Aborting Down-Syndrome Babies

Iceland just made the national news, but not for a good reason. A recent CBS News report describes how prenatal screenings and abortion are being used to eliminate Down Syndrome from their society. Sadly, not by a new drug breakthrough or amazing medical procedure, but by killing affected babies. Down Syndrome is being eliminated by terminating babies who likely have the condition!

The article stated, “Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women — close to 100 percent — who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy… Using an ultrasound, blood test and the mother’s age, the test, called the Combination Test, determines whether the fetus will have a chromosome abnormality, the most common of which results in Down syndrome.” The article also stated that 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women chose to take the prenatal screening test.

Technology can be a marvelous thing, but in these cases it is being used for very selfish and evil purposes. Babies are being murdered because of an imperfection that will make them more difficult to care for. This view of the unborn is quite different than God’s. Speaking to God, king David wrote concerning his own fetal development,

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (a Hebraism for “the womb”). Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16).

David acknowledged God’s providential role in his development. As we know, God’s system allows humans, and even human development, to be affected by their environment. Genetic mistakes, sometimes called “copying errors,” do sometimes occur in nature. Such errors do not negate personhood, though they may negatively impact a person’s physical life. Down Syndrome is the result of one such error. It is a congenital disorder from a chromosome defect. Affected children are born with mental impairment and physical abnormalities. While these children might look and behave differently from other children, they are still made in the image of God and each one possesses his own unique identity and eternal soul.

For some time now, advancements in gene mapping and editing technology has produced hopes of prenatal disease cures and other life-saving possibilities. No reasonable objection can be made to such uses of this technology. However, we knew that there would be a great temptation to misuse this technology. We began to hear some time ago of the potential for “designer-babies.” These are babies that have special features that are the result of gene manipulation. While this is disturbing, it doesn’t rise to the level of genocide (the murder of a class of people because they are “different” from the perceived norm). All abortion is godless and wrong, but it is particularly cruel and inhumane to kill a baby merely to avoid the added hardships presented in caring for it.

Let us remember that God makes no distinction in the value of a “baby” whether “born” (Luke 2:12) or “unborn” (Luke 1:41). It is a baby regardless of its physical location. Killing a baby is no different from killing an adult, and the unlawful taking of human life is murder. Murder has been condemned in all dispensations of God’s dealings with mankind (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12; Galatians 5:21). We must speak out loudly against all such abominations.

—Tim Haile

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