Forbidden to be born with Down-syndrome?

98% of pregnant women with children diagnosed with Down syndrome decide to undergo abortions. The risk of euthanasia drift

“In thirty years nobody will be affected by Down syndrome”, read Danish newspaper headings over the past days. It is not the result of some extraordinary miracle in the medical field, able to “fix” the extra copy of the chromosome 21, causing Down syndrome. There will be no more because 98% of pregnant women whose child is diagnosed with this syndrome today decide to abort. The impressive figures were released by the Cytogenisk Centralregister university clinic in Aarhus. The experts agree that the 98% figure is a result of the decision of the Danish health care in 2004 to give a free possibility to mothers to carry out non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPT) the ninth week of pregnancy, the nuchal translucency to twelfth, and possibly amniocentesis before the twentieth, ensuring 99.3% certainty of diagnosis. It’s not a “free choice”. “It has been widely believed for years in Denmark that if there is a diagnosis then abortion is the only option. Nobody asks questions”, Thomas Hamann, president of the national Association for the Down Syndrome (Landsforeningen Downs Syndrom) told SIR Europe. In 2014, two children were born with Down syndrome as a result of free choice, 32 for a “diagnostic mistake”. State health authorities do nothing to prevent it, justifying it with “the free choice of the woman.” In fact, “it takes a great deal of courage to decide to accept the child” in a social context that “leaves no room for that possibility.” The family is left alone. The National Ethics Committee had “cautioned against the economic exploitation of this procedure,” Hamann said, but “there are huge economic interests involved”, amounting to millions of Euros saved in terms of health and social costs needed to assist people in Down lifetime. The efforts of the association are aimed at “spreading information on the syndrome, and that having a child with Down syndrome is not the end of world, added to the fact that there are many ways to stimulate the child thereby ensuring his/her harmonious development”, starting with love of the mother and the father. However, Hamann is not optimistic. “Selection of the species is not a question of the future”. The present in Denmark risks being “the future of the world”. Not only: “abortion could become the answer to every exam that highlights risks of pathologies in the future development of the foetus. It’s an upsetting scenario”. “We went too far”. “Given the extremely despicable fact that we are uprooting a given group of people from Denmark”, said Ellen Højlund Wibe, from the Right to Life association (Retten til Liv), “our commitment is received positively in many western Countries and groups, not only of involved Christians”; while in Denmark in “there are no more guarantors of the values of human life”, Wibe denounced. He underlined that “those few who decide to keep a Down children, often for religious reasons, are rarely understood in their wish. Their fear is that economic benefits may be decreased in the future, and they will be told that they could have an undergone an abortion. Their concern is not ungrounded”. Wibe is confident that “the deepness of human nature is gradually leading to the awareness, also in lay environments, that eugenetics in Denmark has gone too far”. Euthanasia-danger. “As a Catholic doctor I view these developments as a threat for humanity and the denial of an essential aspect of life”, saidJohn-Erik Stig Hansen, physician, director of the national Centre for bio-security. “The perception of what is normal, desirable and of value is gradually being deformed. There is no room for weakness”. Stig Hansen sees a “worrisome tie between pre-natal diagnosis and the pro-euthanasia movement. Some 70% of Danish people are pro-euthanasia. If life becomes difficult and it requires help, assistance, compassion is it excluded and is no longer considered a life worth living”. The sadness of Dr Hansen, who is also chairman of the pastoral Council in his parish in Lyngby, is seeing that “our Churches are rather passive”. “Most Danish people are members of the national Lutheran Church and are part of the system, without objections towards abortion, not even selective abortion”. Only minority Churches like the Catholic Church and some evangelical Churches “protest, but in non very visible ways”. Then, he sent a message to Europe: “Denmark is a testing ground, an example to understand what could happen societies are deprived of Christianity and of religion as a whole”.

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