Lacking Logic: When People Compare Abortion to Eugenics

Did the title of this post grab your attention? Good.

It's being posted as a way to educate those who need it, as well as a response to so many of the comments I've been getting over the past week regarding my views on choosing abortion over the diagnosis of Trisomy 21, or Down's Syndrome. While it's reported that a statistical majority of women choose abortion when given this diagnosis, it appears that those who oppose it are rather loud and boisterous in their activism. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as everyone should take up a cause they believe in, but when you're ignorant you can only do your cause more harm than good. (read more below)

It  is absolutely ignorant to refer to everything one disagrees with as nazi-like or somehow pertaining to Adolf Hitler. The super-far-left referred to former President G.W. Bush as "Hitler" -- and it appears that the name has simply become a watered down insult flung out by those who lack the substance to piece together an argument worth listening to and considering.
"You don't share my ideologies? Well, you are no better than Hitler, you fascist!"

(insert dramatic eye-roll here, please)

I do not bother responding to such comments, but after so many times of being accused of harnessing "eugenics" and being literally called Hitler, I feel maybe it's time to make a post sharing some simple educational resources and definitions as well as a clarification on my stances. I hardly believe this attempt will be fruitful, for I even tried explaining myself in the comments section of this article; to which a couple of posters still misdefined "eugenics" and stuck to the name-calling -- well isn't that just mature and stable! That was sarcasm of course.

So what is eugenics? 
In short: Eugenics is the science of improving the human population through controlled breeding. Many people connect this applied science to the Nazi movement, headed by Adolf Hitler. However, it's far older than that. It simply took on a rather dark veil once Hitler shat all over science with his abominable ideals of what the "ideal race" would be. Hitler's vision was a perverse, twisted mutation of eugenics -- pun intended. 

Eugenics can be both good and bad, you see. It's a neutral concept. Many things could be considered "eugenic" to the human race, but the sad thing is that passionate activists, for whatever social causes they support, tend to latch onto only the most negative connotations. In fact, some people are downright ignorant over the fact that they are stared in the face by eugenics of varied sorts every day. 
  • Education against incestuous relationships is considered a "eugenic" force in preventing the copulation of family members resulting in defected offspring. We all know by now that diddling in your own gene pool ends  in less-than-positive results. The modernization of rural communities known for inbreeding is another form of eugenics. For example, J.B.S. Haldane stated that the "motor bus, by breaking up inbred village communities, was a powerful eugenic agent." -- does this sound like a "negative" thing? 
  • When a woman selects a husband based on the type of children he could help her conceive, she has committed a form of eugenics. Guess what, it's scientifically proven that mammals (especially humans) select sexual and romantic partners based on the primal desire to mate. That leftover bit of nature inside of us wants to choose a strong mate, a mate who can provide, a mate with strong genes to assure strong and healthy children. That's eugenics, sweeties, and it's natural. In fact, it's so natural that it's been a part of animal existence as far as recorded history allows us to study. By the very definition of the term, it's eugenics because it's still selective breeding. It's "positive eugenics." 
  • Did you know that micro-eugenics is practiced by most of the religions in the world? For instance, when a young woman is married into a family chosen by her parents, they have micro-managed the way their daughter reproduces by choosing the bloodline that merges with their own family. This is done in just about any religion including Christianities many branches and Mormonism. When a young missionary courts someone handpicked from another LDS family in hopes of marrying and starting a family, she has committed micro-eugenics. Is it a bad thing? Choosing a kinship with which to breed is something that royalty has also practiced since the dawn of mankind. Damn those dirty eugenicists! 
So there you have. That's basically the "positive" eugenics discussion in a nutshell. We all know what immediately comes to mind though when someone mentions it:
You see that image? It's a propaganda poster, obviously, but it expresses a sentiment that shines a light on negative eugenics, which was made a fear-mongering ideal by Hitler and his Nazi movement. This type of eugenics is referred to as Macro-Eugenics (negative!) Macro, as the word denotes, is on a large scale as opposed to micro, which is small scale. Macro-Eugenics involves the use of policies that affect entire populations of human beings. Forced sterilization, etc etc.; these are things that are negative and on a "macro" scale of eugenics. You get it? 

Down's Syndrome and Abortion: Is it Eugenics? 

Absolutely not! After knowing precisely what eugenics is and how it's applied, it truly is a ridiculous sight to see someone comparing abortion to it. 
  • Is abortion selective breeding? Nope. It is simply one of the results of breeding in general. 
  • Is abortion forced upon people in the United States? Nope
  • Does abortion in any way affect the gene pool or bloodline of the persons involved? Nope. Having an abortion isn't going to magically change your genetic traits, nor is it going to change the genetic traits of your partner(s). Having an abortion doesn't mean you're next pregnancy is going to miraculously be any better, worse or different at all. Your future children will not inherit anything as a result of your past abortions. Get it?
With all of this said, it really doesn't need to be stated that choosing abortion over giving birth to a child with Down's Syndrome is absolutely not eugenics. By the simplistic questions and answers above that should be certain. How is this "selective breeding?" It isn't.  Furthermore as a consenting human adult in the United States you can commit micro-eugenics all you want. It's your choice and nobody else has the right to tell you differently thanks to Roe v. Wade. If you want to seek a new partner in hopes of not creating another child afflicted by Trisomy 21, that is absolutely your choice. If you want to stop trying to reproduce altogether because of it, that is also your choice. You see, stopping yourself from breeding because of your genes, is in fact eugenics, but it's self-decided and not forced upon anyone by the government. So therefore, it is still none of anybody's business if you do so. 

