“What kind of society do you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing

Read the article here.

My heart is breaking right now for these lost and broken people. It’s hard to even put into words the sadness of this tragedy. They speak of Down syndrome disappearing as if it is a result of a cure or scientific advancement that has helped those with Down syndrome. As if they have completely prevented mothers from becoming pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome, but that is not the truth. The fact of the matter is that this eradication of Down syndrome is a result of genocide.

Through abortion, Iceland has killed all but 1-2 babies with Down syndrome per year, according to this article. Imagine if the word Down syndrome was replaced with another group of people – “Jews” or “Blacks” or “women” or “men” or “kids with freckles” even. There would be absolute outrage. Marches in the streets. Riots. However, because this is a group of people who some may think of as medically different or having possible medical needs that may interrupt the lives of the parents, this genocide has been whitewashed and praised.

Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years. 

Many people without Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average life span of at least 60 years. Many people without Down syndrome can live hard, unhealthy lives, with an average lifespan under 60 years. Should we eradicate them, too? Is that what we are basing our rationalization for murder on? 

I know many people refuse to think of abortion as killing since it is happening before the baby has been born. For those people, they refuse to be swayed, or to listen to reason, but I’m pretty sure they are glad their moms didn’t choose to end their lives before they were born. These people I pray for and hope that God will shine light in their hearts towards the situation.

Olafsdottir tells women who are wrestling with the decision or feelings of guilt: ‘This is your life — you have the right to choose how your life will look like.’ 

This unfortunate statement has been the rationalization for abortion everywhere. As if we are to be able to play God and master of our lives, without thought of how it affects others, because we choose how our lives look. That is absolutely false. Our decisions play a part in choosing the outcome of our lives, including sex. Outside environments play a part to choose the outcome of our lives. Circumstances out of our control play a part to choose the outcome of our lives. God, in His infinite wisdom, plays a part to choose the outcome of our lives.

What WE choose is our attitude and how we approach the outcome of our life. We can choose to stay strong during difficult or unknown situations. We can choose to shut down or be hateful. We can choose to embrace changes or to run from them. And unfortunately, it seems many women choose to end the lives of their children so that they won’t have more inconveniences in their lives in the form of unplanned babies or babies who may have genetic differences. It all stems from fear of the unknown.  

I have worked with kids and adults with Down syndrome, and even have friends with children who have Down syndrome. In ALL of those cases, whether their child required a lot of medical attention or hardly any at all, EVERY parent referred to their child as a complete blessing in their lives.

If only the world wouldn’t try to snuff out these beautiful blessings before they can ever be experienced.


That’s just my thoughts.



“What kind of society do you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing

“CBSN: On Assignment” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and on our streaming network, CBSN. Explore more on this topic in our “Behind the Lens” report. With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.


Photo credit: Andreas-photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC


About the Author

Melissa Steindl
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Melissa is a work-from-home mom of two boys. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design from Ouachita Baptist University. Her love for Christ influences her lifestyle and work. She loves family life, cooking, art & design, gardening, DIY projects, and natural living.