“Down Syndrome” was trending on Twitter this week alongside “abortion” after the Supreme Court ruled not to block the Texas Heartbeat Act as members of the abortion lobby suggested abortion is necessary to eliminate Down syndrome.
A heavily cited thread came from Newsweek contributor Richard Hanania who proposed that banning post-heartbeat abortions could overrun red states with children with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
“You can’t screen for Down syndrome before about 10 weeks, and something like 80% of Down syndrome fetuses are aborted,” Hanania wrote. “If red states ban abortion, we could see a world where they have five times as many children with Down syndrome, and similar numbers for other disabilities.”
“Could be outliers in the whole developed world,” he warned in a separate tweet. “There are already negative stereotypes of Americans in these states, one can imagine it getting much more extreme. What if they also ban genetic engineering and embryo selection, while other places go ahead?”
“Will they maintain their belief in a small safety net and lower government spending in such a world?” he added. “Would liberals change their minds about government spending if it ends up going to states that have much higher costs due to these laws? Many interesting things to think about.”
One of those who took issue with protesting the SCOTUS decision because more children with Down syndrome would be born was Princeton University Professor Robert P. George, who reminded his followers of similar arguments used by the Third Reich.
“Why is ‘Down Syndrome’ trending on Twitter?” George asked in a tweet. “Because some people are arguing we need permissive abortion laws so we can ‘screen’ for people with Down’s and kill them in utero. So wrong. No member of the human family is inherently superior or inferior to any other in basic dignity.”
“Sometimes it’s worth remembering that what became known as the Holocaust did not begin with the murder of Jews, or Slavs, or Romani,” George continued. “It began with the killing of the disabled and cognitively impaired. They were regarded as ‘useless eaters’ and declared ‘Lebensunwertes Leben.’”
“The ideology that held Down Syndrome people and others to be ‘lives unworthy of life’ did not originate with the Nazis. It predated their rise,” he added. “Its architects were sophisticated, urbane, progressive people — like legal scholar Karl Binding and medical specialist Alfred Hoche.”
“Claiming that we are ‘eliminating Down Syndrome’ by killing people with Down Syndrome — so long as we catch them early enough — is like claiming that we are ‘eliminating poverty’ by killing poor people,” he argued. “It is barbaric and the very thought of it should fill us with revulsion.”
Another to protest the trend was Dr. Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute, who made similar comparisons.
“Well, one thing that #Twitter has revealed today is that there are an awful lot of oh-so-sophisticated people out there who believe that people with #Downsyndrome are, as Dr. Mengele and other like-minded people said, Lebensunwertes Leben (life unworthy of life),” he wrote.
In response to negative responses to his thread, Hanania dug in his heels, insisting he was just pointing out facts.
“This is an objective observation about the world and it’s triggering many people to just point out the actual implications of their beliefs,” he wrote.