CBS News recently reported that nearly all preborn children who test positive for Down syndrome in Iceland are aborted. While touting this development as a positive step forward for Iceland and for human society as a whole, many hope that other countries will be able to boast similar statistics in the near future. This chilling news is not only a crushing insult to persons with Down syndrome and to those who know and love them, but serves as yet another grotesque example of misguided compassion.
One counselor explained: “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication... preventing suffering for the child and for the family.” When any innocent human life is capable of becoming merely “a thing ended,” we know that we have ventured into very dangerous territory. The so-called “quality of life” arguments that dominate much discussion surrounding topics from prenatal care to end-of-life decision making fail to account for the most basic truth of all.
It is God that ultimately imparts to human life its dignity and quality. Apart from him, nothing has value or meaning, and with his grace, even the most intense suffering can acquire eternal significance. Our own subjective judgments about what makes a life worth living, especially when they seem to be founded on compassion, can easily become perverted if detached from the foundation of eternal and unchanging truths. One shudders to think of what population will be targeted for elimination next.