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Lives very much worth living

The pro-abortion agenda includes veiled genocide


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Lives very much worth living

In the 21st century, we look back on the slave system of American history and think, “How could people have been so morally confused and thick-headed that they tolerated treating an entire group of humans as less than human?” It understandably boggles the mind that some humans could deem an entire class of other humans to be unworthy of life. It recalls images of the vile concept the Nazis used to such deadly effect—Lebensunwertes Leben—“life unworthy of life.” That deadly lie left such a bloody mark on human history.

After the Dobbs ruling, the question of lives not worth living takes on fresh relevance to states as they wield their newly restored power to shape abortion legislation beyond the federal confines of Roe v. Wade. The pro-life movement finds itself facing a vital opportunity to make the public argument to protect some of the most targeted, oppressed, and dehumanized members of the human family—namely, those with disabilities. The waving moralistic banner of “a woman’s right to choose,” along with extremely rare cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest, has been waved for nearly half a century to blur our vision from a very dirty secret.

In places such as Iceland, “the abortion rate for children diagnosed with Down syndrome approaches 100 percent.” The number is 98 percent in Denmark, and 90 percent in the United Kingdom. The most recent available data from the United States indicates that two-thirds of those detected with Down Syndrome through prenatal testing are aborted. About 27,000 disability selective abortions occur annually in the United States.

That means that about every 20 minutes, a tiny image-bearer of God has his or her life snuffed out at the hands of an abortion doctor, not because the mother’s life is at risk or because of rape or incest, but because the baby has a genetic abnormality. That is immoral, plain and simple. This means one group of humans determining that another group of humans are “life unworthy of life” based on an immutable feature of their identity. Another word for that is “genocide,” a deliberate attempt to erase a category of human beings.

So as states begin to pass laws about abortion, I suggest a modest guideline, an anti-genocide law. It’s straightforward: Any legislation that does not protect small humans (which is what the pre-born are, not merely according to theology but according to science) from lethal targeting, having their nascent lives wiped out based on their perceived genetic inferiority, should have no place in any state in the union.

Allowing such fatal genetic targeting is barbaric, genocidal, and beneath the dignity of a free people.

Allowing such fatal genetic targeting is barbaric, genocidal, and beneath the dignity of a free people. To anyone on the pro-choice side of this contentious issue, ask yourself honestly: Am I OK with laws, no matter the benefits I see to them, that justify the deliberate and systemic attempt to erase a category of human beings—otherwise known as genocide?

To stalwart abortion defenders, I ask: Are you truly, to your core, in favor of any law that justifies the deliberate and systemic attempt to bring genocide to an entire group of human beings? If so, aren’t you guilty of fatal discrimination against humans who do not share the same size, development, you do? Are you OK with parroting the Nazi concept of “life unworthy of life” that was deployed by the moral monsters of the twentieth century?

The counterarguments are predictable. Women, we are told, should not be forced to bring disabled children into the world who would be genetically reduced to lives of extreme hardship and unhappiness, including the hardship and unhappiness of the mother herself. It should be noted that, in our age in which identity within an oppressed group has become a precondition to speaking into a given question, people with disabilities are understandably vehemently opposed to this argument. There is not a single organization of disabled people in favor of abortion of those who may have disabilities.

As Frank Stephens declared before the United Nations, “My life is worth living … I don’t need to be eradicated…. I need to be loved, valued, educated, and, sometimes, helped.” The sinister common thread through all lives not worthy of living arguments is that those making such arguments without exception include themselves in the “worth living” category, while determining that other lives are not. Oh, the hubris, the self-serving bias, the inhumanity of such deadly reasoning.

The fact is that those living with Down syndrome are happy with their lives. Eight in 10 parents of Down syndrome children report a more positive outlook on life, while nine-in-ten siblings report becoming better humans due to their disabled family members. As polarized as American culture is now, consider this question: If we can’t pass basic legislation that outlaws genocide, is there anything truly “united” left in the United States of America?


Thaddeus Williams

Thaddeus Williams is the author of the best-selling book Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice (Zondervan/HarperCollins, 2020). He serves as associate professor of systematic theology for the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and resides in Orange County, Calif., with his wife and four kids.


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