Disability Does Not Justify Abortion

I don’t expect non-Christians to understand why Christians see unborn children as intrinsically valuable creations of the living God. But I would like abortion advocates to answer why they think aborting children is an appropriate response to a public health crisis.

Abortion advocates are taking advantage of the Zika virus outbreak to encourage liberalizing abortion laws in Brazil. It is shamefully prejudicial against unborn children with disabilities and does not address real public health issues.

According to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the Zika virus has infected as many as 1.5 million Brazilians in the past year. At the same time, a distressing number of children were being born there with microcephaly, or an unusually small head, that can lead to developmental and other disabilities. On February 1, Dr. Margaret Chan, The World Health Organization Director-General, declared:

The recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Abortion proponents are now using the Zika outbreak to advocate for more abortions in Brazil and elsewhere in Central and South America. A February 3 New York Times article reported that,

The surging medical reports of babies being born with unusually small heads during the Zika epidemic in Brazil are igniting a fierce debate over the country’s abortion laws, which make the procedure illegal under most circumstances.

The essence of this “fierce debate” is that it is preferable that children with disabilities related to microcephaly be aborted rather than be born.

Better if They Were Never Born?

Everyone, even those in favor of unrestricted abortion at any stage of pregnancy, grants that the decision to abort is serious. And most people believe that it should be an informed decision. Thus, we would assume that more information about microcephaly would be offered, including how it impacts those living with it and their families. What is noteworthy by its absence in the New York Times article, no people living with microcephaly or their families are interviewed and no case studies are presented. The writer ignores how people with disabilities are responding to such efforts to destroy unborn people like them.

It is simply assumed that a diagnosis of microcephaly is sufficient reason to destroy the child in the womb.

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johnknight@churchleaders.com'
John Knight is Director of Donor Partnerships at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments and a seizure disorder. John blogs on issues of disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.