Pro-life As The Lesser Of Two Evils (Updated)

Now here is an interesting argument. A pro-life stance is the lesser of two evils when the other choice is aborting a particular segment of the population based on their genetic profile. The linked post is a call to support McCain/Palin because of the demonstrated pro-life stance of the Republican ticket.

I have noticed a certain cognitive dissonance in the online autism community on the issue of abortion. For the most part it seems that abortion is okay unless the individual to be aborted was selected for termination based on their genetic profile. Armed with the knowledge that upwards of 90% of babies who test positive for Down Syndrome are aborted autistic advocates and advocates for autistic individuals rightly fear the development of prenatal tests to detect the potential for autism.

The post I linked to above generated the following comment that illustrates the conflict between wanting to protect the life and rights of the unborn autistic individual and wanting to continue abortion on demand:'ve highlighted how the abortion issue flies smack dab into the eugenics debate. I have been struggling with this ever since my son was dx with autism, and since following the opinions of the [Autism] Hub's loudest anti-cure, anti-prenatal testing, anti-eugenics bloggers.

How can one argue against eugenics and anti-prenatal test (anti-cure), while at the same time continue to support abortion (pro-choice is the PC term)?

I am sensing the same confusion in political and autism/special ed/disability blogs. The same "what if rape/incest" is a tired, old (and I'd predict rare) argument.

As a *modern* woman, I used to vote solely on the abortion issue alone (Supreme Court appointees). Now, as a mother, I cannot bring myself to support the Dem party.

I'm with you on McCain/Palin and switched my voter registration this week.

I'm not so conflicted. Abortion has always been the worst possible choice in my view. This is why Sarah Palin has so much appeal. She could have quietly aborted her child like so many women do but she didn't. That's a powerful message about the worth of a human life to her and the people who influenced her.


In a related post ABFH notes that over turning Roe v Wade wouldn't put a stop to abortions particularly those of individuals with disabilities:
That leaves us with the question: If we can't put a stop to selective abortion by legislating it out of existence, how can we protect the next generation of autistic children from being routinely aborted? To find the answer, I believe we need to look at parents' reasons for choosing abortion when they are told their child will have a disability. Most parents who opt to abort are not selfish monsters who just don't want to be bothered with the child; rather, they agonize over the decision and then conclude that abortion is for the best because the child likely would never have an independent and fulfilling life.

And they're not just relying on outdated prejudices and stereotypes in thinking so. It is a fact that people with disabilities face many barriers to independent living in today's society—lack of community services and housing options, in particular, and widespread employment discrimination. These are issues that can be addressed effectively through the political process. When we remove the barriers and build a society in which all people are empowered to live as equal participants in the community, regardless of disability, the rationale for selective abortion disappears.

While we have different political bents on this we agree. Treating people of all abilities with equal respect and value is what we should be striving for.

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  1. While I disagree I can see where they're coming from.

    When the woman aborts because of her circumstances, she's making a statement about her own ability (or desire) to cope. But when she aborts because of a prenatal diagnosis, she is making a statement about all people with that diagnosis -- that they are not worthy of life, that they are better off dead and that the world is better off without them.

    So being prochoice regarding women's circumstances is not embracing prejudice against people -- particularly children -- with disabilities.

  2. There's still that disconnect though that killing a baby in one instance (child is/will be disabled) is unacceptable but acceptable in another (child has no identifiable disability).

  3. Thanks for the link. The reason why these issues are so often seen as separate, in my opinion, is because eugenics encompasses much more than abortion. Eugenics also includes such issues as selection of embryos for in-vitro fertilization based on genetic testing, sterilization of people with disabilities, preventing or discouraging autistics and other genetically different folks from marrying, and so forth.

    Bev wrote a post in April about a sperm bank that removed a donor's samples from its general catalog after he was found to have fathered autistic children. That's eugenics, and whether it is wrong is a completely separate issue from whether people ought to be conceiving babies by means of donated sperm generally.

  4. Over 90 percent? That's terrible.



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