Abortion Myth #8
An unborn baby diagnosed through prenatal testing as
deformed or handicapped is better off aborted.

Abortion Facts
To accept abortion in the case of a possible handicap means accepting the belief that people with disabilities are less valuable than those with none. Society already recognizes the humanity of a child with a handicap after he is born. Otherwise there wouldn’t be special parking and elevators for the handicapped, personalized education programs, the Special Olympics, and walkathons for charities that help those with disabilities.

The doctor’s diagnosis following prenatal testing may be incorrect. As a result, many abortions performed on eugenic grounds have ended the lives of children who did not even have the disease. In other cases, the child’s deformity is very minor.

What Would You Decide?
The father has syphilis and the mother has tuberculosis. They have four children. The first one was blind, the second one died, the third one was deaf and mute, and the fourth one has tuberculosis. The mother is now pregnant with her fifth child but is willing to have an abortion, if you determine that she should. What would you decide for her? If you chose abortion... Congratulations....You’ve just killed Beethoven.
                                                     -Medical history from R.C. Agnew, USC Medical School.

Handicapped Life = Unhappy Life?
Abortions due to probable handicaps rob the world of unique human beings who are often happy, always precious, and usually delighted to be alive. A number of patients with spina bifida were asked whether their handicaps made life meaningless and if they should have been allowed to die after birth. “Their unanimous response was forceful. Of course they wanted to live! In fact they thought the question was ridiculous.”(1)

It is telling that not a single organization of handicapped people is on record in favour of abortion of those who may be handicapped.(2) Furthermore, it is significant that there has not been a single organization of parents of mentally handicapped children that has ever endorsed abortion.(3)

Assistance is Available
Parents who receive the news that their unborn child has been diagnosed with serious illness or disability understandably face many questions and uncertainties. Sadly they are often urged to make a quick decision about whether or not to abort and are not told about the harm that having an abortion could cause the mother. Research reveals that 40% of women who abort for fetal abnormality suffer long-term emotional distress.

In addition, very little time is given to learn what parenting a child with a disability involves and about supports available in the community. Information about government services and agencies that provide assistance is needed before the child’s birth to reassure parents of the help that will exist for their child with a disability.

A geneticist tells this thought-provoking story that challenges society’s assumptions about the relative worth of the handicapped, as opposed to “normal” people:
Many years ago, my father was a Jewish physician in Braunau, Austria. On one particular day, two babies had been delivered by one of his colleagues. One was a fine, healthy boy with a strong cry. His parents were extremely proud and happy. The other was a little girl, but her parents were extremely sad, for she was a Down syndrome baby. I followed them both for almost fifty years. The girl grew up, living at home, and was finally destined to be the one who nursed her mother through a very long and lingering illness after a stroke. I do not remember her name. I do, however, remember the boy’s name. He died in a bunker in Berlin. His name was Adolf Hitler.(4)

The question is not whether an unborn child is physically or mentally handicapped but whether he is fully human and deserving of all the rights of that status.

(1) W. Peacock, “Active Voluntary Euthanasia,” Issues in Law and Medicine, 1987, cited by Willke, Abortion Questions, 212.
(2) Francis J. Beckwith, Politically Correct Death, 1995, 66
(3) John Willke, Abortion Questions and Answers (Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing Co., 1988), 211.
(4) Randy Alcorn, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, 2000, 227.