A conservative law group has accused the abortion industry in countries like Iceland and Denmark of carrying out “evil eugenics,” pointing to very high abortion rates for unborn babies with Down syndrome in a statement before the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.
Doctors in Iceland have disputed the international media’s coverage of the abortion situation in the country, however.
“The abortion industry is once again using abortion to accomplish an evil eugenics agenda worldwide. One nation even claims to have used abortion to eradicate Down syndrome — proudly slaughtering innocent babies,” the American Center for Law and Justice wrote on Wednesday, referring to Iceland.
The ACLJ reported that its affiliate, the European Center for Law and Justice, has delivered an oral intervention at the 36th regular session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, speaking out on the plight of unborn children affected with Down syndrome.
The ECLJ told the Council of the Durban Conference in paragraph 73 from the report of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which declares that states must take measures “to prevent genetic research or its applications (…) from being used for discriminatory or racist purposes.”
The law group warned that the rise of prenatal screening tests across the world has led to Down syndrome people “facing the threat of eradication and some countries, such as Iceland, are on the verge of eradicating all Down syndrome births.”
“This systematic elimination of affected children before — or even at birth — is a contemporary form of eugenics and racism,” it continued.
The ACLJ said that in Denmark, 98 percent of all unborn children suspected of having Down syndrome are terminated, along with 77 percent in France, and 67 percent in the U.S.
As for Iceland and its reported near total abortion rate of unborn children with Down syndrome, the law group pointed to a CBS News report from August, which talks about the European nation’s overwhelming embrace of “technology, healthcare support and women’s rights.”
The CBS News report, which described Down syndrome as “disappearing” in Iceland, prompted strong reactions from pro-life voices.
Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton, who is an honorary chair of the organization Feminists for Life, tweeted at the time: “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.”
She added that “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
James Dobson, a Christian psychologist and founder of Focus on the Family, suggested that Iceland is practicing “Nazi-era eugenics.”
“This is a trend closely followed by other Western nations including Denmark, France and even the United States. We should all be deeply sorrowful and outraged,” Dobson said in a statement shared with The Christian Post.
Hulda Hjartardóttir, chief of obstetrics at Iceland’s National University Hospital, said that the CBS News report was inaccurate, however, and that it sparked misleading coverage.
Hjartardóttir said in an Iceland Monitor article in August that while it’s true that almost 100 percent of women who go through all the tests that indicate Down syndrome decide to terminate their pregnancies, as many as one third of mothers choose not to have more tests done after the first indication of Down syndrome, and to continue with the pregnancies.
He said, “80 to 85 percent of women choose to have the screening, so there are 15 to 20 percent who don’t. Those women don’t want the information. Of the women who have the screening and get results that point to increased risk, about 75 to 80 percent get further tests done but 20 to 25 percent choose not to. That’s a group that after counseling and discussions can’t bear the thought of ending the pregnancy despite the Down syndrome emerging,” she explained at the time.