WHO: Down Syndrome Is A Severe Birth Defect

WHO: Down Syndrome Is A Severe Birth Defect

WHO: Down Syndrome Is A Severe Birth Defect

The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed in a blog post what, exactly, they thought of children born with Down Syndrome.

According to this from the Daily Wire, WHO received harsh criticism for their assessment and rightly so.

The most common severe birth defects are heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome.”-WHO


…ultrasound can be used to screen for Down syndrome and major structural abnormalities during the first trimester, and for severe fetal anomalies during the second trimester.”-WHO

The WHO wants the rest of the world to get on board with Iceland and Denmark and France…because, why not?

Reading between the lines, WHO wants to categorize an extra chromosome as a “birth defect” to further justify their support for “comprehensive abortion services“:

Making health for all a reality, and moving towards the progressive realization of human rights, requires that all individuals have access to quality health care, including comprehensive abortion care services – which includes information, management of abortion, and post-abortion care.”-WHO

The argument here is this, is Down Syndrome a “severe birth defect” or a “genetic defect”? If it is simply a “genetic defect”, does it qualify for pre-screening and, perhaps, subsequently, abortion? Whereas, if WHO classifies Down Syndrome as a “severe birth defect”, can the push be made for “comprehensive abortion care”? Where do we draw that line in the sand? Parents of children with Downs are angry, and rightly so:

On the world stage, of the world order, WHO wants their classification to be known:

Living overseas in Japan for a few years, I watched a dear friend of mine on edge day-to-day as she waited for health assessments of her newborn in the NICU. This newborn is now a fabulous 11 year-old girl with Down Syndrome. To read the words “severe birth defect” on The WHO’s webpage is heartbreaking. To see these words is also indicative of how callous the WORLD view of life has become. Personally, after WHO flip-flopped on pandemic guidelines, I am not sure who actually takes what they have to say with any sort of credence.

Having a child with Downs is not for the faint of heart. It is a long haul. It may, for some, be too much. It may, for some, look to be an inconvenience and nothing but heartbreak. For most, who have children living normal lives, it may come with a great deal of misunderstanding.

Few of us have had meaningful personal relationships with someone who has Down Syndrome. I think that is part of why they are aborted in such alarming numbers: Their lives are unfamiliar to us and sometimes defined by limitations and impairments. We are afraid of what we do not know. And we are afraid of suffering: ours and theirs.”-JD Flynn, America

When it comes to children who are alive and well, we’re told to not be judgmental. We’re told to not to run and hide from the unknown. Our society tells us that it is perfectly okay for a pre-teen to decide to be the opposite gender and take puberty blockers because they have rights. Yet a child with an extra chromosome, a flattened nose, and misshapen ears has a “severe birth defect” and not granted the same respect, honor and courtesy? The WHO is pushing to normalize this dialogue.

My children do not exist to teach me lessons, but they have. They have taught me that it is a gift to spend time in the company of someone, with no thought given to the passage of time or the tasks to be completed. They have taught me that independence is a myth and interdependence a strength. They have taught me that love comes from seeing a person as they are and not from technocratic assessments of what they can do.”-JD Flynn

But WHO is looking to push forward with a shift in language. If Down Syndrome is defined as a “severe birth defect”, then the justification for abortion does not follow too far behind this classification. And, just like that, the definition of “eugenics” also becomes less severe. From our friends at The Atlantic:

That word, eugenics, today evokes images that are specific and heinous: forced sterilization of the “feebleminded” in early-20th-century America, which in turn inspired the racial hygiene of the Nazis, who gassed or otherwise killed tens of thousands of people with disabilities, many of them children. But eugenics was once a mainstream scientific pursuit, and eugenicists believed that they were bettering humanity. Denmark, too, drew inspiration from the U.S., and it passed a sterilization law in 1929. Over the next 21 years, 5,940 people were sterilized in Denmark, the majority because they were “mentally retarded.” Those who resisted sterilization were threatened with institutionalization.”-The Atlantic

Of course, hey neglect to mention one of the biggest eugenicists of all, Ms. Margaret Sanger. What makes her different than the Nazis in Germany? No one would ever think to call Adolf Hitler an “activist”, yet here we are.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/United States Mission Geneva, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Every fertilized ovum has SOME genetic defect – multiple ones.

