In a staggeringly horrifying column for The Washington Post, abortion advocate Ruth Marcus argues that women should have the right to abort a baby with Down syndrome, to eliminate, through bald eugenics, “undesirable” humans from the gene pool, for their own good.
Marcus is being heralded as “brave” and “thought-provoking” for her approach, which argues that both families — and those with Down syndrome — would be better off if the condition was simply eradicated through selective termination, because individuals with Down syndrome are generally less intelligent, and often represent a lifelong care commitment.
There’s no point in just quoting you the highlights.
But accepting that essential truth is different from compelling a woman to give birth to a child whose intellectual capacity will be impaired, whose life choices will be limited, whose health may be compromised. Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate cognitive impairment, meaning an IQ between 55 and 70 (mild) or between 35 and 55 (moderate). This means limited capacity for independent living and financial security; Down syndrome is life-altering for the entire family.
I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted. That was not the choice I would have made. You can call me selfish, or worse, but I am in good company. The evidence is clear that most women confronted with the same unhappy alternative would make the same decision.
Marcus lives by her principles. In her Twitter bio, she claims she’s a mother to two “high-quality individuals,” though that’s largely a subjective assessment. Which is, of course, the problem with Marcus’ theoretical argument.
Nazi Germany began a crusade to eliminate the similarly undesirable: a “palliative” eugenics campaign that targeted the mentally ill, the intellectually underdeveloped, the physically incapable, and the terminally ill. But the definitions quickly expanded on their program, as those who ran — and championed — such an effort determined there were more socially undesirable people than just those suffering from “moderate cognitive impairment.”
Conservatives were quick to point out the flaw in her argument on Twitter.
Monstrous evil unashamedly displayed. You would never say that women need the right to abort, say, a fetus predisposed to be gay, or a fetus predisposed to be alcoholic, or a fetus predisposed to be (*cough*China*cough*) female. https://t.co/vTSprDqjaw
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) March 10, 2018
Across the globe, some of the scariest words an expectant mother can hear are “It’s a girl.” The United Nations estimates that somewhere around 200 million women are missing in the world today because of pre-term gender screening that led to sex-selective abortion.
They also pointed out that Marcus is actually wrong about individuals with Down syndrome being miserable, angry, and unable to adapt to society.
A 2011 study found that nearly 99% of people with Down syndrome over the age of 12 said they were happy with their lives. 99% said they loved their families. 97% said they liked their brothers and sisters. 86% felt they could make friends easily. https://t.co/zSXpNiZO2d
— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) March 10, 2018
Marcus does deserve some credit, though, for at least admitting that she’s looking to streamline the human race through abortion. That’s something even Planned Parenthood — founded by a prominent eugenicist that wanted to cull the herd of minorities that she felt were polluting the human race — refuses to acknowledge. It’s sick and twisted, but she’s honest.
The problem is, of course, that history won’t judge Ruth Marcus the way Ruth Marcus judges herself.