Currently there is a case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that all of us across the world should be watching very carefully. A Latvian woman gave birth to a daughter with Down syndrome and she filed a lawsuit against her physician in the courts of her country suing for damages. The woman claimed she was not informed of the possibility of prenatal testing to screen for Down syndrome which would have given her the option to terminate her pregnancy. She asserts that she did not benefit from the “prenatal care” necessary to treat her pregnancy, and one can conclude that the prenatal care is the screening for Down syndrome, and the treatment of her pregnancy after this “prenatal care” would have been termination. She has sued for compensation due to the emotional stress and financial injury that she sustained by having a child with Down syndrome.
The Latvian courts rejected her demand after determining that the physician had offered this prenatal screening test. The woman is now submitting what she considers to be her personal injury case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and her request was filed in the name of the right to “respect for private and family life.” This lawsuit has a particular significance because, for the first time, European judges will have to rule on the right to abortion related to the “health” of the child (in this case, one with Down syndrome). The court’s decision will establish legal precedent which will determine in law whether or not there is a fundamental right in the European Union to abort a child who has Down syndrome.
The question before the judges of the ECHR is this: “Is the elimination of persons who have Down syndrome a fundamental human right?” This eugenic trend of prenatal screening leading to abortion in many member states of the European Union is already well known, and in France 96 percent of fetuses detected as having Down syndrome are terminated. This case would protect in the law a parent’s right to end the life of preborn infants with Down syndrome as a fundamental right and will lead to the segregation and stigmatization of a specific category of human beings based on their genetic makeup. This not only denies the humanity of persons with a genetic disability, it formally establishes a legally sanctioned mechanism for their elimination, and makes that mechanism available to any woman.
Declaring that a “right to terminate because of one’s state of health” is a fundamental “human right” would be revolutionary, and this is the first time that the European Court of Human Rights has been called upon to decide whether or not the life of a person with a disability is worth living. The ECHR is the guarantor of human rights and fundamental freedoms and intangible higher standards of life for all European citizens, and [its] decisions have a particularly strong impact because they establish principles that the member states must follow.
The court is based in Strasbourg in the Human Rights Building—a building whose image is known worldwide. From here, the court monitors respect for the human rights of 800 million Europeans in the 47 Council of Europe member states that have ratified the convention. If the right to eugenic abortion is recognized in the ECHR, then all of us across the globe need to be asking the question, “Who is next to be targeted?” Eliminating people based on a false perception of perfection and classifying it as a “health” issue is a slippery slope we cannot afford to get on and once [we] start down [it we] will never be able to exit.
An individual with Down syndrome has 47 chromosomes, and this court overseeing a 47-member council may well determine if these priceless human beings go from the endangered list to the extinction list. Having witnessed daily the positive seeds, light, and unconditional love my beautiful daughter, 8-year-old Chloe, who has Down syndrome has planted in the world, I can say with absolute certainty that when we all stand in front of God on judgment day we will wish we had 47 chromosomes.
May God grant us the wisdom to open our eyes to this culture of death and see the truth of God’s most precious, priceless gift—human life!
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/kondrich/120412.
If you would like to sign a petition regarding this important issue and have your voice heard about the importance of all human life, go to http://www.stopeugenicsnow.org/.
Kurt Kondrich is the father of a beautiful daughter who has Down syndrome and who has been a priceless blessing to his family and community. When Kurt became aware of the higher than 90 percent abortion rate for children prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome, he literally could not sleep at night. In early August 2008, he had a disturbing dream about people with disabilities being exterminated and, after praying, he came up with the name SADSIN (Stop Aborting Down Syndrome Individuals Now) for a web site to defend and protect children with Down syndrome. He has since embarked on a mission to make sure people are aware of this genocide. He wants people to see the beautiful faces of our kids and realize the priceless blessings and gifts they are to a society that has lost focus.