    Down’s Syndrome, like all genetic defects, has a VERY wide range. I have known several with it – for some, it was no more of a problem than my severe myopia; inconvenient, but they are living a perfectly “normal” life. One is a Professor of Civil Engineering. (Actually, I think he’s probably retired by now; I’ve lost touch.)

    I obviously don’t know anyone on the other end of the range – which is “not viable.”

  • LW says:

    Besides Down Syndrome, look down at the next category: thalassemia and sickle cell. Consider the implications of *that* one.

  • Let’s be fair. Only an idiot who has never had contact with children or adults with Down’s Syndrome could sustain the level of self-delusion necessary to not classify it as “a severe birth defect.” Yes, it’s defective. It is harmful to living one’s life like everyone else. It is an impairment. It is, the vast majority of cases, deeply debilitating.

    And I say this as someone with a severe physical birth defect. I’ve spent a lot of time my entire life with other people with severe, significant birth defects, a number of them people with Down’s Syndrome. A child with Down’s Syndrome requires special care and education which is inherently expensive. An adult will require a certain amount of care provided by someone else until they die. No, not the normal level that every individual requires – a significant, notably costly amount, one which if we are truthful they are not returning in productivity to society. They cost more than they make.

    That’s not to say they are valuable as people, but because of their disabilities and their health issues they cost money and time to maintain.

    And here’s the funny part – those who are capable of expressing the idea will often agree that they do. They know the truth. There’s a reason that depression is pretty common among people with severe physical and mental disabilities.

    Dancing around and pretending otherwise doesn’t make it so.

    Your objection is to the idea that a parent – no, a mother, because it’s always a mother’s decision – who isn’t interested in putting herself through that cost and level of emotional suffering should have a choice. And because ultimately the idea is about taking choice away from a cogent adult, we know how to really think about your knee-jerk, primarily emotional reaction.

    You can have an entire range of opinions about how children and adults who are born with significant physical and mental defects are treated by society and – ironically – by emotionally driven people like yourself. Many of those opinions should be negative, if you’re honest with yourself. Certainly many of mine are. But until the blindly pro-life activists start buying out women’s wombs outside Planned Parenthood, I won’t think very much of them, either.

    It’s not your womb. It’s not your woman. And it’s not your baby. The moment you begin to act like it is or that you want to make the State the executor of your will when it comes to owning any of those three things – you’ve advocated for the slavery of another. Then it’s just a property rights issue.

    They aren’t your property.

  • Deborah B says:

    I was equally surprised Sickle cell disease (SCD) and Thalassemia were included in this. Since African Americans (in this country) are the ones commonly affected, eugenics does indeed rear its ugly head. I have known several SCD folks in my lifetime and I am appalled that anyone would consider them defective ( and worthy of culling?).

    • Tay-Sachs is another nasty genetic disease. Carried by one in 27 Jews in the US. (Also prevalent in Louisiana Cajuns and St. Lawrence French-Canadians.)

      One can envision the “progressive” implications.

  • 370H55V says:

    @Andrew Daub

    I have a son William too, who is low functioning autistic. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. God bless all our special children.

  • RTG says:

    @Andrew Daub
    I agree, Down Syndrome is a birth defect (severity variable). However, I refute the notion that any human being should be killed because of any birth defect regardless of severity. Life’s not fair and no one is guaranteed a perfect child or a life free from suffering. In any case, your “perfect” child might be hit by a car and end up more dependent and disabled than a child with Down Syndrome.

    If you want choices, the time to make them is before conception, not afterwards. A mother doesn’t get a “choice” to let her infant starve to death because it’s inconvenient to take of him and she’d rather “live her own life”. She doesn’t get to beat her children either. If society can restrict these “choices”, it can restrict abortion.

    With regards to the article, I have a problem with this drive to portray Down Syndrome through rose-colored glasses. It fails to address the larger issue of a society that rejects suffering and sees certain lives as not worth living (or paying for). It plays into the agenda of euthanasia advocates as well.

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