Friday, 4 September 2015

Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion?

This is the title of an op-ed article (LINK) in today's NYTimes, which I submitted a comment on. It wasn't approved, so here it is on my own blog:

An excellent article.

Whether or not to abort a defective foetus really is a decision that only its parents can make, in the knowledge that they themselves will be primarily responsible for caring for it.

We really do need to get away from the notion of all human life, under all circumstances, being "sacred". This is a religious notion bound up with some people's - and, of course, the church's -  desire to claim a spurious moral authority for themselves - and, in the case of the church, the power that goes with it.

Human life is not sacred, but valuable, its value depending on circumstances and perspective. It's just a matter of acknowledging reality. In practice we ALL value lives differently.

It is also time that we stopped denying and demonising the Darwinian nature of our situation, which was an overreaction to some of the more unpleasant ideas and practices associated with "social Darwinism".

Although perverted by civilisation itself, our situation is still essentially Darwinian, as is that of every animal which has evolved on our planet.

With modern medicine and ethics having effectively done away with natural selection, i.e. "natural eugenics", the biological role of which is to keep a population healthy and well adapted to its environment, we have no choice, if we don't want our population of degenerate, but to practice some form of artificial eugenics.

Clearly, it is a difficult issue, but making a taboo of it only serves the ends of "moral supremacists".

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