permitted but positively virtuous to end the life of the weak and vulnerable because we no longer want to be a society that cares for the weak. We eliminate them.”
This couldn’t be more in contrast with the way Jesus Christ treated the weak and vulnerable of His time. He demonstrated a sincere love and care for every disadvantaged people group and so should we. A society that measures the value of a live based on that person’s ability to give back is a society destined for self-destruction – EVERY human being is made in the image of God with a right to life and a culture promoting the brutal and murderous elimination of babies based on disability is on a collision course with Almighty God.
We pray that hearts will be softened and mercy will be shown to the Downs community before they are completely eradicated and consigned to history.
I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes; That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: (Amos 2:6-7)
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:12-14)