The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“From Termination to Extermination: The International Down Syndrome Genocide”–Professor David Forte in Public Discourse

In a powerful, sobering essay for Public Discourse, JWI Senior Scholar David Forte takes the occasion of Gerber’s newly named baby of the year to offer a reflection on the natural right to life and the genocidal logic at play in significant segments of the “pro-choice” community. Lucas, a beaming two-year-old, is the company’s first ever baby with Down syndrome, and in the face of the growing, increasingly global, practice of aborting children in the womb who share this condition, Forte somberly notes, “He’s lucky to be alive.”

Excerpts from the piece:

“Estimates vary, but in the United States, abortions of children whose Down syndrome is detected in the womb are in the range of about 67 percent. The lethal discrimination practiced against such persons has become a worldwide phenomenon. Iceland has trumpeted its success in eliminating people with Down syndrome from the island. Denmark, whose people heroically saved over 95 percent of the Jews living there during World War II, now boasts that 98 percent of unborn children with the condition are aborted. Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, and Belgium all have rates exceeding 90 percent. Hitler wanted Europe to be judenrein, scrubbed clean of Jews. It seems that today Europe aspires to be DownSyndromerein.”

“The abortion decision is no longer just that baleful utilitarian calculus, “In order to enhance my life’s prospects, I must utterly destroy your life’s prospects.” It is now, “You may not live, because of who you are.” Recall that the first group Hitler sought to destroy was gay people—because of who they were. In China, girls are aborted—because of who they are. In Rwanda, the Tutsis were slaughtered—because of who they were. In America, we have something called pregnancy reduction—a euphemism—when one of twins or triplets is aborted, usually because he or she is smaller than the other. You’re short—you go.”

“During the mass starvation in Ukraine caused by the Soviet government, Joseph Stalin was quoted as having said, “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”  That glib comment is callously wrong. Ukraine’s millions of famine-induced deaths weren’t a statistic. They were a moral catastrophe. The mass extermination of unborn children today is likewise a moral catastrophe. Every year, we track the statistics on abortion. But behind each one of the twenty million or more deaths under Stalin, there was an individual person. Behind each one of the abortion statistics, there is an individual human person, unique, just like you and me, with a life, just like yours and mine, never to be replicated—for all time. Just like Lucas.”

Read the whole essay here.  

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790