Sunday 24 June 2018

Abortion becomes weapon of discrimination against disabled

Respect for people with disabilities means recognising their right to exist, writes lecturer Thomas Finegan

'The sad reality of highly permissive abortion laws of the kind the Government is proposing is that, in practice, abortion becomes a weapon of discrimination against the disabled.' Stock photo: PA
'The sad reality of highly permissive abortion laws of the kind the Government is proposing is that, in practice, abortion becomes a weapon of discrimination against the disabled.' Stock photo: PA

Thomas Finegan

Today we recognise this, but less than 100 years ago the most advanced and liberal societies in the world denied it. In England, Scandinavia, and the United States the eugenics movement considered that people with disabilities stood in the way of progress and social evolution. Their solution? Coerced sterilisation, segregation, and even termination.

We recoil in horror at these ideas now and yet the disabled are once again under threat. Those campaigning for abortion are anxious to distance the referendum from disability, and conceal the reality that babies with disabilities will be aborted in overwhelmingly disproportionate numbers if the Government's proposals are passed.

The sad reality of highly permissive abortion laws of the kind the Government is proposing is that, in practice, abortion becomes a weapon of discrimination against the disabled. Permissive abortion laws aren't neutral as regards disabled lives. They equip societal prejudice with a lawful means to cleanse disabled voices, faces and personalities from everyday life; 90pc of children diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb in Britain are aborted. The figure in Denmark is 98pc. In Iceland it's virtually 100pc.

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