May 13, 2007

Genetic Causation Theory Leads to Autism Eugenics

I missed a lot of stories on my break last year. This is an important one.

Do the proponents of the genetics only theory realize that this is the consequence?

A US example of this fallout is evident in yesterday's LA Times piece by a man whose wife selectively aborted two of the four babies that she was carrying. They aborted the two boys and kept the two girls. One of the reasons they they cited was because boys are more likely than girls to be autistic.

The Eliminators
By Chuck Colson
Thursday, August 3, 2006

British medical researchers recently announced plans to use cutting-edge science to eliminate a condition my family is familiar with: autism. Actually, they are not “curing” autism or even making life better for autistic people. Their plan is to eliminate autism by eliminating autistic people.

There is no in utero test for autism as there is for Down syndrome. As I have previously told “BreakPoint” listeners, that testing, combined with abortion-on-demand, has made people with Down syndrome an endangered population. By some estimates, 90 percent of these people—who, if allowed to live, can live happy and healthy lives—are aborted.

In the absence of such a test for autism, researchers at University College Hospital London are settling for what they call a “close enough” solution. They have applied for permission to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, to screen out male embryos in families with a history of autism.

Their “logic” is that since 90 percent of all autistic people are males, their testing would allow families with autistic children “to have a daughter free from the condition.” Of course, they would have also killed males who were not autistic. Talk about wholesale gender cleansing.

The critics are not convinced. Simone Aspis of the British Council of Disabled People drew the what-should-be obvious inference: “Screening for autism would create a society where only perfection is valued.” In the brave new world of the researchers, it is reasonable to fear “that anyone who is different in any way will not be accepted.”

Here in the states, bioethicist Ben Mitchell said that “if unborn children are being eliminated for a genetic disposition to autism, no one is safe . . . Today autism, tomorrow intelligence below 70 I.Q., the next day male pattern baldness. When will this madness stop?”

The only way to avoid this is to understand that we have no business deciding “who should live and who should die.” And that’s exactly where proposals like this are leading us.

Once a disability is “diagnosed” in utero, women are subject to enormous pressures to have an abortion. According to a recent Business Week article, there’s even a name for women who refuse to have an abortion in these circumstances: “genetic outlaws.”

Despite all the rhetoric about “alleviating suffering,” the bottom line in targeting the disabled in utero is the bottom line. As Business Week puts it, “the social cost of accommodating [their] birth is increasingly being seen as exceeding [their] worth.”

Oh my! This utilitarian view of life inevitably leads us exactly where the Nazis were creating a master race. Can’t we see it?

My heart goes out to parents who are raising autistic children. I know what they face because my daughter is raising a 15-year-old autistic son. But I also know firsthand the joy and blessing these children can bring into our lives. The answer is not to play God and keep them from being born—rather we need to help them and their parents. That’s what “alleviating suffering” really means.

1 comment:

Angela said...

I agree. Take a look at what Autism Speaks stands for. It makes me sick that they get so much publicity and money.

Anyway I have a 3 1/2 year old autistic daughter. I saw a genticist to see what the chances are my son would be autistic. I just wanted to know I had no intentions of terminating. Anyway the dr. told me I should have had invitro with some one else's sperm and then suggested if I was concerned to get an abortion.

Still pregnant hoping for the best and will love my son just as much no matter what.