When Are We Going To Learn?

I am angry. Furious, actually. I am disgusted with some people and the culture that has led to the selfish, hateful, ignorant attitudes they have. I am revolted and horrified by the people out there who care more about themselves and what’s comfortable for them than about other actual people.

I did my normal blog hopping today and stopped at Big Blueberry Eyes – a great blog by Michelle who has a beautiful daughter, Kayla, who has Down Syndrome (and the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen). Back on 9/1, she did a post that literally stopped me in my tracks, and made me sick to my stomach.

Because of the story out of Denmark about their steps to create a Down Symdrome-free society, Michelle decided to do a little research to see if she could find any more information about this “trend”. She came upon a message board where the article had been linked and a discussion had begun regarding people’s feelings on the issue. A TWENTY PAGE discussion. A discussion filled with the kind of ignorant hate that you would only expect from the Nazi party. Let me share a few of the most heinous thoughts.

I am sure no one wants a child with DS. I don’t either. Given the choice i would ask for it to be aborted. The child itself might be happy, but it would live a lesser life than a “normal” child.

What makes me angry is people who choose to bring such misery into the world even though they could avoid it easily enough. 

I don’t have a problem with them being aborted if they have a serious condition like this. Although they might enjoy their lives, you have to think of others.

I consider it to be wildly immoral to deliberately force a disabled child into existence, when you didn’t have to. … My family is currently fostering a shaken-baby whose brain will never grow and who seems likely to die within the next ten to fifteen years. Yes, we’re happy to take this on, and we love having him.… but forcing such a being into existence seems wrong. 

I have no problem keeping such disabilities out of the gene pool and taxpayer bills. Down syndrome is not a quality life for a human being and we have no right to left them suffer it.

(someone responded to this comment that you can’t keep it out of the gene pool because very people w/Ds will reproduce. And this lovely excuse for a human being posted the following reply):

The few that do, shouldn’t, and the rest are incapable of living the lifestyle a healthy human being is afforded. I’m of the opinion that abortion and genetic engineering should be used as much as possible to eradicate these forms of disorders and retardation. 
I’m not saying force anyone to do it, but giving people the options legally to do it is THE BEST IDEA. Anyone, coughPalincough, who brings a human into this world knowing they will be handicapped mentally to the point of being in the care of others forever is a terrible human being. 

I’m sorry for thinking the only humans that should live are ones that at the very minimum are healthy mentally. Down Syndrome is the opposite of a healthy human being. I’m not saying to murder them, but preventing them from ever being born with abortion and genetic engineering, the later being the preferred future of baby business as it helps eradicate such issues entirely, is not wrong. I’ll abort my own child if it is for certain going to be born with some mental retardation such as this and anyone who doesn’t is selfishly putting that child through a lifetime of suffering.

(all of this copied from Michelle’s blog with permission)

I……I just….I don’t even know what to say. How any human being in this day and age can honestly believe this garbage, much less spew it publicly, is just mind-blowing. So many of these posters tried to claim “taxpayers and funding” as their argument, which I couldn’t believe. They are saying we shouldn’t let innocent people into existence in case they’re a drain on society in the future (which….what?? There is actually no way of knowing what capabilities a person with Down Syndrome will have in utero – they certainly have the ability to be very high functioning and contribute to society in a big way. And even if they don’t, they’re still INNOCENT LIVES WHO HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG.) What about “normal” people who end up being criminals, recipients of various social programs, somehow disabled later on, in need of food stamps or welfare or social security or prison? These people also take up taxpayer funds and, in the case of criminals and those who abuse the welfare system, actually are a serious detriment to society. Shall we weed these people out and kill them when their impact on society is determined? Or maybe we should figure out how to identify them in some sort of prenatal test and “recommend termination” for them.

There is a term for what the last commenter (the last 3 paragraphs of the quoted material) advocates. It’s called eugenics.

 Its advocates regarded it as a social philosophy for the improvement of human hereditary traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of certain people and traits, and the reduction of reproduction of other people and traits.

Today it is widely regarded as a brutal movement which inflicted massive human rights violations on millions of people.[9] The “interventions” advocated and practiced by eugenicists involved prominently the identification and classification of individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals and entire racial group — such as the Roma and Jews — as “degenerate” or “unfit”; the segregation or institutionalisation of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and in the extreme case of Nazi Germany, their mass extermination.[10]  – Wikipedia article

Are we this far removed from the 1930s & 40s that we’ve forgotten what Adolf Hitler did? Did you know that he was the most infamous proponent and practitioner of eugenics and he praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf and emulated Eugenic legislation for the sterilization of “defectives” that had been pioneered in the United States? There’s another word for what he tried to do. Genocide.

In 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as:

…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2

Yes, I know that Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities do not fall under the categories of national, ethnic, racial or religious groups. However, they are a group of people united by one genetic similarity. It seems to me that because the purpose of eugenics is to “improve the gene pool” and to encourage the “best and brightest” of the gene pool to continue on while eliminating that which is seen as substandard, the result would be to eliminate them. The thinking of people like that last commenter  would endorse the genocide of this genetically identifiable group of people. And that, my friends, is unconscionable.

Why are we okay with people thinking like this? If you replace “Down Syndrome” with any other identifier – like African-American or Mexican or gay or Jewish or red-headed – these ideas would be completely unacceptable. Why is it okay in this instance? Why are we so afraid of people with DS? We can’t catch it from them. They do nothing to harm people or create problems or do anything but love others. They accept other people unconditionally. They want to laugh and have fun and learn and make friends. And how do we respond to it? We do our best to eliminate them. Because God forbid there should be more love, fun and acceptance in the world.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather live in a world filled with people who have Down Syndrome than people who want to claim they have a right to live in a world without them. People who would deny them the right to enjoy their lives because, you know, “we have to think of others”. Which is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Be ashamed of yourself, people. Be very, very ashamed. Hopefully no one will ever view you as a burden and campaign for your extinction.