Abortion and Disabilities: The Advocacy Paradox

| June 5, 2019

Respect for life is fundamental to combating the objectification of human beings. Across the world, governments are introducing new policies that support the abortion of disabled children. These policies allow for a genocide of society’s most marginalized citizens to be tolerated. Unfortunately, many disability rights groups are supporting abortion expanding policies. In doing so, they are counteracting their own efforts by dismantling disabled people’s right to life. Stopping abortion and promoting dignity for people with disabilities are mutually aimed objectives. Thus, disability rights groups should reevaluate the abortion issue to understand that the right to life is necessary prior to all other rights.

Abortion targeted at exterminating disabled people is on the rise. The West is leading the charge in testing for certain disabilities and eradicating them through abortion. In the United States, sixty seven percent of children suspected of being born with Down Syndrome are aborted.1 Over ninety percent of those diagnosed worldwide are aborted and new tests for other disabilities are currently being developed.2 Pope Francis has compared this population deletion to the eugenics of the Nazis, and its end is a devaluing of  life for people with disabilities.3 Last year, this problem was recognized on the world stage when the United Nations hosted an event discussing this genocide targeted at people with Down Syndrome.4 Now more than ever, dignity for people with disabilities is under attack as abortion programs work to end their existence.

One would expect disability rights groups to unite with pro-life groups to face this atrocity; however, many have been condemning pro-life groups and supporting policies which expand abortion. Various disability rights organizations have condemned politicians for their pro-life views and are actively supporting abortion causes.5 In the United Nations, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is working with the Center for Reproductive Rights and other pro-abortion groups who are undermining their mission. These groups have worked with the Committee to add the phrase “sexual and reproductive health” into their treaty: a highly controversial phrase that is undefined in international law and is objected to and criticized by several nations.6 This wording is used to expand abortion and pressure countries who agree to it to liberalize their abortion laws.7 By supporting this phrase and similar policies, disability rights groups are aiding in the expansion of abortion. Thus, some of the strongest supporters of people with disabilities are failing to address the disabled’s new and pressing threat.

By supporting abortion programs, disability rights groups are harming their own cause. Abortion is becoming more popular and a driving dialogue behind this expansion is that abortion saves people from miserable lives. The poor, the weak, the marginalized, and especially the disabled are said to be spared from the hardships of and being a burden to the world by being prevented from ever entering it. However, as disability rights advocates (or anyone who has had the privilege of meeting someone with a disability) will tell you, their lives are not a burden but a joy. They are human beings capable of immense and pure love and attaining dignity throughout their lives. I have been a personal witness to people with disabilities carrying great happiness, uniting families, and empowering people to accomplish great things. By no means are their lives not worth living. Unfortunately, the abortion culture disagrees and by supporting abortion, this toxic mindset spreads. Terms like “sexual and reproductive health” are being used to build abortion as a human right.  This right would help make abortion widespread and further normalize the execution of disabled peoples. Additionally, it targets laws protecting the disabled. For example, the protection of unborn disabled children has been labeled “cruel and inhumane” based off the CRPD’s treaty.8 All of this leads to a culture where disabled people lack the right and dignity of life, much less anything beyond. Through their support of abortion policies, many disability rights groups are undermining the dignity of those they seek to serve. Thus, the failure of disabled people’s activists to address the problem of abortion is hindering their ability to secure disability rights, or even secure disabled people’s existence.

Disability rights groups should make a strong effort in combating abortion laws and language to support the dignity of all people. Disability support needs to separate itself from abortion support all together. Abortion language needs to be deleted from policies designed to help the disabled because abortion does the opposite. Cooperation between abortion groups and disability rights groups needs to stop because they are pursuing conflicting ends. To fight against the damage that has been done, disability rights organizations should work with pro-life groups to change the laws and cultures already in place which facilitate death. These two movements both seek to attain dignity of life for all people. Their combined efforts will be a powerful force against discrimination. Fortunately, some disability rights movements are already serving as trail blazers in the fight against disabled abortion. Kurt Kondrich and his daughter Chloe are prominent voices combating Down Syndrome genocide. Chloe, a gifted student and athlete, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome before becoming an international policy influencer: speaking to various government officials and the United Nations. Their family serves as living advocates for the joy and ability that people with disabilities bring to the world.9 The world needs more disability rights advocates like the Kondrichs to exemplify human dignity and fight against the extermination of disabled peoples.

 

 

  1. Matthew P. Schneider, L.C. “Why Don’t Pro-Life and Disability Rights Groups Work Together More Often?”, (American Magazine, 2019), 1.
  2. ,1.
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  4. Rebecca Oas, PhD.”Un Committee on Disabilities Supports Abortion on Disabled Children”, (Center of Family and Human Rights, 2018), 1.
  5. Matthew P. Schneider, L.C. “Why Don’t Pro-Life and Disability Rights Groups Work Together More Often?”, (American Magazine, 2019), 1.
  6. Testimony on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate, 113th Cong. 1-2 (2013).
  7. ,2-3.
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  9. Kondrich (2019, May 31). We Need More Children with Down Syndrome.