Nonetheless, it is simply not eugenics to seek an abortion after receiving a diagnosis of Down's Syndrome. It is simply removing a defected fetus from your womb so as not to be pregnant any longer. Your chances of having another baby with Down's Syndrome only increases after an initial Trisomy 21 diagnosis, so again, abortion is certainly not eugenics. You're not improving your gene pool by aborting! You're simply taking the child into consideration and preventing it from having to live a life of potential dependency and suffering. 

So what do you say to someone who calls you "Hitler" for supporting a woman's right to choose this solution when given a diagnosis of Down's Syndrome? You could either link them to this article or simply ignore them. Because, to be completely honest, they aren't trying to prove any points, nor are they trying to sway you're opinion; they are simply being ugly and insulting and it's usually based on a low form of intelligence that thinks anything and everything is eugenics and it all boils down to being called a fascist simply because you're expressing your freedom of choice.

Where is the logic in that? 

Fascism in and of itself is the most extreme of right-wing ideologies. Hitler was a fascist and believe it or not it's really associated with conservatives and pro-lifers more than liberal-minded Americans. It is they who want to strip a woman of her right to seek medically necessary abortions. They are the ones who are intolerant of other ideals and the decisions others want to make with their own damn bodies.

More lack of logic:

Speaking of eugenics, some parents of children with Down's Syndrome (as well as other loved ones) tend to make comments regarding the desire for others to have these type of children. Isn't that eugenics? A desire to not only force a woman to carry said child, but to then hope that this is spread through their genes into their children, their children's children, etc., etc., and so on? That is altering the gene pool, by the way. To be so extreme that one wishes Down's Syndrome would become a normal integrated part of the human genome is rather sick to be honest -- and is the same kind of eugenics practiced by the Nazi Movement. It's called Macro-Eugenics, and it's the purposeful desire to affect the entire human population with your ideals on what traits are "desirable." 

And yet more lack of logic:

"I'm pro-choice but you're completely wrong for aborting a defected fetus, and you are like Hitler." 

Well, I think comments like these pretty much sum it all up for us. Stop pretending to be pro-choice for the sake of attempting to win a debate. You make yourselves look like fools when you make statements similar to the one quoted above. Being pro-choice means you support a woman's right to choose. Pro-choice doesn't mean : "I support your right to choose unless it's to choose abortion."  nor does it mean: "I support your right to choose abortion as long as it's for a reason I agree with." 

Do you want to know another reason why this "I'm pro-choice, but..." comment is so absolutely stupid? Because it indicates that the person making the statement is more okay with completely healthy "normal" babies being aborted, but not defected fetuses that the body does try to flush from it in at least a quarter of Trisomy 21-related pregnancies. It indicates that you'd rather a completely in-shape fetus be flushed from a woman's body than a fetus that has the potential to be severely impaired on physical and cognitive levels. It indicates that you'd rather a parent give birth to one of these chromosomal defects than a healthy baby. To be honest, comments like these that come from parents of Down's Syndrome kids come across as nothing more than bitterness and the wishing of the same fate on others. And that is me being as blunt and honest as I can be on the matter. Wishing "the same fate on others" while only condoning the abortive process of healthy and viable fetuses that are free of defects -- just reeks of eugenics. 

So again, this is a choice that should be left between parents and their doctors. Period. This isn't something that any other person has the right to sway or influence others about, nor is it a platform for bullying people who simply want to see a better family tree for their names and bloodlines. As stated in the last article, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making the choice to NOT abort. In fact, good for you if you don't seek an abortion -- but to climb upon a soapbox and call those who do choose or support abortion in these situations eugenicists or Nazi-like, just makes you look very under-educated and extremely intolerant of a woman's right to choose as well as a parent's right to raise the quality of family that they want to raise.


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Tracy said...

As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, I think some of the parents you talk about are indeed pro choice and do think that there could be justification for abortion, but know that many parents make the decision to terminate based on dated material supplied to them by their doctors. These parents want better information out there so that the decision that is made is based on relevant information. Children with Down syndrome are doing more and more everyday. Yes there are challenges; yes it can be hard; but it can also be a very rewarding experience to raise a child with Down syndrome. I think that some of your readers are just saying that they wish that expectant mothers had the opportunity to hear both sides of the story before they make the decision to abort. I cannot argue with anyone who makes a decision to abort after finding out about a Down syndrome diagnosis as long as they have looked at both sides of the story.

Chelsea Hoffman said...

The material produced by doctors isn't dated. In fact, what I've run into lately by those who are dead-against aborting defected fetuses is what you're accusing trained medical professionals of doing. At least four times in the past week alone I've witnessed at least one person using sources from the 1960s and 70s to try to back up their stance on why abortion of defected fetuses/embryos is wrong.

And yes, knowing both sides of the "story" is great. But parents of these children need to realize that their experiences can't speak for the experiences of anyone else. Why is it only the parents of "mildly" affected children who speak out for the "knowing both sides" case?

Where are the parents of the ones who aren't so easy-peasy? There are children so affected by this that taking the gamble on whether yours will be mild or severe just simply is NOT worth it to many (if not most) parents.

And, Tracy, you're part of the minority when it comes to how well you're handing yourself in this discussion. The people who come at me "guns blazing" because I've only repeated science fact to back up my opinion... are just more proof of why I'm right.

You on the other hand, are among those who should be respected. JMHO.