Any person with Down's syndrome has the right to laugh, to cry, to feel love and suffer heartbreak, to enjoy sunsets, to work, to serve others. God, forgive us for being so selfish, cruel and hypocritical.
This week we came across a news article, the headline of which reads: UK upholds legality of aborting babies with Down's syndrome up to the time of birth.
In its first paragraph, the editor states that “the British Court of Appeal upheld legislation allowing the abortion of babies with Down's syndrome up to the time of birth, after rejecting an appeal by a woman with that genetic disorder and a mother of a child who also has it”.
I share with you the sadness I feel about this news and some thoughts.
We dehumanize and we do it legally, with economic and political arguments and justifications.
Modern medicine calls the child who reaches 37 weeks of pregnancy “full term pregnancy”. Is this therefore a legalised murder? Are we going to categorise lives of lesser value and legally approve getting rid of them?
The greater the dehumanisation, the more we can only expect an increase of cruelty, meaninglessness, isolation, a death of reason and empathy.
Perhaps in the future we will be able to “abort” our children if they are bad students, not very goog looking, or cost us so much in medical expenses.
Or we will create a personal spending limit as a society, and if you exceed it, for whatever reason, we will be able to get rid of you so that you do not burden us economically or socially, or get in the way of our valuable, semi-virtual, disconnected lives.
I find it especially outrageous that those laws are passed by the most educated in our society: judges, jurists, politicians, economists. The biblical insistence on warning against prevarication or the abuses of the powerful is meaningful.
Would I say this if I did not have a child with Down's syndrome? I probably would not make such an effort to denounce it. I would think about it and then take my mind to a happier place, because there is so much bad news and we are tired about adding more suffering to tour thoughts.
Do I celebrate Down's syndrome? I have been thinking about this for a few years.
The theory seems simple: I would prefer that no one should have difficulties in developing as a person... Difficulties in learning, in maturing, in abilities, etc. But I insist that the people who have studied the most, without maturational defects and with proven educational abilities, are the ones who promote cruel laws for reasons that, in my opinion, lead us to a horrible dehumanisation.
I thank God for having a son with Down's syndrome who awakens my humanity, makes me look at the world with different eyes, a more compassionate, loving, closer look.... If I did not have him, I am convinced that I would be much less human than I am.
However, it is not about me, but about the worth or the right to live of any person with Down's syndrome. They have the right to laugh, to cry, to feel love and suffer heartbreak, to enjoy sunsets, to work, to serve others.
This precedent will be followed by new laws and more lives will be discarded. This law is about someone's right to abort, legally, a life that bothers, disturbs, and frightens us. It is a legal trick to look the other way and kill with a medical, legal or political justification.
We will not get away with this. God, forgive us for being so superficial, selfish, cruel and hypocritical. Show us what life is all about and save us from ourselves. I beg you.
This article is a translation of a Twitter thread in Spanish:
Os comparto la tristeza que me produce esta noticia y algunos pensamientos. Nos deshumanizamos y lo hacemos legalmente, con argumentos y justificaciones económicas, políticas... https://t.co/upATLsRjV5
— Oscar Pérez (@OscarPerezPol) November 29, 2022
Óscar Pérez is pastor of an evangelical Church of Palma de Mallorca, Spain.