The mom of a recently born daughter has a case before the European Court of Human Rights. Seems she wasn’t told her coming bundle of joy had Down Syndrome in time to abort the birth and she wants to save others from such a horror by establishing legally a pregnant woman’s right to know such things before it’s too late to kill off the little beast. That’s resulted in a story: Should eugenics become a “fundamental human right”? pointing out that such a right is the epitome of the famous slippery slope; it may start with Down Syndrome but it won’t stop there. Nor should it, many will say, it’s past time defective kids were weeded out before they begin. Some of the more famous promoters of this old-as-ancient-Greeks idea were the Nazis but it’s been pushed by others, too. We don’t know what the Court of Human Rights thinks, yet.
The opinions of the usual authorities are pretty well known; Popes and a lot of others–about half the voters in the U.S.–oppose abortion while half upholds it as a woman’s right. Apparently only the woman has rights, incipient kids lack them entirely until the Magic Moment they arrive in the delivery room. There must be an Authority standing at the delivery, dispensing human rights/personhood to the newly arriving critter as it exits its new mommy.
There’s been a recent scandal in the U.K. over kids aborted for being the wrong sex, which will likely become the norm should eugenics become a legal human ‘right’. Given current progress in bioengineering, designer babies that aren’t as promised will doubtless fall into place too. But there’s an entire aspect of this that seldom comes out in discussions.
It is this: Once we have legalized abortion, we have legalized the right to kill human beings. Whoever has the power to order or wthhold abortion, has the power of life and death over a person. And the more trivial the justifying reasons for aborting, the more trivialized is the related value of a human life. Beyond that, the authority allowing unborn humans to be legally killed thereby has implicitly the power to decide when any human may be killed. Once we set government over such decisions, the scope of its decision making will expand and take on political dimensions, like everything else when government is involved.
I feel safer when government has to get the approval of churches at least, before it can set off on killing folks. Not that churches aren’t at times, bloodthirsty as any but in Western historical experience, they’ve mostly been a moderating influence. When it’s only in the hands of politicians, people start being careful about who they disagree with, right?
We’ll have to see how the Court of Human Rights will rule. In the courtroom, opposition to eugenics will be represented and the little Down Syndrome girl’s mommy will represent abortion rights. I can’t figure out though, who’s representing the human rights of the unborn?