Iceland is Wiping Out People With Down Syndrome Before They’re Born

CBS investigated Iceland's "dilemma" in a report this week.

By Liberty McArtor Published on August 15, 2017

“In Iceland Down syndrome is on the verge of being eradicated,” CBS anchor Reena Ninan said Monday night. For a second, it sounded as if the cure for some disease had been discovered at long last. The reality is far more sinister. Ninan continued, “and it’s due in large part to the widespread use of genetic testing.”

Genetic testing for what? Down syndrome.

Wiping Out a Group of People

Since prenatal screenings for Down syndrome were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, 100 percent of women whose babies screen positive for Down syndrome have had abortions. 

CBS traveled to Iceland and released their “CBSN: After the Assignment” report Monday night. Titled “Disappearing Down,” the segment is catching heavy blowback from pro-lifers.

Pregnant women are not required to take the screening, CBS reports. But Icelandic law does mandate that they be informed of the option. A spokesperson for Landspitali University Hospital says the majority of women choose to have the screening. 

But the test is only right 85 percent of the time. That is, 15 percent of the time the test returns a false negative. So about two children with Down syndrome are born every year in Iceland. 

One of those children, 7-year-old Agusta, was born to Thordis Ingadottir. When Ingadottir was pregnant with Agusta, her screening test came back negative for Down syndrome. Now, even though she supports legal abortion, she defends the rights of people with Down syndrome.

 “What I’m criticizing is that the government is making this a policy,” Ingadottir told CBS reporter Elaine Quijano. “A policy about directing to women not to have this pregnancy.”

All That’s Left Are Tiny Footprints

But counselor Helga Sol Olafsdottir sees it differently. She works at Landsplitali, where she advises women whose unborn babies have screened positive for Down syndrome.

In the video report, Olafsdottir walks Quijano to the hospital room where abortions take place. She even shows the camera a memento from one previous abortion — a prayer card.

The card includes notes about the aborted baby, including the date of its death and its weight. Below are two tiny ink footprints. 

In Iceland, 100 percent of women whose babies screen positive for Down syndrome have abortions.

The card in the video report shows that at the time of abortion, the baby, whose black footprints stand out starkly on the off-white paper, weighed 56 grams, or about 2 ounces. That means the unborn baby was probably between 14 and 15 weeks gestational age. 

Olafsdottir says some women hold their aborted babies after the procedure. Others even have a priest perform a ceremony. 

Unlike in America, people in Iceland don’t view abortion as murder, Olafsdottir tells CBS. “We look at it as a thing that we ended,” she explains. “We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication … preventing suffering for the child and for the family.”

Happy Faces Banned

But do all people with Down syndrome really suffer? 

Advocates for their rights have rejected that idea. Every year on World Down Syndrome Day (celebrated annually on March 21), Down Syndrome International releases videos from all over the world. The videos show people with Down syndrome in various countries and communities. They feature individuals asking their governments to fully recognize their rights. (Watch 2017 videos from around the world here.)

A similar video launched in France in 2014 for World Down Syndrome Day. Produced by the organization Coor Down, the video shows multiple children and young adults with Down syndrome describing their happy lives. 

But the video was banned in France. The ban was upheld by France’s State Council last November. Seeing happy people with Down syndrome was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices,” the council said. They were referring to women who chose to abort babies with Down syndrome.

Other nations are not far behind Iceland’s 100 percent Down syndrome abortion rate. CBS reports that in France, 77 percent of women whose unborn baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome abort. In Denmark, 98 percent. In the United States, 67 percent. 

Only Valuable For What They Bring?

Later in CBS’ video report, Olafsdottir explains that many parents worry about what Down syndrome will look like for their child down the road. When they are little they are cute, she admits. But for parents in limbo, an “18-year-old boy with Down syndrome plus other problems, is not, maybe, a good thing,” she says.

The video then cuts to another family with two children with Down syndrome. One is a teenage boy. A woman, presumably the mother, notes that he is not like his sister — a smiling young girl shown playing with family members. “He has autism.”

“These are the things that do factor into a parent’s decision whether or not to continue the pregnancy,” Quijano narrates in the video. 

“It is really science versus nature,” Kacey Cherry, a producer of “Disappearing Down” said. “Do we want to eradicate all these illnesses, all these abnormalities, all these disabilities from our society? Or what do these disabilities, what do these individuals, what do these people bring for the world we live in?”

Lacking from Cherry’s statement, it seems, is the value those “individuals” inherently have as human beings — not just in what they may or may not “bring for the world.”

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  • Trilemma

    A number of adults with Down syndrome attend my church. They don’t appear to be suffering. Perhaps the suffering the parents are trying to prevent is only their own.

  • LYoung

    This news made me weep. In Hitler’s Third Reich, the elimination of the disabled, mentally “deficient”, and those with any “non- Aryan” defect was to be discarded like so much trash.
    Iceland’s heart has surely frozen over with contempt for the helpless and a pagan god of selfishness. May God send the gospel to Iceland to reach these hard people. May God raise up godly parents who value the life of their child no matter what condition they are born with. Have mercy on Icelanders, Lord Jesus.

    • Mark McKarrion

      So, this is some Christian site? I with Disqus had filters, cause you can’t tell what sort of site some of the comments are on. Carry on with your Holy Ghostbusters nonsense.

  • ncsugrant

    A good friend of mine has a daughter who is a rising Junior in HS. She is one of the top students in her school, and outstanding in every way. Her parents were told that she would have Down Syndrome, and were encouraged to have an abortion. They ignored the test and the horrific “advice”, and she was born perfectly healthy. It is plenty bad enough that these monstrous “medical professionals” have condoned the killing of innocent babies that did have Down Syndrome. Think how many people were deceived into killing perfectly healthy children.
    These people have blood on their hands.

  • Mensa Member

    >> Iceland is Wiping Out People With Down Syndrome Before They’re Born

    “People before they are born” is a highly debatable concept.

    • Patmos

      Fake Christian troll.

    • ncsugrant

      I guess it depends upon the participants of the debate. The moral relativists do indeed struggle with this question.
      Those among us who have been enlightened by the truth of scripture do not continue to wrestle with this one.

      • Mark McKarrion

        There is nothing truthful about your “scripture”. Truth is that every other animal on earth eliminates or abandons it’s deformed or defective offspring at birth, leaving only healthy populations. If you believe in nonsensical scriptures and look up to the sky for solutions instead of the problems at hand, then this topic is simply out of your intellectual reach.

    • Bob Adome

      Bless your little heart. Don’t know why folks is so mean to you. Why, just guess they missed that rung you moved up on.

  • Alfy

    They are not irradicating Down syndrome. They are killing everyone with it. Big difference !

  • Nancy Weidner

    Maybe if we remove cancer from everyone who has it we can eradicate cancer. Maybe if we cut everyones hair really short people will be be born with short hair. This is so stupid and ignorant it’s breathtaking. These people should take a class in genetics. We’ve known this does not work since the 19th century.

  • Mark McKarrion

    Thank you, but God is always with me and he does not live in anyone’s church, anyone’s book or anyone’s religion. God is much much larger than Christianity, and eventually when you are older and wiser, you will realize that. Despair and hopelessness are painful, yes. But they too are lessons from God, and God is responsible for them. This is reality, not religion.

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